April 13, 2011

Coming on Strong

Two events coincided this week: the last of the snow disappeared from the lawn and the first of the marsh peepers were heard. Welcome to April in eastern Massachusetts, where spring arrives in a hurry.

The last of the snow on
April 11.  It vanished
As noted last month, Betty and I made our annual bet back in late February as to when the last of the snow bank would melt. I picked April 10, she chose April 15. Technically, my date was closer, but then April 10 came and went with a ten-square-foot pile of stubborn ice still in place. It finally succumbed to a 65 degree day and was gone this morning.

The marsh peepers are a welcome arrival. Peepers (more accurately, Pseudacris crucifer) are small chorus frogs and, to be more accurate still, they were already here. They’re creatures of the wetlands and the bog around the pond below our home is a perfect ecosystem for them. And, because it is conservation land, the peepers are likely to remain happily ensconced.

A marsh peeper
It is their sound that is new. The mating call of the peepers begins at twilight and, by 9 p.m. ,it is a raucous cacophony that sounds terrific – as long as retiring indoors is an option. April is the loudest month, May will be somewhat quieter.

The hellebores which provided the sole sign of spring just two weeks ago have been joined by crocus and daffodils. We have planted crocus almost as an afterthought over the past decade, sticking clutches of 25 or so tiny bulbs in shallow areas, often on top of more desirable bulbs such as allium. The crocus are clearly spreading – we have thousands now – and they’ve even insinuated themselves into the lawn.

Crocuses in the
Manhattan bed
The daffodils come in waves. One group bloomed this past week, another is a week away from showing color and yet another is still green shoots with nary a bulge to be shown. Hyacinths have come out of nowhere in the Manhattan bed. By week’s end there will be more than a hundred of them, all purple, in that site alone.

Spring is coming on strong. It is a terrific prize to be treasured after a winter like the one we’re just gone through.

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