Yesterday I saw the first snowdrops of the year.
They weren’t fully in bloom, needing one more day of warmth, I suspect, but the flower buds were clearly visible. They were nestled near a house, though not so near I’d expect the warmth from the building to affect them to that extent. Not unless the house had extremely poor insulation in its basement; usually it’s only the plants within a few inches that are noticeably advanced from the ground heat. These snowdrops were several feet away from the house, under a shrub that was the actual foundation planting. But they were protected, on a slope facing a bit south of west, full in the afternoon sun.
Another sign of spring is the seeds for sale in various stores. I bought a bunch while I was in Ottawa, because I found some from the Seed Savers Exchange, heritage varieties that are part of our agricultural riches. Empress green bush beans, a mixture of lettuces — Australian Yellowleaf, Forellenschuss, Pablo, Red Velvet — don’t the names sound marvellous? Bloomsdale spinach; Minnesota Midget melons; five colour silverbeet, also known as Rainbow Mix Swiss chard; Green Arrow peas; Tommy Toe cherry tomatoes; Chicago pickling cucumbers; a mixture of historic pansies; and the famous Brandywine tomato.
The Brandywine considered one of the best tomatoes of all time, but, fantasist that I am, of course I got it partly for its name, resonant of Tolkien’s Shire. I will have my own little plot of Arcady in pots on my front step (the shade-tolerant ones: pansies, lettuce, spinach, possibly peas), the rest in pots in the back yard, where there’s more sun. I am perhaps being over-ambitious, but I am being pushed by the coming spring and the current situation the main character of my present story is in. More and both to come!