So Spring has decided to arrive early in the Midwest. After the record high temperatures earlier this week, we are now enjoying perfect Spring weather over the weekend. The Chicago Northshore is shaking off the winter like a sleepy animal that loosens its muscles and stretches its joints after months of hibernation. Overactive neighbors are challenging weather statistics by potting tiny plants months before the chances of night frost are truly over, whereas others are finally getting around to cleaning up the sad remnants of last year's gardens. And all of this activity occurs with the backdrop of Sunday sports, with people's excited chattering about the March Madness basketball they are following on TV, radio, laptop or smartphone.
We had a couple of perennial plants in pots out on our deck last year, but it looks like both the lavender and chive have succumbed to even this mild winter weather. Perhaps this is related to the small planters each was in. The verbena however spent the last 5 months behind our kitchen window soaking up some winter sun while rooting in comfortable inside temperatures and food odors. It sprung back to life about two weeks ago and is promising many splendid glasses of fresh brewed tea for upcoming cool summer nights. One larger planter clearly was equipped to survive the winter, with both peony and african lily buds peeking through the barren soil since Friday. They're still tiny, but I did decide to use money received for my birthday to get another lens - a macro. Or actually a pop-up lens that acts like a magnifying glass when you can attach it to your existing camera lenses. Remember the salt crystals (see the earlier post Winter also has its perks)? Now I can really introduce you to the intriguing world of macro photography, starting with peony buds that are not even an inch across. Just look at how the tiny leaves are neatly lined up.
I still need some more practice with the difficult focusing when your lens plus macro pop-up is only inches away from the object you're taking pictures off, but there's promise for fascinating macro-subjects and for flaming red peonies this summer!
GABROEN on behalf of macro-fan Jeroen