Letter: At last! Hummingbirds, ***** willows, warmth

hummingbird

hummingbirdTo the editor:

It’s as though we had been granted one perfect spring day just to show us what we were missing in this non-spring.

My neighbor had mowed his lawn and the air smelled of cut grass and wild garlic, the winter birds were trying out their mating songs, various shrubs were blooming and my little dog and I ventured out for a stroll, the first in a long time. Leaden skies, bone chilling winds and temperatures vainly trying to reach 50 degrees are not what I consider fit conditions for a country walk.

The stroll became something of a treasure hunt for both of us. I found baby magnolia seedlings and a small spice tree, currently in bloom, and my companion a bunch of three chicken feathers which he decided would make a good dietary supplement. This being New England, of course, we are back to 50 degrees again.

I e-mailed a friend who lives sheltered in the woods to tell her I was behind in getting out my hummingbird feeders. They are supposed to go up tax day April 15. As we were having ice pellets and snow I put it off. But she didn’t, and five days ahead of schedule her friend “Herbie” showed up. I must ask her how she knows it is Herbie and not Frank or Edward.

So the first of our summer birds have arrived and depending on how sheltered you are you can expect the rest to follow around the first of May. Because I live on top of a hill, I don’t get green leaves until around the sixth and therefore no insects and so no summer birds.

And long about the sixth, those of us lucky enough to live in Little Compton and south Tiverton can start looking for the pale white masses of Shad Bush in the swampy areas. I think I remind people every year because these little trees are fairly rare and you don’t find them in many other places.

In bloom now are the native ***** willows. The tall bushes look creamy greeny yellow as the color comes from pollen, not flowers.

And for an eyeful of wonderful color and spectacular design try to get to Sakonnet Garden on West Main Road, Little Compton, open only once a year. This year it will be Mother’s Day weekend from 9:30 a.m. to 6 – rain or shine – May 10 and 11.

Sidney Tynan

Little Compton

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