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Listening to Your Landscape

Forsythia is an indicator plant on the gardening calendar. When Forsythia blooms, it stimulates many gardening activities: pruning, planting cool season flowers, preparing gardens and finally, mulching of established garden beds.

This year, in the Mid Atlantic and other parts of the country, the Forsythia went into a state of suspended animation, the continuation of cold and cloudy weather allowed the Forsythia to bloom for nearly 7 weeks instead of its normal 3 weeks.

You’re not late to jump in now and finish those early spring garden maintenance tasks. It’s Mother Nature’s highlighted message to us humans, “You need more time to Garden, and I gave it to you!”

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How Bulbs are Like Pop Up Meat Thermometers for Spring

There you are, strolling down a sidewalk or park path, when you happen to notice that things are pushing up at your feet. No, not dogs. Rather, little sprigs of green. They’re shooting up and making way for beautiful bulbs that “turn on” as natural bulbs tend to do: with blooms of beauty.

White, purple, yellow, red: the earliest bulbs to bloom – snowdrops and crocuses, and then daffodils and tulips – signal a turn of the season and gently usher us into longer days of sunshine.

Like the “pop” of a meat thermometer signaling the readiness of a cooked bird, the “pop” of bulbs signal warmer soil temperatures. When cooking meat, you open the oven and get greeted with a blast of warm air. When admiring bulbs, one nods at the splash of color, turns towards the sky and says, “Welcome, spring. Warmer temperatures, here we come.”

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What is your signal that springtime is here?