There’s so much happening outside right now! Leaf buds are swelling, the earliest flowers have blossomed and garden beds have workable soil. The white-tailed jackrabbits are slowly changing colour from white to brown and a wide range of bird song can be heard along our street.
Despite being out of town for a couple of weeks, I noticed so many things that it took me a while to select just three photographs to share this month:
1. Earthworm – The soil in our flower beds and raised bed vegetable garden is ready for planting. I’ve spent several hours working last year’s leaf litter into the earth, trimming old growth off the perennials and generally cleaning things up. I spotted ladybugs and three different types of bees in our yard. One morning I photographed one of the many earthworms I startled during my efforts. So far, I have resisted planting anything but I think the spinach and Swiss chard seeds will move from seed packet to one of our vegetable plots before the end of the month.
2. Prairie Crocus – There’s a big box shopping centre not far from our house. It takes about 10 minutes to walk to the nearest stores and about 15 minutes to walk home. Why the difference? There’s a steep hill along the route and while I am happy to run down the 226 steps, it takes me a little longer to ascend all those flights, especially if I’m carrying a jug of milk or a bag of potatoes! Each year, a patch of purple Prairie Crocus blossoms on the slope. These harbingers of spring are already in the mid- to late-bloom phase. While some of them are standing proud of last year’s long grass, others are almost entirely covered in the long thatch which makes them hard to spot.
NOTE: I reported the first Prairie Crocus flowers of the year to the PlantWatch program on the NatureWatch website. There are several citizen science programs under the Naturewatch umbrella, and if you’d like to add to their sets of observations, the online registration process takes only a few minutes.
3. Reclamation – Our neighbourhood is about 30 years old, which is more than enough time for Mother Nature to begin reclaiming some of the areas plowed up and paved over back in the 1980s. Fencing seems to be one of the first things to fail. This month I also noticed grass growing on the “soil” that has accumulated around the base of a street lamp installed on one of the pedestrian paths that connects two of the cul-de-sacs that are so typical of subdivision design in the 1970s – 1990s.
What’s happening in your part of the world? Have you been working outside? Or are you still waiting for the snow to melt? If you are still wondering whether it’s worth the effort to get out and enjoy the bits of nature in your neighbourhood, please consider joining the 30 x 30 Nature Challenge. The website links to research findings on the benefits of spending time in nature and the annual May challenge provides a daily dose of encouragement, weekly contests and the opportunity to participate in ongoing research into the health and wellness benefits of being outside.