Monday, March 5, 2012

Spring Signs 2012

It has been a strange and mild winter and early spring here in North Texas. We never got our winter, no snow, no ice, only a few freezing days. In general it has been mild and dry. The weed grass has green up quickly and we've already had to mow twice in February.

My spring bulbs--paper whites and narcissus-- bloomed in mid February. No sign of the giant Amaryllis flowers just yet.

Our big male cottonwood tree has bloomed it's nasty pollen 'pony tails'/ pollen tassels the week of March 1st (not sure what to call the 3 inch long structure that holds the pollen, in our tree, they bloom out bright pink and yellow, then fade to just yellow). As soon as the pollen pods open, the tree is swarmed by birds looking to eat the tiny green caterpillars that are often inside the pods. This means one messy week in our yard. Between the yellow pollen dust, the bird poop and the dropping pods and pony tails, I know to accept a filthy car and to not hang out any laundry on the clothes line. As of March 5th, the pony tails are starting to drop which signals the end of this mess. In the next few days we'll start to see the first green leaves budding out.

So far it is a light year for dandelions, probably because it is so dry. The bees love the dandelions, so I'm hoping we'll see more over the next few weeks--yes, I'm hoping for weeds in my yard. Ha ha.

The Forest Pansy Redbud in the front yard bloomed on March 4th.

The bees have been able to fly for most of the winter. Our local beekeeping friend said that his hive inspection this weekend revealed that his hives were full of honey and he had to add a super. Typically Feb and March are rough times for bees since they have had to live off of their summer and fall honey stores all year. For them to be full of honey means that they were able to fly and collect nectar over the winter and did not have to rely on stored honey as much. This could be a good sign that this will a strong year for the bees.

We are still a full 3 weeks before the average last frost date for our area, but things are looking very spring like out there. So much so, that I've already planted a good portion of the garden on March 4th.

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