Tag Archives: Crocus

Chronicling Spring in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia


I am a gardener, animal lover, author… Fortunately, I haven’t had to choose a single focus and incorporate my loves into my writing. Among my greatest passions is the Shenandoah Valley in general, and our farm in particular. The meadows are covered in a wash of green and looking far more hopeful than the brown hue we’ve lived with since November A blanket of snow is pretty but we haven’t had much snowfall this year. Thank heavens the rain has returned after months of drought. Fingers crossed, it stays.

Our drained and dug out farm pond is finally beginning to fill back up again. It was a dry crater all fall and winter like something on the moon. The barnyard geese were suspicious at first, but now go for swims. We are watching for the migrating waterfowl and birds who were once regular visitors here. Sadly, our place was off their radar last spring. Having an alive pond again is exciting. We’re consulting experts about what to do regarding fish, and I’m toying with getting ducks. The original pond had filled with silt over the decades and had to be redone. It’s located in a marshy spot in the meadow fed by wet water springs and is the head waters of Cooks Creek, which ultimately feeds into the Chesapeake Bay. Fencing keeps the cows out. We have planted some trees and shrubs around it and will plant more.

(Geese enjoying the new grass. Ruins of an old barn visible behind our farm)

I’m in my ‘giddy about the earth awakening mode’, or was, until the wind storm hit. My spirits are a little battered, and the crocus are kind of sad after the roaring bluster. But I trust the blossoms will revive and new ones will open when this gale finishes with us and sweeps away. March really roared in this year. Inclement weather is a trial to gardeners everywhere. We hopeful souls go on. We must. I’m chronicling spring as it unfolds in my bit of earth.

(Early crocus and snowdrops)

I saved a lot of seeds last year, ordered many others, and started some early varieties of flowers, herbs, and vegetables in my little greenhouse. One late February day was so balmy, it felt like May. I planted my early salad greens in the garden during the warm spell. Then the lion returned, and the seeds will slumber until the warmth comes back.

“Who loves a garden still his Eden keeps;
Perennial pleasures plants, and wholesome harvest reaps.”
~A. Bronson Alcott, “The Garden,” Tablets, 1868

“It was such a pleasure to sink one’s hands into the warm earth, to feel at one’s fingertips the possibilities of the new season.” ~Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden

(Miniature iris return faithfully each year)

(Yellow crocus)

***For more on me follow my Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Beth-Trissel/e/B002BLLAJ6/

Every spring is the only spring — a perpetual astonishment. ~Ellis Peters


Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn. ~Quoted by Lewis Grizzard in Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You

(Crocus and violas in the garden blooming now)

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. ~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. ~Ruth Stout

The naked earth is warm with Spring,
And with green grass and bursting trees
Leans to the sun’s kiss glorying,
And quivers in the sunny breeze.
~Julian Grenfell

I wonder if the Daffodil
Shrinks from the touch of frost,
And when her veins grow stiff and still
She dreams that life is lost?
Ah, if she does, how sweet a thing
Her resurrection day in spring!
~Emma C. Dowd, “Daffodil and Crocus,” in Country Life in America: A Magazine for the Home-maker, the Vacation-seeker, the Gardener, the Farmer, the Nature-teacher, the Naturalist, April 1902

In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours. ~Mark Twain

Her fairies climb the bare, brown trees,
And set green caps on every stalk;
Her primroses peep bashfully
From borders of the garden walk,
And in the reddened maple tops
Her blackbird gossips sit and talk.
~Hannah R. Hudson, “April,” The Atlantic Monthly, April 1868

(Grecian wind flowers)

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month. ~Henry Van Dyke

…the sweet wildflower breath of spring… ~Terri Guillemets

I hear the passing echoes of winter and feel the warming spring on my face. ~Terri Guillemets

A little madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King.
~Emily Dickinson

The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring. ~Bern Williams

(Snowdrops blooming in the garden)

Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life. ~S.D. Gordon


Easter Eggs Hidden in CrocusI’ve always loved Easter, a joyous season when the earth is reborn in a swell of new life washed with vibrant color, a time of spiritual and physical renewal. I can’t imagine Christ’s resurrection taking place at any other time of year. This is most fitting. As a six-year-old recently returned from an early childhood spent in Taiwan, I delighted in my first egg hunt in a neighbor’s yard filled with blooming crocus and daffodils. Tucked in the green grass and among those shining blossoms were the many-colored eggs, like hidden jewels. Magical. And chocolate rabbits. I was in awe of an American Easter.

Nostalgic Easter PhotographOf course, in those days little girls wore hats and gloves and crinolines under their Easter dresses. Yes, I was born in the 1800’s. I also received my first white Bible on Easter, which is still my favorite one. It had this new book smell and books were quite special back then because my father was an underpaid English professor and we were poor. I just liked smelling my new Bible, but did eventually read much of it. The names of my favorite Sunday School teachers are inked in the front under the section entitled Friends at Church. I must have been a real nerd not to have any children listed. Actually, I know I was.

Another early Easter memory is our family returning home from church and me climbing from the car to bury my face in a golden clump of daffodils by the back doorstep, beaded with rain. Their sweet scent said spring to me. And new life. I always imagined the tomb where Christ was buried and rose again surrounded by daffodils and crocus.

