Welcome Spring!

Growing up in New England, it always seemed that spring would never come. Then again, after enduring 4-5 months of bitter cold temperatures and multiple  Nor’easters,  it was no wonder everyone had cabin fever. Here in Virginia we are accustomed to turning our air-conditioners on by mid-May. Our friends in Massachusetts will still be bundled up in fleece and flannel while watching the Memorial Day parades.

I took a quick walk around the yard today searching for signs of spring between rain showers. We had two days of near or above record warmth last week, and that was just enough to bring out the robins and wake up some flower bulbs. Our daughter works at a local greenhouse and landscape center and she planted some bulbs for us last fall. I can hardly wait to see all those colorful blooms!

My walk revealed crimson buds ready to burst on our maple tree, and crocus poking through the soil. Spring is surely on its way!

I also discovered evidence of an unwelcome arrival: deer have already begun nipping down our grape hyacinth before they even had time to bloom. It’s a familiar battle, one that every local gardener has fought while trying to protect their tiny seedlings and ripening fruit.

Yet another sure sign of spring is when the veggie seeds arrive in the mail and every weekend includes a trip to Southern States or Tractor Supply. Now is the time to clean out the planting beds that we let go to allow the winter birds to forage, and prepare the bluebird houses for new occupants. Also, last year we planted native flowers specifically to attract more birds, butterlies and honeybees to our yard. We plan to do the same again this year. It will be a Pollinator Paradise!

So get ready with your trowels, rakes and gardening gloves. Let’s flip the calendar to March, welcome the DC cherry blossoms, and bring on the spring!

His Eye is on the Sparrow

This morning as I parked my car and headed into church, I heard one of my favorite, long-awaited sounds of spring. I know what you’re thinking . . . it must have been a bird, or a sparrow as my title suggests. Well, no. This was actually a man-made sound. It was the distant hum of a lawn mower engine. It is one of the three sounds I anticipate as we move from winter to spring: migrating songbirds, the lawn mower, and the first cricket . . . in that exact order. I’ve now heard two of the three. The third will still be a few weeks away, but I know that spring is well underway.

My title today, “His Eye is on the Sparrow” is a reference to what is a familiar hymn to many.  Unlike some of my friends, it’s not a hymn I learned as a child. In fact, I only recently learned this beautiful song during choir rehearsal a few months ago.  My heart soars — much like a sparrow — during the refrain:

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For his eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.

Last night I attended a Christian concert with some lovely ladies from our church. It was a wonderful night of friendship, fellowship, laughter and great music! The headline band, Mercy Me, led the crowd in an a cappella rendition of the song during their set. I was so glad I knew the words and was able to sing along. What a special reminder about how God cares for all of his creatures!

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? — Matthew 6:26

As we welcomed Song Sparrows back to our yard this week, I’ve also been seeing other signs of spring.

Our peach tree and Redbud are both blooming! The trick will be to keep the deer away — especially if we spot any tiny peaches in the coming weeks.





Julie now works at a local nursery and has been doing lots of planting at home. She started an herb garden for me that sits on the steps leading to our patio. The rosemary was beginning to wilt in the house so Julie re-potted it and is hoping to coax it back to life. She also planted parsley, tarragon, thyme and cilantro.

And finally, we are trying a new crop this year . . . strawberries! I may have to battle some of my feathered friends once we have some fruit on the plants. 😉

I hope you are enjoying some signs of spring around your yard and garden too. Have a blessed week!