Spring in Northern Maine
Greetings from the North Woods!
Spring in northern Maine can be early, late or about average. This year, 2014, it is late. Of course, as I had been watching the temperatures over the last month in anticipation of getting here, there had been freezing conditions many nights, and in fact, our second night here, it got down to 30 degrees!
The first clue of a late spring came when driving northward from Bangor airport at the end of May. Many large deciduous trees were still in flower, and their tiny leaves were just beginning to unfurl. The colors were the delicate, soft green of new leaves, with a hint of yellow. Apple and cherry trees were spectacularly in full bloom, whites and pinks. In fact, my Stella cherry tree, now about 7 feet tall, had a few blossoms when we arrived at our house; these are the first I’ve seen on her, which may be due to a late spring, or perhaps, given her young age, to being the first year she has flowered at all – still no evidence of fruit being produced. Then I noticed that only 3 asparagus stalks had gone to ferns (usually most have), so we have had two meals of asparagus so far in our first week here.
My irises, rhododendrons, and other early blooming plants would be weeks away from flowering, and the variegated dogwood and hydrangea leaves were just opening into small versions of themselves. The dandelions were beginning to flower, whereas usually they had already gone to puffballs.
The yard was covered with wild strawberry blossoms,
some of which I have mowed over since, given 8” high vegetation to wade through otherwise. I checked the blueberry bush nearest the house that overhangs the water; blossoms were beginning to form. (Sadly, I don’t see many bees; as you may have heard, some disease has ravaged the bee population.) Then there were the wildflowers of a forest environment: brilliant trillium, wild violets, and an unknown clump of light lavender blooms with striking yellow centers .
We had a week of gorgeous weather with sunny blue skies and temps in the high 70s (with cool nights) in which I got the annuals and vegetable gardens planted. We got the dock and boat in the water, the dock being a high priority for Bill so he can put his kayak on it, allowing him to go for a paddle without getting wet. Now we are on day three of rain, which we need. The lake level is lower than usual at this time of year, presumably because there was melting between the large snowfalls, which limited the usual massive spring run-off, in combination with the small amount of rain in the past few weeks. Rain is now a respite from the outdoor activities – every gorgeous day, I had been outside from mid-morning to dinnertime. So yesterday, I made strawberry-rhubarb jam and cookies, watching the rain outside through the kitchen window.
Every day is a new one, and I know tomorrow will be splendid!
Best to you,