Signs of Spring: What’s under the leaves?

It must be spring. The day before yesterday, Sarah and I had our first official Walk Around the Garden with a Cup of Tea. This puts the 2008 season at least two weeks behind schedule in Toronto. Usually, this first walk happens in mid-March.

EmergingDicentraTypically, it involves gently prying apart the mat of maple leaves to see what’s happening underneath. Our conversation usually goes like this:

Sarah: I wonder if I should take off the leaves.

Me (with irritating older sister assurance): Don’t do it, Sarah. Not yet.

Two weeks behind schedule, though, there’s a sudden explosion of growth happening under there. Cozied under the blanket of snow and leaves, the shoots of bulbs like Tulipa tarda, Crocus and Muscari, and even delicate-looking white bleeding hearts have been sneaking up on us. So, after this year’s eternal winter, we’re probably going to see a sudden spring. A positive recoil!

None too soon. My postage-stamp garden always looks embarrassingly bleak at this time of year. Last fall’s maple leaves trample it to nothing.

Putting this picture online is the gardener’s confessional equivalent of being caught in an accident with ratty underwear. It’s here to prove, if ever proof was required, that the Toronto Gardens blog truly is about “real gardens by real people.”

What’s under all those leaves? Something good, I hope. Soon, crocuses and tulips that I hope to enjoy… before the squirrels get them. Tune in and see.


  1. Sarah and Helen,
    We’re a little west of Toronto, but our garden clean-up has begun in earnest–and so much has been happening under the leaves: crocuses, irises, snowdrops, lacy meadowrue buds and all kinds of promisory green shoots. Even though we thought it was never coming, spring was working away undercover all along. I just found your blog. It’s great to look at pictures from a climate I can recognize and not be pathologically jealous of. Any time you need to commiserate about squirrel and/or rabbit damage, we’re here.

  2. Thanks, S&N. C’mon back anytime. It’s just about the season where the squirrels begin to put on their devil horns on our street.

You might also like