It doesn't take but a few seconds outside today to realize it is still winter here in Central Illinois, as the temperatures are hovering around 30°F and a puffy breeze making it feel colder. It's the kind of day where a couple layers of fleece and a pair of gloves make outdoor life much more enjoyable. But if you were to take temperature out of the equation, you'd swear spring had arrived. The sky is a brilliant blue, the sun stunningly bright. Even with the sun directly overhead, the colors in the garden look crisp and saturated.
The snow cover that has gone through a constant ebb and flow throughout the first two months of winter has receded, revealing patches of dormant grass and moisture-soaked mulch. But I had one focus as I made a loop around our house with my camera. I was in search of evidence that Mother Nature had waved the green flag of emergence, a signal for the plants to break their winter dormancy and herald in the start of spring.
The proof I was seeking lay just a few steps from the driveway, in the narrow border along the north side of our garage, where both daylilies and daffodils sprouted a couple of inches above the mulch.
We may end up getting another cold snap as winter makes its exit, but all signs are pointing to a timely arrival of spring. The ten day forecast has daytime highs above freezing for the foreseeable future, and the official start of spring is just 18 days away.
If the plants in our landscape are any indication, there's no turning back now.