By Joe Hobby
It struck me when I was driving on a little back road near my house. There in a small, well kept yard were several forsythia, aka yellow bells, in full bloom. Right in the middle of some unraked leaves the shrubs stood proudly, flanking a straw colored carpet of dormant Bermuda grass. Their bright yellow flowers were in sharp contrast to the muted colors all around them. I’ve seen this before and I knew what it meant. Fake Spring is here.
Fake Spring is a season that most southerners are aware of, but don’t pay much attention to. All we have to do is look around because the signs are everywhere. It’s not just forsythia. Lots of plants are fooled by Fake Spring. They start blooming, only to be frozen during the sure to come “cold snap”. Look around. Check the blooms! I’ve already seen tulip trees, red buds, purple thrift, and last and certainly least, Bradford pear trees.
By the way, I’m not a fan of the Bradford pear. Honestly, I hate them. They’re not natural looking, they’re not pretty, they stink, and they bloom too early. But they’re cheap. As a result, it seems every front yard in the south has one. Of course, as most homeowners with a chainsaw will tell you, a good strong wind will rip the limbs right off the trunk. And be careful! These so-called trees have thorns sharper than a wolverine’s claws. South Carolina has outlawed these landscaping horrors, and every other self-respecting state should too. Get rid of them – along with snakes, spiders, and alligators.
Sorry, I digress. Fake Spring fools lots of people too. Well meaning men and women will go to Lowe’s and buy $537 worth of flowers, dig 175 holes, and lovingly place their new plants in the ground. Then the cold snap strikes again, and they are deader than a possum on the side of the highway. The lure of a 70 degree weekend is so irresistible to some of our brethren that they will actually plant their tomato plants! They know better. I suppose it’s like looking at a car wreck, you know you shouldn’t, but you can’t help yourselves. Fight the urge. Don’t plant those tomato plants yet.
Everyone should know about Fake Spring by now. But I think people are so tired of winter that they just lose their minds. There are folks wanting to make homemade ice cream on a 78 degree March day, only to be huddled around a bowl of chili 24 hours later when the high is 31. I’ve seen golfers in late February begin their round in short sleeve shirts. Four hours later, they’re walking up the 18th hole dressed like Admiral Byrd on an expedition to Antarctica.
And now it’s here. That sneaky, put on your shorts, but have your winter coat handy, season is upon all of us. Think I’m kidding? Today the high is 66. Tomorrow snow flurries are in the forecast. Beware!
There is one good thing about Fake Spring though. It means Real Spring’s not far behind it.
As for me, I’m gonna put on my shorts and t shirt and head to the nearest grocery store to buy some milk and bread. After all, snow flurries are in the forecast.