Friday, February 3, 2012

February's Spring Fling

February in Seattle often surprises with a sudden flush of springlike weather, a tease of what life could be like if only March and April would follow the same script instead of sulking and reverting to chilly gray. In many years, our red plum tree has burst into fairy-pink bloom just in time for Valentine's Day.

Today was one of those February days that flirts with May. The sky was a blue that went on forever. Everything seemed freshly created and sharply drawn. Chickadees chortled, starlings whistled, and Bewick's wrens prattled. When I went to check on my p-patch garden for the first time in months, I saw that it had been busy while out of sight, out of mind.

The vetch I'd planted as a winter cover crop had done its job, creating a miniature emerald forest that crowded out the weeds.

A few calendula were in full bloom, which made me really happy because they were volunteers, plus I'd always wanted some of these flowers and since they spread so vigorously I now have a founding crop to transplant into my own yard. What a cheerful sight, to come across these Mediterranean plants blazing on a late winter day.

Nothing much is sprouting in the back garden, but the witch hazel has thanked us for moving it into a sunnier location last summer by blooming for the first time in years.

There were also fluffy gray feathers drifted around the base of a telephone pole--evidence that the local Cooper's hawk had made a meal of a pigeon.

A nice bonus to this unseasonable dollop of spring: One doesn't feel compelled to roll up one's sleeves and get cracking on spring chores, because it's just going to get cold and sloppy again. It's totally a free pass to just turn your face up to the sun and turn your back on anything resembling work.


  1. :) can we have some of spring please? it's been -8 here and snow predicted. Love the witch hazel photo! L x

  2. Wasn't it a beautiful day? I didn't mind (so much) that my 4-year-old locked me out of the house as I unloaded groceries because I could just sit on the front steps in the sunshine for a few minutes. And that witch hazel has an amazing bloom. I must find that for my new garden.

  3. MissyKay--sending some your way--I heard that you were having some bone-chilling weather there in Europe!

    Rachael--and here we are on Saturday, it's another gorgeous one. Yes, witch hazil is lovely. It's not very poetic but the flowers look like strands of dried flaked coconut--really weird. I had planted mine in a corner of the garden where I could see it from the kitchen window, but it sulked and didn't flower. It flowers now but in a spot right behind the house where you have to go outside to see it. What a brat! Looking forward to seeing your new garden. Hey, it would be fun to go to the zoo one day with you and your lively 4 year old. (My kiddo used to love to go but nowadays would text her way through the whole place.)