Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Printemps (Spring) offers a preview

While there are still plenty of bundle up mornings ahead, welcome signs that winter too is a passing season, appear daily. The dawn chorus grows louder and more complex, as it adds the voices of birds working their way north.

Scientists and researchers indicate that there is a shift in the timing of bird migration patterns. In most cases, this translates into the earlier spring arrival of migratory species. Temperature being the climatic variable most frequently related to avian migration, these pattern shifts are seen as a reaction to climate change.

When the afternoons get warm enough here in Virginia, intrepid honey bees can be found gathering nectar and pollen from the earliest spring flowers like the crocus above. The soil will need to warm further before the bumble bees are seen and heard issuing forth their low-pitched buzz.

One of my favorite spring flowers is the Lenten Rose or Helleborus orientalis. It grows very well here in my shaded and partially wooded yard. About as tall as your knee, it blooms for the longest time, from February on into April, in shades of purple, pink and green.

Even if I need a scarf and gloves, as I head out the door this morning, I look forward to waving winter farewell. As an avid gardener and bug watcher Spring is assuredly my favorite season.


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