If This Isn’t Spring, What is It??

purple crocus

Last year I got a big fat lecture from John the nurseryman about planting my tomatoes too early. He took me outside and pointed north.

“See that mountain? It has snow on it. You can’t plant anything in the ground until the snow on that mountain is gone.” Apparently this is local lore.

(Silently: “Whatever…”)

“What difference does it make, John? What’s the worst thing that can happen?
They freeze and I have to start over? My intuition says it’s not too early and it will be fine to put them in the ground now.”

So I did it anyway, and, as it turned out, I had really early tomatoes.

As you know I’ve been steeping myself in Celia Thaxter tales, and I can guarantee you that by this time of year back in New England her house was full of (get this) egg shells, all split in half, cradling seedlings which she put on a boat in spring and lugged ever so gently to her precious Appledore Island where she put them in the ground. And she would most certainly have been paying attention to whatever signals she had that allowed her to know it was Time.

I’d be interested to know what signals you all pay attention to that correspond to John’s planting clock, btw.

But, I am not a woman who particularly pays close attention to that sort of thing. I am a risk taker and I follow my own inner urges, for better or worse, and when you see the photos I took in the last few days, you will understand that the Planting Urge is coming up strong. And no wonder. Look at this!
Remember those daffodils in blossom just two weeks ago?


I mean what is a woman to do when she goes into her yard and sees this??

white camelia

White voluptuous camelia, seducing me into thinking seeds, growing things, DIG-GING.

I’m not the only one. OMG, everyone in this town is carting around a shovel, a rake or pruning sheers. We are like ants, harkening to unbearable cabin fever and warm lovely SUN, and we are clearing, cleaning, building, pulling up, preparing for. It’s just astounding. It’s all around me.

In the midst of this the robins have descended. I don’t know where FROM. I’ve never seen them before in the two years I’ve been here. But they are coming in in droves and swooping about thirty, forty at a time. They probably ate a season’s worth of worms out of my back yard. I had mixed feelings about that, frankly, particularly when I discovered later it just doesn’t go IN. It comes out.
I was not familiar with how poopy robins are. Did you know?? My goodness.
Maybe it’s good fertilizer, though, who knows? They certainly had fun.

Speaking of fun in the back yard, Ruby is beside herself about being able to swim in her tub again. And for Ruby, swimming just goes hand in hand with mud. I don’t know where she made that particular connection because she came to me at age two. But that is her programming. Water. Mud. Once she’s wet (as in soaking) she wants to D-I-G. Here is the evidence of that little game:

Ruby in mud

But does she not look deliriously happy? And do her eyes not say, “Oh, Mommie,
I am having so much fun!!” So scolding is out of the question. I simply took her picture and said quietly, “I’m collecting evidence, Rube.”

More evidence that spring is nearly upon us is found in the quince in full blossom:
quince in blossom

I will definitely try the recipe Loma sent earlier.

As if that were not enough, the first pink camelias are out.

pink camelias

Are they not just fabulously spectacular? Oh, my goodness. They are. Glorious!

And remember those little yellow crocuses I was saying good morning to every day when I walked the doggies in the rain? They are so here.

yellow crocus

So you can see what I’m up against. Life is pushing its way forward on every front. It is lovely. It is light. It is love. Praise be!

Love and early spring blessings,
Kathryn xox

19 Responses to “If This Isn’t Spring, What is It??”

  1. That’s fantastic! Go with your intuition. And the pic of Ruby is Adorable!!!

  2. Hi, Antonia! Thank you for visting this evening! I will pass along your appreciation to Ruby!
    Love, Me

  3. LUCKY!! There is so much darn snow outside my window, I am beginning to think it may be worth leaving all my close relatives to take my own little family somewhere warm to live! I can at least vicariously enjoy your bloomers (flowers, of course:))

  4. LOL! Hi, Becky! Welcome! Yes, I just heard from someone who read this post who was sitting back in NY next to a woodstove! Stay with your family, my dear. Spring is just around the corner! Kathryn xox

  5. Wow! I’m feeling the spring too. I some things starting to grow on my balcony but nothing like yours. So very lucky to have such wonderful blooms already at this time of year. What a cute dog too !

