Goodbye winter weary February, hello March! Coming alive with all the trappings of hope and optimism is the theme of the month. Look around. The evidence is everywhere. Bulbs determinedly pushing their way through the frozen earth, the willow trees turning an ocher yellow soon to be replaced by sap green, forsythia bushes studded with fattening buds of burnt sienna. I go on treasure hunts of my own – Spot the Snowdrops and Unhide the Hellebores.
This past Friday, in celebration of it being the first of March, I went on a reconnaissance of my garden. In the midst of patches of grass left exposed by the last snow melt, I spied the earliest of the snowdrops! A sight that never ceases to thrill. I rushed to check the hellebores. Sure enough, sweetly nestled beneath the protective mantle of last year’s leaves were buds galore. Firm assurance that spring was well on its way.
In the greenhouse, the primroses brought inside in pots last fall, have begun putting forth flowers in colors that could only have been chosen by a child. Deep red, fuchsia pink, egg yolk yellow sit happily on rosettes of cushiony, kelly green leaves. They’ll be moved into the house to provide instant cheer.
Heralding the hyacinths still breaking through the ground, are the ones being forced indoors. I have placed the forcing vases and pots where not only I, but others will be sure to notice the daily magical transformations. Idealistically I imagine that such gems will improve our moods and outlooks. They do.
The annual orchid show of the New York Botanical Garden started this past weekend. Like a pilgrim, I went with fervor and faith in my heart. At this time of year, I’d go to just about any floral exhibit. Never mind that the flower shows are not entirely realistic. The sight of a gazillion flowers in bloom is the perfect ticket to banish all traces of the winter doldrums. The more gaudy the splashes of color the better. I am now brimming with renewed energy and desire to serve my garden. As soon as it gets bearable to work outside, I’ll be pruning the roses.
The gardens at the NYBG are always a couple or so weeks ahead of my garden. Surveying the swathes of blooming snowdrops and eranthis, the fully open hellebores and even a few daring crocus, I had a very satisfying preview of the pleasures to come. Is there anything more sublime?
Even the light has changed. The soft, pale amber of winter has turned a distinct shade brighter. After we move the hour hand forward on the tenth, we’ll be waking to sun burnished mornings. I cannot wait. I too have awoken from my hibernation.
(c) 2013 Shobha Vanchiswar