Percy Bysshe Shelley knew a thing or two about spring. His Ode to the West Wind ends with a hopeful phrase:
Be through my lips to unawakened Earth
The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
At Glen Villa, the answer seems to be yes, it can be. Far too far behind.
Is this April unseasonably cold? Perhaps not. But after a mild winter, and a few days of beautifully warm sunshine, my hopes were high. It seemed that the unawakened earth was awakening, with a spring in its foot.
Today, though, we are experiencing what weathermen charmingly call an Arctic Vortex. I simply call it cold, and I don’t like it. Temperatures fell a few days ago to -10C (14F) and the freezing cold came with high winds. Snow fell. Water that had been ice-free froze again.
Near the house, the cascade that was running freely is once again sporting its winter beard.
And the wind has been as punishing as Shelley describes, lifting dead leaves and trumpeting gales that prophecy winter rather than spring.
Hope remains. Despite the cold, the big lawn is snow-free, the grass ready to green up when spring finally does arrive. Under the linden tree, the wire mesh we installed last fall to protect newly planted muscari bulbs against marauding squirrels is still in place. In some years it would be gone by now, but everything this year is delayed because of the unexpected — and unwanted — cold.
The weather man says that the worst is yet to come — 5 cms (2 inches) of snow is predicted for tomorrow. I’m hoping he’s wrong.