Monday, March 22, 2010

A Gardener's Gift

You would think, with the spectacular weather we had this weekend (cloudless skies and temperatures in the low 70s) that I'd have some wonderful images. But, no, just two mediocre ones.

First, the post title. The weather this weekend was the gardener's gift. I got my spring vegetables planted in my garden: spinach, lettuce, and two kinds of Swiss chard. (I started the "summer" vegetables last Sunday in a greenhouse.) Now, with rain today and cold temperatures forecast for the end of the week, the seeds are in place and on their own.

This Saturday, my wife and I walked six miles at Valley Forge National Historical Park. For those not familiar with Valley Forge, it obviously commemorates and hallows the ground where the Continental Army camped during the bitter winter of 1776, but it is also a recreation mecca for the Philadelphia area. And, understandably, it was packed with bicyclists (especially), joggers, and walkers this weekend. We chose a trail alongside the Schuylkill River, where I snapped the picture at the head of this post. The river had spilled out of its banks during the recent snowmelt and rain deluge; the floodplain was swept clear in many places, and buried in woody debris in others (as is visible in the foreground of the image above).

Along the walk, we encountered Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) just emerging from the ground. In most places, the bluebells had to compete with the non-native lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria), as is apparent in the image below.
Sunday, I attended the memorial service for an acquaintance who had died of kidney cancer earlier this month. Afterward, with most of the day remaining, we took another long walk--this time at the natural area closest to home.