Spring paid us a visit today in Central Illinois, ten days ahead of schedule. The air that hit my face as I left the house was warm and humid, 51°F at 8am this morning. A steady, moderate breeze smelled of wet earth, saturated from overnight rain showers.
Each of my footsteps was smothered in a soggy squish as I walked back to do my morning check of our witch hazel (Hammemelis vernalis) in the border along our back fence.
The witch hazel flowers have opened more since the weekend, reaching their dark orange petals like tendrils from the broken buds. Standing close to the flowers as I photographed them, I noticed they have a subtle, sweet fragrance that's not as overpowering as most spring flowers.
The warmer weather of the past few days has stimulated faster growth in the daffodils. We're likely a week or so away from flowering, but the bright green shoots are a welcome sight around the garden.
The next few days promise thunderstorms and plenty of rain, although temperatures won't break 70°F like we did today. The water and warmth are sure to usher a rapid flush of growth in the landscape, allowing spring to get a little head start as we say goodbye to winter.