Now that we are in the first few days of March, my mind's eye turns eagerly to finding any and all details that indicate that spring in Maine in on my doorstep. One of the trademarks of a good gardener is an eye for detail. Detail enables us to see what is what! Have the buds started to swell on the fruit trees at the right time, or is it too early? What caused the bark on the berry bushes to be scraped away? Are the small black cases nested in the grooves of the bark insects? What caused these holes in my leaves? Which insect leaves behind a sticky residue when feeding? Have the red wing black birds returned in February on the 16th or on March the 3rd? It's this eye for detail that enables one to be a successful gardener and keep ahead of the game.
This eye for detail is also something that is of utmost importance in the designing world. It is what gives us the ability to see and create what others can't. Patterns, textures and colors in nature often are imitated by art, they become inspirations for ones own creations and designs. Noticing how the light falls and affects colors is important in picking the right color for the room, a piece of furniture, fabric or plants. It is also helpful in understanding how to place lighting fixtures in a home or workplace to maximize their potential for their purpose, to light a given area. How does the shade from an overhanging tree or shrub will affect the ones below? Do we use white to create a space of light? Or do we allow the texture of the leaves and bark to stand on their own? It's all about observation!
Now back to my observations that spring is making it's first tentative steps towards southern Maine. Most importantly, the days are now over 10 hours, the magic number that allows plants to start to grow! My little lettuces in suspended animation in the greenhouse, are slowly turning their leaves to the sun overhead and putting some(literal) shine back into their leaves. I saw my first red wing blackbird in the last few days of February, looking a bit stunned that it was here, but here none the less! Driving back to Cider Hill yesterday I noticed three large birds bobbing on the updrafts and realized that they were vultures. I'm not sure if they were black or turkey, but they were here testing the waters. The local birds, titmice, chick-a-dees, cardinals, blue birds, house finches, etc. are all starting to sing their territorial songs. In the uncovered areas of my flower border, where the snow drifts were not so deep, snow bells are starting to emerge! The fox, skunks, and raccoons are all on the move, mating season starting. Time to make sure the trash barrels have their lids on tight! The snow is soft and grainy during the warm part of the day, and hard and icey during the cold. The freeze and thaw has begun!
To celebrate this time of year, I finally took the time to plant up the bulbs that had been languishing in a corner. To my delight there were some vibrant red tulips and daffodils of yellow and cream. I assembled my pots and massed them with bulbs and soil. They have broken through and within a few weeks I hope to have my own spring preview on my windowsill!