The season of spring thrives on natural unpredictability and cleverness. It can be very different one year to the next. It may arrive “early” or “late.”
Sometimes its display is gradual and muffled, telling of new life. At other times it is quick and rushed but still glorious and vibrant, whished from winter’s grasp. Such fickleness aside, spring’s personality is always an elegant symphony, stanzas of music blended by weather that puts a song of hope in our hearts.
What is truly marvelous about spring is that nature’s awesome foliage is woven together once again as if the earth is coming out of a deep sleep. We can begin to sense the ancient seasonal cycle of birth, growth, harvest and death that has charmed people for centuries. This can be the very best of therapy for us. We seem to reawaken, become restored, as the land around us wakes up and changes its appearance.
Spring isn’t a time to check the calendar. It’s when you really enjoy the peaceful light of spring’s new morning. It is a time for finding a moment, that first warm misty morning to be frivolous. Stop what you are doing to take a walk with lady spring out in her world as bold sunlight beams through the trees. Look for that first little crocus from the bulbs you planted along the south side of the house.
Though there still may be some snow along the way and it may still be held fast in winter’s arms, its first bright blooms bring us cheer. A chorus of chitters and chirps announces the day’s first flights of sparrows, finches and redbreasts joining the joyous celebration.
Once again the magic reappears to every living thing. It takes our thoughts away from the chill of winter’s last gasp and encourages us to smile at its promises. With springs’s conversion of the winter soul, our souls rejoice. Such glory renews our hearts and reminds us that nature’s song of spring is like love itself.
The mass of sunny yellow daffodils, 10,000 and counting, are in bloom and cover the whole hillside at the arboretum. In the early 1970s the Bickelhaupts planted 200 daffodil bulbs each year for five consecutive years.
With time each bulb formed a large clump from which as many as 10 to 14 blossoms appear. When the spring weather is cool and wet the daffodils and crabapples will bloom together. This year the crabapple blossoms will appear as the daffodils start to fade.
Daffodils are very easy to grow, plant them in the fall and they will bloom the next year. The good thing about daffodils is that they resist deer, rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks. The animals do not like the taste of the bulbs. If you get a bouquet of daffodils to welcome spring be sure to keep them away from other flowers as they create a fluid that promotes the wilting of other flowers.
Also contact with sap may irritate skin and aggravate skin allergies. It does have medicinal uses. The Japanese have used the bulb to treat wounds for centuries and in some parts of the world a compound called galantamine found in the flower is being studied to combat Alzheimer’s disease.
The daffodil also is used to celebrate a 10th wedding anniversary. To quote William Wordsworth “If one daffodil is worth a thousand pleasures, then one is too few.”
The arboretum is open to the public every day from dawn to dusk. Magnolia, Amelanchier and other early blooming ornamental trees are in bloom now for all to enjoy.
Marilyn Kutzli is a retired school teacher who wrote a newspaper column for many years, published two books, though 92 years old still enjoys writing and sharing it.