  6. lovely spring blooms … keep going with your intution and keep enjoying your garden

  7. Hi, Priscilla. I visited your blog. I love your photos. You’re very good with your camera. Did you find a job, yet? Prayers coming your way! Good luck with your flats, and thank you for visiting! Kathryn

  8. Crafty Gardener in Canada! This time of year truly brings out our geographical differences, doesn’t it? Thank you for stopping by! Kathryn

  9. Your garden looks like a wonderful spring place right now.

    Here in my USDA Zone 5 garden in Indiana, it is not even time to look for signs of spring that tell us it is okay to plant tomatoes outside. In a few weeks, I’ll start my tomatoes inside, and then six or seven weeks later, if I feel like our last frost is behind us, I’ll plant them outside, around mid May.

    And I knew about the robins… one nested on my porch in a wreath, and I thought “how nice” until the day the babies all fledged, after leaving poo all over the brick.

  10. Carol, happy Sunday! Thank you for visiting! To be fully honest, I didn’t shoot the muddy back yard. There is a ton of cleaning up back there to bring everything to its full beauty, and I think we are getting a bit more rain, so too soon for much of that. I did experience that short growing cycle back in my two years in NC.
    It was very hard for me, I have to admit. I think it’ s just what you are used to. I know you take full advantage of the time you have! And, yes, poo on the brick. Precisely. I was just out there trying to hose down the patio. Why is it black?? I always think bird poop is white, which somehow seems cleaner. As if… K.

  11. That certainly sounds like John. Ruea and I have come to the conclusion that planting early or late, you are still going to get tomatoes. We just got around to cleaning up last years cages. I once had a cookbook titled “Too many tomatoes.” No doubt there are many books out there about what happenes when you get carried away planting zuccini, another story

    This beautiful weather will pass, so we might as well enjoy it now. We drove through Golden Gate Park on Friday and the Rhododendrons were beautiful..Northern California is a beautiful place to live and garden.

    I confess I don’t have the patience for seeds. I admire those that do. My son always comes home from his travels with seeds in his pocket.

    Patience Kathryn, great pictures,

  12. Thanks, Marjorie! Nice to have you here today. Yes, I lost track of counting zucchini one summer. I planted an entire package of seeds! Last time I will do that. I’m like your son, though. I always have seeds in jacket pockets. Usually I can recall what they are! Kathryn xox

  13. Very nice blog 🙂

  14. Dear Marie, Thank you. And thank you for visiting. I hope you will come back again soon! Kathryn

  15. Kathryn, I say go for it! I just use my own intuition and don’t worry too much about the consequences. If I wait too long around here, it gets terribly hot and then everything with tiny roots dries up like the biblical parable about seed planted in the path and on rocky soil.~~Dee

  16. Hi, Dee, well you have a point there. I did wait too long to plant sweet peas last year. They kind of came up, but I don’t think I had a single flower. So *those* I should probably start soon! (And I noticed yesterday there is no snow on that mountain anymore!) And I’m going to look up that parable…Thanks. Always nice to have you visiting! Kathryn xoxo

  17. Thanks for visiting my blog 🙂

  18. Kathryn, you are too, too cruel! In Central New York the snow is swirling its skirts and you publish photos of blooms we can only dream of for weeks to come. But thank you for the dreams.

    We dare not plant a tomato here until Memorial Day weekend, for frost will surely do it in. No mountains to use as a guide here.

  19. Hi, Loma! What can I say? I braved the snows of Massachusetts and Ohio for education’s sake, but ultimately California is my home. I have been nostalgically listening to Joni Mitchell lately and every time she sings, “California, I’m coming home…” I get tears in my eyes. And I’m HERE! I’d go live in Europe again, and I love Arizona in the winter, but, this is where my spirit feels most atuned. Come visit! Love, Kathryn

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