Sprinting Into Spring

April 22, 2010 at 4:16 pm Leave a comment

Last weekend, I was visiting relatives in southern California.  Those cutting-edge folks in zones 8 and 9 already have tomatoes in the ground and roses in full bloom, and they simply couldn’t comprehend why my Colorado backyard was still so bare.  To be honest, I felt a little on the defensive!

Of course, my backyard is not as bare this week as it was last week.  Already, the crabapples and tulips have blossomed, the lawn has been mowed, the lettuces and carrots have been planted.  Spring in Colorado seems to creep like a green haze slowly over our consciousness, until it sprints to the finish line in its full-blown splendor.  I can almost hear the call, “Heeeeeeeere’s Spring!”

Our gardens at the Butterfly Pavilion are no exception.  A visitor to the outdoor gardens will see plenty of evidence of new growth: leaves bursting from their protective buds, colorful bulbs such as daffodils and tulips, early perennials sprouting in neat green mounds.  These are cues that tropical climes, which don’t experience the cold temperatures of winter, lack.  The Amazon jungle may have incredible plant life, but they don’t have tulips!

Spring manifests itself in all sorts of ways.  Before sunrise, the birds and frogs sing their little hearts out, hoping to impress a potential mate.  The scents of crabapple blossoms and golden currant float along the breeze.  And before you know it, baby bunnies will be nosing through the garden and we won’t know whether to say “Awwww”, or something unprintable.

With the change in season, our garden staff and volunteers are busy in the gardens.  Right next to the spring blossoms, cool-season weeds are rapidly filling up any available real estate; we try to pull them when they’re still small and the ground is moist.  We’re also pruning roses, planting pansies and repairing damage left by snow accumulation.  The leisurely pace of the first three months is only a distant memory, but we’ve had the last couple of weeks to adjust to this new, livelier pace.  Now we just have to make it to the finish line at the end of the season.

Posted by Amy Yarger

Horticulture Director

April 23, 2010

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