Published 11:55 am Wednesday, April 4, 2018

In conversation I have made the declaration that spring has arrived to many friends and strangers this past week. A few have reveled along with my enthusiasm, a couple have voiced their guarded skepticism followed with many “what ifs” and the rest chuckled while recounting memories of past unusual plummeting temperatures, late hard frosts and early gardening calamities due to the weather.

I however am standing firm on my belief that spring has indeed arrived, for the Yoshino Cherry tree in my yard has flowered.

The Yoshino Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis) is a deciduous tree that can grow to the height of 16- 39 feet high and is not to be confused with the Korean native King Cherry tree (Prunus yedoensis var. nudiflora).

Yoshino Cherry blooms in the most beautiful shade of white to delicate pink single or double flower clusters before it leafs out and is the showiest of all the cherry trees. It does produce very small drupes (fruit) with very little flesh and an abundance of concentrated juice that is a particular favorite to Robins and thrushes. Unlike with other fruiting cherry varieties I have not experienced a problem with excess fruit drop on the ground, so I surmise the wildlife really do like it because they do an excellent job of “clean up” each year.

When in full bloom this tree is stunningly beautiful. From under its canopy of flowers with the sun’s rays shining through them, the melodic humming of the bees is hypnotic. The feeling while standing under this tree can be described as stepping into another dimension, the air feels instantly warmer and smells of sweet nectar, the buzzing of the bees make the tree sound “alive” to the ears and the vision of all the blossoms engulf your entire being. It’s like a soft tender embrace for the soul, surely there were Yoshino Cherry trees in the Garden of Eden.

One other indicator that spring has arrived that I am most confident in are the peony’s breaking ground. It has been my experience that the peony is a “heavy sleeper” during its winter nap and it does not usually spring awake to Mother Nature’s first few warm caresses of spring. The peony seems to instinctively know that there is no hurry to break ground and that it is best to enjoy it’s covered slumber a while longer.

I have demonstrated great patience over the last month and have occupied myself with activities to help distract my mind from causing my physical body to begin numerous gardening activities too early in the season. I have walked the woods and observed the spring ephemerals, planned and mapped out the vegetable garden, sharpened and organized the tools, put in the English peas, started some seeds and cleaned up the flower and herb gardens. I have patiently waited and have faith that Mother Nature will be kind to us and we will enjoy a gentle spring.

I have had to learn to be patient over the years and to find joy in observing the subtle changes of the seasons. The adage that one cannot fool Mother Nature is true, she also cannot not be hurried, slowed, manipulated or bargained with. I choose to walk beside her because “It’s when I go out walking with Mother Nature that I come home with God.” – Anthony T. Hincks

Dawn Conrad is a columnist for The Kenbridge- Victoria Dispatch. She can be reached at conrad.gardenmuse@ or gardenmuse.