Spring is Springing

I really wanted to do a “spring” blog post with the help of some photos, and have been putting off doing it for the last week because I was convinced I would remember to grab the camera from the office and take some photos. However, that has not happened, and a “spring is here” post can wait no longer.

When the crocuses bloomed, I could wait, and not yet write about spring. When the daffodils came up, I was able to restrain myself. The camellias didn’t even really count as a sign of spring, because, really, they’re a late winter flower. The daffodils blooming in the yard yesterday did not quite (but came very close) to requiring a spring posting. Today, however, I saw something which required a spring posting.

The neighbor’s forsythia is beginning to flower. Eva claims I am unnaturally attached to forsythia, and makes the further claim that my attachment is on account of the name “forsythia”. I want to make clear, that my attachment to forsythia may or may not be unnatural, but I believe has very little to do with the name (which it took me years to learn how to spell). What I love about forsythia is the profusion of yellow flowers coming so early in the spring. This is not the crocus, where each plant puts forth a single bloom, or the daffodil or narcissus, where each plant might put out three blooms. It’s not even the camellia where there may be quite a lot of blooms per plant. No, forsythia goes all out and the branches become nothing more than a vehicle for flowers, as the entire leggy branches of the bush become covered from ground to the tip of the branch with bright yellow flowers.

Forsythia has an exuberance of flowering which goes beyond the other early flowering plants. When it flowers, it becomes nothing more than a giant collection of flowers. It is glorious and bright. And for me, it is the symbol that spring has indisputably arrived.

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Growing up in NYC, I was largely unaware of the transition into Spring. Although I lived between Central and Riverside parks, this was during a time where there were more used needles and bare dirt in the parks than thriving plants. I first became aware of natural cycles and transitions when I lived on a goat farm in Santa Cruz, CA. That was when I began to viscerally understand how the lunar cycles affected my daily existence in the absence of street lights. Full moons meant night hikes and new moons meant needing to grab a flashlight to stumble to the bathroom in the dark (the appendage where I lived lacked its own facilities). But, Santa Cruz is lacking in seasons, so Spring remained meaningless.

Portland is where I really learned about the seasons. Being me, I still focus much more on the fauna than the flora. I know its Spring when everyone heads outside and walks around with dopey grins because the sky is blue and the sun is out. The parks fill up, the number of walkers and bikers out on the streets increases exponentially and there is a collective sense that everything will be alright.

Oh, and I also know that it is Spring because David starts saying forsythia a lot.


Crocuses and daffodils already? And forsythia? How lucky you are! Here in the Mid-Atlantic we are still locked in winter’s embrace…though if I look hard, I can see little green shoots popping up here and there.

My Dutch father-in-law (and a trained horticulturalist and landscape architect) planted a few hundred tulip bulbs in my yard shortly after my husband and I bought our house. So we have those glorious flowers to look forward to, as well.

I would love to see photos of the spring flowers in your neck of the woods. We don’t have ours yet, so I have to celebrate spring’s arrival vicariously through other people…until it finally makes its way here!

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