This is the time of year featured in an old John Denver instrumental, Late Winter, Early Spring (When Everybody Goes to Mexico), a title that meant nothing to me growing up in South Florida. People in an area that stays green and has something blooming year-round do not, in my memory, experience that yearning for something, anything, that is fresh and growing and, particularly, blooming.
We are getting such things here in our valley. The first snow crocus have been sending up occasional blooms for the last two weeks, the daffodil and early tulip foliage is poking up, and yesterday I noticed the year's first bittercress. It's blooming, so for now, I'll take it, even though the plants will need to be ripped out by their shallow little roots so that they don't take over. (Is it possible, though, for anything to take over in an area planted with violets and coreopsis? My guess is that those little thugs can take care of themselves.)
And a mystery plant has been showing signs of life. This little twig is obviously something I planted as it is surrounded by cardboard mulch, but since I don't generally label passalong plants, the identity of this gift plant was forgotten for most of the winter. (There was a time when my memory could be trusted, but those days are gone.) Yesterday, however, a brief study of the emerging leaves of the erstwhile mystery jogged my recalcitrant memory: the seedling is a tree peony, and it made it through the winter!!! This little exotic may not reach blooming size for a few more years, but anticipating its eventual magnificence is not a bad thing.
Several inches of snow are predicted for later in the week, but for now, we can imagine spring.