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Winter’s last stand

There’s sleet tapping on the windowpanes on March 6. I’ve never known a winter so relentless, and that includes all my years living in Boston and the mountains of southwest Virginia. It seems as though spring will never arrive, but the yard knows better. The land around us has been tended for hundreds of years so there’s nearly always a floral display, even in the depths of winter. I like how a garden acts as a calendar. I know that fall is just around the corner when the spider lilies show their exotic petals, that it’s nearly Halloween when the pink camellia blooms, and that the dog days of summer have arrived when the dahlias on the corner are flush with flowers. But it’s the early springtime show that is particularly exciting to me, as a harbinger of longer, warmer days and a return to outdoor living.

At the Ordinary House, the surest sign of impending spring is the purple carpet formed by the crocuses (croci?) that trace the banks of the stream at the bottom of the yard.

crocus carpet

Their fleeting display is a welcome reassurance that we’ve nearly made our way through winter.


The droopy blooms of the hellebores are out, slumping as if they too are tired of the never ending cold.


And, of course, ever eager daffodils are popping up here and there. They appear out of nowhere when we get brief spurts of warmth and seem to pause when temperatures cool again.

There’s hope for next year: NOAA just issued an El Nino warning, which could portend a warmer winter for us East Coasters – but not before giving us plenty of opportunities to complain about heat and rain this summer.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Anonymous #

    You forgot the red and white camellia at Christmas. Lucky I’m around to remind you.

    March 6, 2014


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