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Hunter: The Seasonal Progression

05/19/10 5:55PM By Edith Hunter
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(HOST) When looking for signs of spring, commentator Edith Hunter doesn't have to venture far from home.

(HUNTER) My sunny, east-facing glassed-in porch is a wonderful place from which to watch the progression of the seasons.

Beyond the porch there are about 20 feet of garden, and beyond that, the driveway. I call it garden, but it might better be called woodland. I do not rake it up, but let whatever leaves and plant matter land there in the fall, remain. Last fall I watched maple leaves come floating down there, and milkweed seeds parachute into the leaf mold. I'll harvest that milkweed in August for any monarch butterflies I may be raising.

The first plants to put in an appearance are the snowdrops which seem to grow more numerous every year. The tiny white flowers appear right beside the piles of  snow that have fallen off the porch roof. At first the green leaf that accompanies the flower is very small, but as the flowers fade, the leaf grows longer and longer.

The yellow forsythia is next to put in an appearance, and as the goldfinch brighten up, it is difficult to distinguish one from the other.

Nearby on the ground a large patch of green appears which I know are the beginning foliage of the golden glow. By mid-July, these plants will be six feet tall, and their flowers will outshine the gold of the forsythia and the goldfinch.
Scattered through the area are some old fashioned rose bushes, and these are beginning to put out tiny green leaves. Their pink flowers will not appear until June. 

Close to the porch are some fresh green iris leaves. These belong to some bright yellow iris that will bloom here in early June.

But what will really take over the area are the fern - ostrich and sensitive, primarily. So far there is no sign of the furry nobs that will soon push up through the leaf litter. When fully developed, some of those ostrich fern will be more than five feet tall. I do not chose to eat these although they are the variety whose fiddleheads are much sought after.

In the corner, close to the house, a few fern are already up. According to my fern guide, these are marsh fern. Aunt Mary brought in many variety of fern from the woods and planted them near the house.

And finally, already there are pink buds along the branches of the nearby flowering quince. As soon as the flowers are fully opened the humming birds will put in an appearance.

And soon after that, I will hear the oriole, and with Emily Dickinson exclaim: "To hear an oriole sing, may be a common thing, Or only a divine."
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