Happy Groundhog Day!

February 2nd has long been my favorite day of the year. Call me skeptical, but I couldn’t care less about some groundhog. Shadow or not, the possibility of spring weather being just six weeks away lifts my spirits.

Cold weather and I fell out in college. The rift started in high school. Snow was fun — until I got my driver’s license. Resentment simmered for years, boiling over every time I had to walk to class in sub-zero temperatures, blinding snow, or bone-chilling wind.

Gardening pushed me over the edge. Freezing temperatures became the enemy. I wished for the end of winter with more urgency. Even in Kentucky, where cold weather persists into May, I never stopped hoping for an early end to cold weather.

Athenians say Good Friday is when it’s safe to plant tomatoes and other tender annuals. Given the way Easter moves around, that’s not particularly useful. Tax day makes more sense. A freeze after April 15th is unlikely.

Planting stuff is my Groundhog Day tradition. This year, I started two more flats of seed (#5 and #6). Half of each flat is petunias, pink in one, white in the other. The rest of each flat is lettuce and alyssum.

Outside, I planted tulip bulbs that have been in the refrigerator since early October. Unlike me, tulips don’t like mild winters. Blooms suffer without a long enough cold spell. I’m hoping four months in the fridge fakes them out. We shall see. If it works, I’ll do it again next year.

The days are getting longer. We’re not out of the woods yet as far as cold weather goes, but Groundhog Day means the end is near. Even for my friends up north, spring is one day closer than it was yesterday.