Spring Almanac

By Ash Alder

If the flowering cherry tree could speak, she wouldn’t tell of her own beauty. Words could never capture it. But with her powder-soft voice, she might sing of the spring garden: banksia rose spilling over with fragrant yellow blooms; copper mobile, whirling beneath the redbud; early tulips, dizzy from the tender kiss of nectar-drunk hummingbirds.

She might sing of bluebirds or violets or dancing in the rain.

Or maybe she does.

Can you hear her? Voice like a siren. Sultry as a whisper at the nape of your neck.


She serenades the squirrel babes, blind and naked, whose mother built their nest with stuffing from the patio cushions.

At twilight, she hums low while the pregnant doe clears a row of tulips sweet as candy.

Sunny jonquils harmonize with whippoorwill — Look-at-me! Look-at-me! — but the deer moseys onward.

As cherry maiden stifles laughter, all the world sings back.


Gifts for Mama

Spring and the heart sings of somersaults, cartwheels across the lawn, dandelions tucked behind the ears of children.

Spring is the season of sweetness.

The pick-your-own-strawberries, soft-spring-rain, butterflies-in-the-garden kind of sweetness.

And magnolia-blossoms-for-Mama.

This year, Mother’s Day falls on Sunday, May 12. I think of the hundred-year-old ferns in my grandmother’s sunroom, the ones that belonged to her florist mother, and how love, when nurtured, grows and grows.

A few seeds of inspiration for the beloved
matriarch in your life:

• A sprig of dogwood

• Pickled magnolia petals

• Lemon basil

• Gifts for the garden: dahlias,
        wild ginger, climbing lily

• Stepping stones

• Wildflower crown

• Peach, pear or nectarine tree

• Basketful of dandelion (for wine)

• Eternal love


The force of Spring —



powerful beyond measure.

— Michael Garofalo, Cuttings


Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer.

— Geoffrey B. Charlesworth


While the Azalea’s Still Blooming . . .

Plant the eggplants, beets and melons! Pumpkins, squash, green beans and peppers! And if you’re looking for a down-home summer — the white bread and black pepper type — sow the cukes and maters in the soft, cool earth.

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