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It’s Groundhog’s Day 2012

Punxsutawny Phil saw his shadow so there’s 6 weeks left of winter. Really?  That’s the same thing my calendar tells me…6 weeks left plus a day or two until “The First Day of Spring”.

It’s always interesting to see the news on February 2nd and the big deal the media makes of this little rodent’s ability to predict weather. We don’t even have groundhogs in South Alabama, so I can’t give a northern creature much faith is knowing what our weather here on the gulf coast is going to be. For now, we’re enjoying weather forcasted to hit the low 70’s although it’s also supposed to rain. The next few days will also be in the 70’s then it’ll slip to the 60s for a few days. Maybe some of the same pattern will follow, but as far as I’m concerned spring has sprung here along the coast.

I saw the reddest cardinal in my yard this morning and the titmouse pair are examining the nesting box again; it’s mating season. My camellias are blooming, azaleas are blooming, cherry trees are flowering, and so are daffolids. My grass never turned brown this winter and the weeds are sprouting. The only thing missing, according to Bill Finch from the Mobile Botanical Gardens, is the clover.  I attended a gardening lecture last year where I heard him say that spring is here when you see clover.  But as far as I’m concerned, it’s spring, even if we do get a frost sometime in the next few weeks.  It won’t last.

Snap peas

It’s been relatively mild this year. It’s only my 3rd winter here so I don’t know what it’s really supposed to be like. The last two winters were “unseasonably cold” as I was told by many. This year, expecting some of the same, we actually bought clothes for all of us that would keep us warm, (we simply stayed in last year), but I think we over bought. Some things have not been worn yet…like sweaters!  It’s flip flop weather.

I also was counting on a cold winter, looking forward to growing what I was told were cold (or cool) weather plants: dill, cilantro, snap peas, lettuce. The dill has turned brown (thankfully I cut a lot off of it earlier when it was chilly to store for later use), the cilantro stopped growing (I just planted more seed), but my lettuce and snap peas are doing well. And, the rain we’ve had lately has certainly helped. Now, I don’t wish for a rainy spring or summer but I am hoping for more than we had last year. I’d rather my spring and summer gardens get rain water than faucet water this year. To solve this (in case the drought returns) I’ve started collecting water; run-off from the roof.

Lettuce in a window box

Maybe we’ll get a cold snap…who knows?  I just know that Phil is not my “go-to guy” for the weather in South Alabama.

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