“For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new born.”  ~Alice Freeman Palmer

“Let the resurrection joy lift us from loneliness and weakness and despair to strength and beauty and happiness.”  ~Floyd W. Tomkins

“It is the hour to rend thy chains,
The blossom time of souls.”  ~Katherine Lee Bates

March has been ‘Right Mixy’


Spring 2015

Years ago, when I asked an Old Order Mennonite woman how her two-year-old daughter was doing, she responded with, ‘Right mixy.’ Which sums up a wee tot and their erratic moods quite well. The term also applies to March in the Shenandoah Valley, and other parts of the country. One day it’s mild and in the 60’s and the next, temps drop to the teens and snow flies. Is it any wonder I’ve been stricken with a respiratory thing, as have many others in the valley. We all long for full-blown spring and more settled weather, and hope to live to see it. Hack, sniffle, honk.

March 6

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” ~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

“In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.” ~Mark Twain

March 5

“The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.”
~Robert Frost

(I know, but am hopeful April will be kinder.)

***snowdrop, crocus and pussy willow are blooming. Daffodils have just begun. Images by daughter Elise

In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours. ~Mark Twain


daffodils in March snowWill a t-shirt suffice, or do I need my heavy coat? The question of the hour.

An encouraging flush of green spreads over the fields of rye and grassy meadows, still muddy from melting snow. Crocus brighten drab flower beds, while daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths push up leaves. Here and there, the hint of buds. The promise of new life stirs around the base of herbs and perennials. Like an elusive butterfly, spring hovers in the air, but tomorrow winter will chase it away for several days. Then spring returns again. Then winter–the back and forth dance that is March in the Shenandoah Valley. April can also be a fickle shuffle, though generally May is more.stately waltz. (Image of daffodils in the snow from last spring–also likely to happen this year)

But, hey, “Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.”  ~Doug Larson

snow crocusThis afternoon, Daughter Elise and I plan to make a start in the garden and get the early greens and peas in. A little tardy for us. Normally we’ve accomplished this first planting of the year by now, but the season is running late. In the greenhouse, tiny seedlings shiver when the sun disappears–the trouble with a solar greenhouse. But the warmth holds for a time and they’re shielded from frost and biting winds. Oddly, the heat loving flowers and basil are emerging just fine, but nary a sign of tomatoes and peppers. I suspect the seed rotted and replanting awaits me. There’s much to do in the greenhouse and the garden when spring stops hovering and declares herself. Winter hibernation ends and the mad rush ensues. The dance takes off.

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” ~Margaret Atwood

And so I shall.

For the Loveliness of it All


“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.” ~Ruth Stout

Crocus Again

Why, some of you may ask, am I so drawn to gardening? Granted, toiling in the earth has its downsides, like the aching back I will soon be complaining of, the chewing bugs, and inevitable weather affronts, but nothing is more uplifting to the spirit than a fair day in and among growing things. The joyous sights of new life returning to our beautiful valley after a long winter, the delectable scents and sounds…the trill of a meadowlark, the song sparrow singing overhead as I plant seeds in the crumbly brown ground…the swoop and soaring of the first butterfly…the pussy willow bursting with fuzzy catkins…the glowing crocus. Snow still obscures the landscape and cold wind nips my face, but the forecast promises better days and I shall soon be out sniffing the air with profound appreciation. The barnyard geese are fussy. Egg laying shall commence.

Early spring in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

The delights of spring are almost upon us. There’s always a moment that catches and holds me transfixed, and in that moment, all is perfect. All is lovely. My piece of heaven on earth.~

***Images of crocus from last year and spring in the valley taken by my mom in past years.

Get out the Egg Dye–It’s that Time of Year Boys & Girls


Saturday morning I’m going to an Easter egg hunt at my mom’s with ‘the Smalls’ in our family. We may freeze now that April has decided to behave as early March should have done. Crazy weather, but I’ve always loved Easter, a joyous season when the earth is reborn in a swell of new life washed with vibrant color, a time of spiritual and physical renewal.  I can’t imagine Christ‘s resurrection taking place at any other time of year.  This is most fitting. Although in some parts of the world, I suppose it’s fall isn’t it?  A strange thought, hiding eggs beneath autumn leaves.  Maybe those regions of the globe don’t have fall foliage. Let me know dear readers.

As a six-year-old recently returned from an early childhood spent in Taiwan–no autumn leaves there, but we had a kewl banana tree in our front yard–I delighted in my first egg hunt in a neighbor’s yard filled with blooming crocus and daffodils.  Tucked in the green grass and among those shining blossoms were the many-colored eggs, like hidden jewels.  Magical. And chocolate rabbits.  I was in awe of an American Easter.

(*Grandson Colin from an earlier Easter)

Of course, in those days little girls wore hats and gloves and crinolines under their Easter dresses.  Yes, I was born in the 1800′s.  I also received my first white Bible on Easter, which is still my favorite one.  It had this new book smell and books were quite special back then because my father was an underpaid English professor and we were poor.  I just liked smelling my new Bible, but did eventually read much of it.  The names of my favorite Sunday School teachers are inked in the front under the section entitled ‘Friends at Church.’  I must have been a complete nerd not to have any children listed.  I had plenty of imaginary friends… (*Beth as a wee tot.)

Another early Easter memory is our family returning home from church and me climbing from the car to bury my face in a golden clump of daffodils by the back doorstep, beaded with rain.  Their sweet scent said spring to me.  And new life.  I always imagined the tomb where Christ was buried and rose again surrounded by daffodils and crocus.  Which is not likely given the photographs I’ve seen of what it may actually have looked like.  Very dry and rocky terrain.  I like my mental image better.  It’s the spirit of the event that matters, so I’ll stick with it.

“For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new-born.”

~Alice Freeman Palmer

“Let the resurrection joy lift us from loneliness and weakness and despair to strength and beauty and happiness.”  ~Floyd W. Tomkins

“It is the hour to rend thy chains,
The blossom time of souls.”  ~Katherine Lee Bates