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Winter

"If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?" Percy Bysshe Shelley

As this winter season blasts on and on with wind and storms and snow and yet even more snow; Shelley's quote reminds me that the "Joy of Spring" must surely be near. We are a bit spoilt, at times, on the coast when we have mild winters and spring comes early. Not so this year. Even now, in the early days of February, we cannot say how much longer winter will heft her weight around. I think this is not a year when gardeners will boast about geraniums and other non-hardy types wintering out of doors.

However, it is in a winter season such as this that I find gardeners look most forward to the tiny signs of spring approaching. Are any of the tips of their bulbs up? Are buds beginning to swell? We watch, and we wait, and then before we know it the early blooms of witch hazel (Hammemalis) amaze us with their tiny, fragrant, sort of crinkled, yet spiky flowers. Ah.some clock within nature has chimed and time has moved on from the dead of winter to foreshadow the coming of spring.

Then the next thing we know the forsythia has burst open to bathe us in it's golden splendour and it really does feel like the warmer days are coming. Many other bloomers will follow of course but these early ones, these are the ones that get us through the last that winter has to offer. These are the shrubs we love to cut to bring indoors and know that if winter is here, spring cannot be far behind.

 

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