Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Take Spring Lesson to Heart: Carpe Diem

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Take Spring Lesson to Heart: Carpe Diem

Article excerpt

Every St. Louis spring has at least one summer day. It's the first day the temperature reaches 80 degrees, flowers bloom, the sun smiles and you don't want to do a thing but soak it all in. This year it happened on April 3 and lasted just one day, but what a beautiful day it was. Before I let myself enjoy it I did some long-delayed cleaning. One of my tidy neighbors had been giving me gentle gibes about writing "that woman with the garden column to ask her what flowers will come up through the leaves." It was time to finish raking them.

But the leaves haven't been nearly the problem that the sweet gum balls have been. I filled two big trash bags, but more balls showered down. They're impossible to rake, their tentacles clinging to the grass, so I picked them one by one until another big trash bag bulged. Then I brought out the cushions for the recliner, relaxed in the sunshine and listened to the bird songs.

I'd heard a lot of twittering outside my bathroom window one rainy morning and looked out to see if there was a bird nest in the awning. Baby cardinals were sitting on the support bar, apparently to get out of the rain. They aren't the only babies. I've been telling everyone we had only one squirrel in the yard but apparently we had two. Tiny squirrels, more tail than body, are scampering all over, clinging precariously to fragile branches and chasing each other up and down sturdy trunks. The abundance of animal life is the only abundance this year. It's been a disappointingly slow spring. I keep a garden diary in my daily date book and compare performances. Last year daffodils were blooming March 19, and the redbud, which is just budding now, was in bloom. Tulips and bluebells flowered the first week of April. Then we had that miserable rainy May. In 1994, daffodils and tulips bloomed by mid-March, and I planted roses March 15. Lettuce and spinach were up by the second week of April. Then came the rain, which led to a flood. One constant remains in these annual annals. Each year about this time I record the planting of herbs acquired at the Webster Groves Herb Society sale. …

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