Today is May 9th. I think spring has finally arrived in Canada. I’m not the first person to think about this or write about this. We all know about climate change and the crazy weather patterns we continue to see and experience around the world. I’m just happy that spring has arrived. Don’t get me wrong – I love the winter and all the outdoor activities that come with it. But, there is something special and fresh I always feel in spring. It took us a little while to get here. And now I am thrilled that indeed spring is here.
I am not a gardening maven and I’d say I have something between a green and a brown thumb. Maybe olive green? For me, one of the surest signs that spring has arrived are the green tips and buds that appear in my garden. It is nature at its best, with that perfect shade of green that pushes through the thawing, brown garden bed and from the branches on trees.
As each day goes by, the green shoots grow taller and bigger and other colours appear. I have tiny purple flowers now all over my front yard (which may be somewhat invasive and yet also beautiful) along with some red and yellow tulips (which are always swiftly consumed by the local squirrel population).
Last week my favourite tree started to bloom – the magnolia. I don’t have one on my property, which is just fine with me. They are all over my neighbourhood and during the first week of May every year I love exploring and looking at this most magnificent tree. The flowers are a gentle shade of pink that makes me smile. But this tree only blooms for a week or maybe two. We hit the height of the blooms a few days ago, and the flowers are already falling off the trees and lying on the ground. I don’t mind that I don’t have one as I don’t have to clean up all the petals.
And speaking of outdoor cleaning, well that’s another sure sign of spring. No matter how much garden clean-up we do in the fall, when the snow and ice finally melt in the spring, our yard is a mess. I am blessed to live in the city on a large property. We have a big backyard, with huge hundred-year-old oak trees and a seemingly endless length of garden beds. Enough leaves fall on our property each year to fill about 50 garden bags.
Throw in massive wind storms which blew dozens of sticks and branches everywhere and it’s hours of cleaning for us each spring. My husband has abandoned the interior of our house the last few weeks to spend every free minute in the backyard cleaning up leaves and sticks. And he’s still not finished! Spring is beautiful, but it’s definitely synonymous with cleaning!
One headache I do experience every spring is the mess that is my front lawn. As I wrote about last May, I dream of a green, thick, lush front lawn every spring, and so far, no luck. Last year we hired a gardening company to get rid of the grubs and re-seed, and by the fall our front lawn was a mess. In April, as everyone’s front lawns began to grow, we got a patchy mess, with more grubs and more raccoons. That’s right, those pesky raccoons once again pulled apart my lawn.
This year I’m trying to fix it on my own, and so far, no luck. I raked out the dead grass, aerated the area and sprayed a huge amount of grub-eating nematodes everywhere. I’m planning to lay a fresh layer of grass seed today. I will water it diligently, maybe apply some fertilizer and try to keep weeds away. And those grubs too. And the raccoons. If I fail, I will have to come up with a new plan next spring.
Today the sun is shining and my thermometer says it’s 21 degrees outside. I can take that. Actually, I think that 20-22 degrees Celsius is the perfect temperature and a sure message to us all that spring is here. Welcome to the warmth, the greenery and the colours. I love it.