As I walked to the mailbox this AM to grab the newspaper, bundled up in coat, hat, gloves, scarf I cursed the damn groundhog. When will spring ever get here?! Curse, curse, curse you damn groundhog. Why is the mailbox so far away? Why does it have to be so cold this AM? Why do my slippers not seem warm enough to make this long walk this AM? Why does my neighbor get to have the mailboxes closer to his house than mine? When will the snow banks around my mailbox every melt? Curse, curse, curse.
But then out of the corner of my eye I spotted something purple. Purple? Cold feet or no, I gotta check this out. Probably some careless kid’s Ravens glove half hidden in the snow. Or perhaps a scrap of someone’s mail that somehow eluded the jaws of the trash truck. But no, smaller, more delicate… a crocus! Yes, a handful of tiny purple crocus trying their best to remind us that spring, unlike the unicorn does exist and will actually be here soon!
For those of us in the nursery business spring is a tricky thing. We can’t help feeling like everyone else in the northern hemisphere; grateful when the first signs of spring start to show after suffering through a long an dreary winter. I wandered the nursery just last week stalking spring in every corner. Is the witch hazel blooming? How about the Cornelian Cherries; any color there? And what about the cherry blossoms? When will the Okame Cherry give us our first happy sign that warm weather in on the way? But then, we nurserypersons (we must in this 20th century age be politically correct) remember what happens in springtime.
It’s going to be over 70 today? Crap! That will leave us only about 5 more days to dig flowering ornamentals?! What’s that you say, I’ve been calling you for the past 3 months trying to pin you down on a date for your order but now that it’s warm you want your trees when? Tomorrow? Rain!? Oh, no! Not rain! A rain day will turn the already swamped nursery into an even greater mud pit. Nobody wants a tree with squishy balls! (that might be a topic for another day and possibly for a different website!)
Spring is the time when we struggle to take advantage of a short window to produce a huge amount of volume. The warm weather that we were so anxious for its arrival becomes our enemy. The warmer the days, the faster we must dig, the faster we must load trucks and the louder our customer’s scream for their material. And then we curse spring! Seems almost impossible today after this long wretched winter too imagine we would wish it cold again. But we do. We curse the mud, we curse the truckers, the broken equipment, we even curse each other. I say like a broken record at some point every spring, “In my next life, I will have a career that will allow me to enjoy spring for the beautiful season it is rather than the rush to accomplish the impossible in a short window of time.”
And yet… the flock of bluebirds and robins that were flirting with our planting crew yesterday made me smile. They wouldn’t be here if spring wasn’t close, right? I don’t know about you…. But I can’t wait!