The Canada geese have returned. The same pair has nested on our pond for the last 17 years. They mate for life and rebuild the same nest year after year. Like clockwork, in early February, the pair flies in with their juvenile children, hang around as if they are considering the integrity of the neighborhood, and then insist to their year-old kids that it is time for them to launch. The adolescent offspring depart to greener shorelines, and the husband and wife settle in for the next six weeks of nesting, incubation, and hatching of new babies.
Unlike most folks living near ponds and lakes in Union County, our family actually looks forward to the coming of our geese. Their arrival marks the point in the year when we can expect the blooms of winter: winter jasmine, hyacinth, forsythia, daffodils, tulips, and saucer magnolias. Could spring be around the corner?
When it is too cold and too wet to work in the garden, we certainly can dream and plan it. Winter is the perfect season to get out the gardening books, catalogs, and magazines and start designing. Consider your spaces, the amount of sunshine, your favorite colors, and remember your region. Union County is considered by the USDA to be a Zone 7b, so keep this in mind for the summer heat, not just the winter freeze, for new plants you are contemplating for your garden. Get your lists together now as spring is on the horizon.
For the rest of the winter our family will keep an eye on the mother goose and watch for signs of the new hatchlings on our pond. Last year they made their debut on Easter, and it signaled to us that the birth of spring is more than symbolic. Let us anticipate it with the blooms that winter shares with us now.