With buds on shrubs and trees, green-bladed daffodils stretching up to the sky, and temperatures predicted to reach the 70s in the coming week, it feels like spring is just around the corner. At my house, last summer’s frozen blueberries are long gone, and I’ve tired of my daily winter breakfast of oatmeal to the point where I’ve begun preparing pancakes, waffles, muffins, anything to break the routine.
I spent most of yesterday in the garden, trimming and weeding and getting things tidy. I was happily weeding along only to suspect that I had begun pulling out Papaver somniferum seedlings in an area where I had sown them late last fall. The blue-green foliage and notched leaves sent me to the internet, which confirmed that was the case. (If you are ever in doubt in your garden, that’s not a bad way to check.) Fortunately I had only ripped up a few of them, and discovered when I looked farther that there were plenty of the little poppies springing up; in fact, they need to be thinned.
I’m so used to things failing in my garden that I expect seeds to get washed away rather than sprout, and plants to die instead of coming back vigorously the next year. (I did sow some larkspur at the same time as the poppies, and there is no sign of those.) These poppies are so dramatically beautiful – the seed came from pods that I saved from our CSA last summer – that it gives me a thrill of excitement to imagine them framing our front walk in a few months.
Don’t be fooled, however, by these many heralds of spring. The last frost is typically expected here by the end of February, but it can occur later, as it did last year. Last spring saw a low of 29 on March 5, with two successive nights at 32. I lost a couple of plants that were budding out at the time, and others got set back significantly, when I failed to protect them. So enjoy the weather, but stay vigilant!