It’s entirely the groundhog’s fault. He promised us an early spring. Oh, the critter delivered on the early spring all right. Flowering fruit trees were in bloom, folks were wearing shorts, and my neighbors were out mowing grass. Yep, we all had it — spring fever.
When the warm weather hits, I always get the urge to plant flowers. Petunias were calling my name, so I went over to the hardware store and checked out the bedding plants. I had a gift card left over from last winter. No sense in wasting it — especially when I have spring fever.
On a warm weekend in early spring the garden center is worse than the Interstate at rush hour. They were carting out the plants, mulch, and fertilizer by the basketload. Hoses, sprayers, shovels, and wheelbarrows lined up at the register for the patio checkout lane. Like me, everyone in town had been hit by spring fever.
The flowers were so colorful and bright. How could any woman resist buying a few plants whether she likes flowers or not? I picked out some snapdragons and marigolds. As much as I love flowers, my thumb has never been green enough to plant anything that doesn’t thrive easily, even when I have spring fever.
The yellow snapdragons were easy to reach, but the red snapdragons were on the top shelf where I could barely reach them. I didn’t let that hinder me, though; I managed to get them down without breaking my neck or dropping the flowers. Nothing can stop me when I want flowers, especially when I have a severe case of spring fever.
Back home, I attacked my backyard with vigor, chopping down the dead Black-Eyed Susan plants from the previous season, pulling weeds, raking dead leaves and dry grass like a wild woman. The blossoms from my crabapple tree fell around me like rain — but even spring allergies take a back seat to spring fever.
The down side to buying plants is that you have to plant them. The planting part is not nearly as much fun as the buying part, especially when you have to pull weeds and grass first. By the time I finished getting everything ready to plant, I was too tired to plant anything. It was lack of energy, not lack of enthusiasm. I still had severe spring fever.
As it turned out, winter had been lurking around the corner all the time just waiting for those tender plants to be put into the ground. The next thing I knew it was cold again. That stuff falling from the sky wasn’t pollen or apple blossoms the next day — it was snow! I guess that’s what I get for believing that a varmint can predict weather and letting him give me spring fever.
I remember other years when I have jumped the gun and planted my flowers too early, only to have the winter return with a vengeance to kill them. What could I do now with all the boxes of flowers to keep them from freezing? Bring them inside, of course. Now my kitchen table has spring fever.
It was chilly outside in my bathrobe that night, trying to cover my azaleas with a blanket so they wouldn’t freeze. Then the blanket blew off and my azaleas became victims anyhow, along with a lot of other plants that grew too early because they too had spring fever.
Every year I say the same thing. “Next year I’m not going to plant any flowers so I won’t have to worry about frost and cold weather.” But then the annuals bloom in front of the discount stores, and I just can’t resist buying plants. I don’t know what it is, the urge to plant and grow, the innate need for renewal of life — or simply spring fever.