Early Spring?

Daffodil and Muscari

Blue skies, bright sunshine beating down on the warmed earth as spring bulbs pop their heads up through the soil are all indicators we are experiencing a very early spring this February. Or is it an early spring?

I recall it was these false winter days that brought folks out of the house and into the nursery seeking pretty spring and summer color before the plants were ready to sell. Despite our warnings that we were still in winter’s clutches, that deep desire to capture the moment and rush the season would get the best of all of us.

Today this gardener was no exception. I wandered around the garden soaking up that vitamin D found in our sunshine. I shook my head as I viewed the swollen peach tree buds, daffodils forming their flower heads and pansies throwing caution to the wind to delight my eye sporting beautiful flowers.

Instinctively I knew the pansies and daffodils would be fine if our weather dipped below freezing temperatures or dumped inches of snow before winter gave it up to the last frost. It was the peach tree that caused concern. Fruit production would be compromised this year if those buds burst forth in bloom and our temperatures turned those beautiful pink flowers into mini popsicles. At least the other fruit trees held tight to their dormancy for now which put my mind at ease.

While meandering about, my eye gazed across to the ranch fields of my neighbor’s next to me that took on an odd shade of off green. This was the winter wheat that depends on the rain and snow to meet its irrigation needs. The warmer temperatures predicted spelled demise for this crop if moisture eluded us.

Are we facing a drought? Coming from Marin , the word drought always brought about tension. Those of us living through the 70’s and 90’s remember the pains of seeing our gardens wither away, or find us bucketing our collected wash water out to our favorite plants. I wondered if that experience caused unnecessary concern on my part or if it was time to start employing added measures to save more water.

Our attempts of saving water at first doesn’t need to be an arduous task. It can be as simple as sweeping off sidewalks, decks and patios instead of washing them down. The added benefit is found in the exercise we experience as we sweep!

Irrigation season is looming in the near future. This is an ideal time to turn each station just long enough to establish that drip emitters are working property, spray nozzles are providing good head to head coverage, leaks and breaks in the lines are repaired and water is directed to the root system of plants – not spraying out on sidewalks or streets.

These two simple steps can save hundreds of gallons of water and a good start to help save water outdoors.

Meanwhile, enjoy the warm sunny days while they last. Don’t pack away those warm jackets. Winter is still a threat!!!

Have a great weekend.

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