In previous years my harbinger of spring was the blooming of lyre-leaf sage (Salvia lyrata) but that interpretation has changed. With the passing of the great freezes of 2011 my candidates for spring's entry into this year is the flowering of Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica). Of the past 11 years in this dung pile town I have experience only two frost kills after I started my spring/summer garden on the 3rd weekend of February. Next two weeks' sowing: snap beans, summer squash, cucumbers, carrots and come April tomatoes and potatoes.
This is time when the front door stays open for Motorhead to come and go as he please although he nags me to lead him outside now. Mosquitos are around the corner but for now all that enters the house are crane flies. In the past catching and eating these insects was a treat for Motor and Doobie. Motor spends more of his time outside now. In the day he sleeps which gives me solace that more songbirds will be spared. Not that he was adept at catching them anyway. Looking around the yard one week after torching the non-native plants I see the survivors and they appear just as numerous as before however a number of natives are flowering; all forbs except for the eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) which flowers before its leaves appear. Not far behind will be Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) with leaves that emerge in January and suffered no ill effects from the hard freeze. Spiderwort and violet oxalis flowers died back but reappeared again within two weeks. I'm dismayed at the proliferation of bedstraw throughout the yard but over the years dwindling in number after relentless weeding and torching.