The most recent benchmarks for early spring in this neck of the woods were established during March of 2012, two years ago. I set out on Sunday, March 18, of that year to chase magnolias --- then bursting into bloom --- around town.
That's a Saucer (or Tulip Tree) Magnolia at the top here, one of three varieties hardy enough to cope with the climate in the south of Iowa. They were blooming all over town. I found these in the Arboretum.
I sat out yesterday, March 30, 2014, in search of green --- and the signs were few and far between although temperatures were spring-like. I found Surprise Lily foliage flourishing on the museum grounds. The foliage of these hardy plants will prosper for a time, then die down --- and stalks of pink flowers will surprise us by popping up during midsummer.
The magnolia in bloom here during March of 2012 is called Merrill. This is the same photo, taken alongside the Alternative School, I'm using now in the blog header.
In 2014, tulips were just beginning to emerge on Sunday in a new bed of bulbs planted last fall alongside the old entrance stairs to the Stephens House on the museum grounds, stairs now marooned in the middle of nowhere because of shifts in traffic patterns.
Yesterday, after descending the long hill to the museum's heirloom garden, I found garlic planted last fall beginning to peek through its protective straw. My seed garlic went to the museum this year.
Ten days after the 2014 magnolia explosion, on March 28, I headed out to Red Haw and found the redbuds, the red haws and other flowering trees and shrubs in full bloom.
That's not going to happen this year. And it's just as well --- 2012 was a spooky year. Dry, too. But then so is spring 2014 --- so we're hoping for gentle rain this week.