The unexpected feeling came over me suddenly. I went to stand at my office window. Surveying the blanket of wet snow lying heavily on the flowerbed along the driveway, I cupped my cold hands around a mug of hot tea. Until now, I hadn’t given a thought to the plants and bulbs in my yard since the first major frost in September.
A mix of curiosity and desire, along with a deep, longing to see things growing in the yard where now everything looked dead and frozen filled me. I wanted to know if the daffodils, crocus and grape hyacinths in the flowerbed were going to come up and blossom this spring. Would the herbs I’d planted near the trees along the south driveway flourish or wither this summer?
What triggered my unfulfilled gardener symptoms? I suspected the warm, forty-degree days Wisconsin enjoyed the last week of February. That, and the combination of a snow-covered yard, below-zero days and a five-month respite from gardening gets to the best of us. My mind wanted to jump back into digging in the ground, even though the weather and my body were signaling the desire was at least two months premature.
I complained to my daughter Tammie, “I shouldn’t be feeling this way yet. We’re still at least a full month away from “Making the Rounds” weather!”
Raising one eyebrow, Tammie questioned, “What’s ‘making the rounds weather’?”
After taking a sip of my tea, I explained, “In the hospital, doctors and nurses all go from room to room to check on their patients. That’s called ‘making the rounds’. Every spring afternoon when I arrived home from working at the hospital, I’d do the same thing. I looked forward to making the rounds in my yard to check on all the plants and bushes. As spring progressed, each day the buds grew, flowers opened, leaves covered branches and the rhubarb stalks became big enough to pick.”
Looking out the window, Tammie guessed, “This snow should be gone by the end of March.”
I shrugged, “Maybe, maybe not. We could still get a lot of snow yet. Some years we get snow storms in May.”
Horrified, Tammie asked, “How soon will you be able to start making your rounds in the yard? Surely you won’t have to wait until May!”
“No.” I assured her. “Things will start growing before May. I just need the winter snow to melt so I can find the flowerbeds. Spring snow usually melts away between storms.”
Since it is too early for anything other than crocus to come up, I’m turning my attention to ordering garden seeds. Poring over the seed catalog has filled several hours with happy anticipation for long, skinny, burpless cucumbers, bush beans that set only on the top-side of the plant and celery that promises to be tall.
Amaryllis blossoming on the kitchen counter makes me feel as if I have a pocket of spring in my house. Grocery store hyacinths and carnation mums cheer me. Plans to repot a few of my oldest house plants keep me busy.
Occasionally, when I make my daily trips into the backyard the weather is nice. Acclimated to the cold of winter, the forty degrees of last fall that I thought was so cold and unpleasant, now seems like a heatwave. Spring birds are starting to return and the days are getting much longer.
When I stood on my back deck the other day, I stopped for a moment to listen to the cardinals singing their love songs to each other. Snow was still covering large parts of the lawn, but I glanced at the flowerbed where I knew crocus bulbs were planted. I wondered, “Should I plow through the snow and uncover the flowerbed? Crocus are known to come up through snow. Even if they aren’t up yet, maybe I can hurry them along.”
I have no patience when I ‘make the rounds’ looking for sprouts.