Time to enjoy nature’s “New Year”

We humans celebrate the new calendar year each January first. We organize our businesses, government, churches, trade groups and associations for corporate new years or fiscal new years and some unique cultures celebrate their own new year’s like the Chinese New Year’s celebration on various other dates throughout the year. Mother Nature has her own calendar and it varies a little each year based on the weather but the spring season, whenever it happens, wherever you live, is clearly the start of Nature’s New Year.  Instead of manmade fireworks that last one evening, or entertainment, dancing or other special short term celebrations, Natures New Year celebration lasts for weeks and is an annual progression of color and beauty as our trees, shrubs, bulbs, flowers and lawns spring back to life for a new year and a new growing season. When we last visited, natures new year’s celebration for 2008 had kicked off with the trumpeting daffodils, the cute crocus, the bold yellow flair of forsythia and the massive white displays of the flowering Pears. Now the show has progressed to luscious displays of salmon, hot pink and deep pink flowering crabapple trees, the beautiful red, pink and purple tones of red buds in our neighborhoods and the bright orange, red and white flower clusters of Japanese quince flowering shrubs immortalized in so many famous Japanese paintings. The spreading mounds of creeping phlox are covered with flowers as are the pansies and violas producing another round of pretty faced flowers.

As you travel across the state you can enjoy the white flowered sand plums and the native redbuds covered with flowers defining the natural creeks and streams across our plains. Each week reveals another round of plants budding out with leaves, flowers and the excitement of a new year in nature. There is a very special feeling of renewal and hope each year as we watch and participate in this annual process of the plant world springing back to life.  Nature seems to say the past is past and it is time to start again, to make a fresh start, to tackle the world with new energy and a fresh attitude. We humans could learn a lot by watching the iniative and “can do” attitude of the natural wonders around us and trying to duplicate those attributes in our own lives and giving a helping hand to the trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses around us. As with most things, the more time you invest in your yard and with nature the more lessons it will share with you and the more it will effect and enrich your life. Put down the cell phone while you are driving and enjoy the view. Spend a little more time each week walking in your neighborhood or parks and get out in your own yard and plant a vegetable or flower garden and spend a little more time communing with nature this year. It will be good for your blood pressure, your waist line and most importantly your spirit and soul.

Our last average freeze date across the Oklahoman’s circulation area varies from early April   to April 20 so we are within one to two weeks of passing that critical last freeze date. If you start planting tomatoes or tender annuals quicker be prepared to cover them with boxes, hot caps or blankets. Last year we got a hard freeze that caused a significant amount of damage April 15. If you want to be safe, spend your time preparing flower beds and then plant away after mid April except for the real heat loving crops like caladiums, sweet potatoes and periwinkle that do best when planted after May 1. It is now a little late to apply most pre-emergents on your lawn but you can use post emergents to control weeds that have already germinated in your lawn.

 Get outside and celebrate spring, the New Year’s celebration of nature.

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