Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Five

Yea! I posted a Friday Five!

It's pouring down rain here today, which of course makes me think of springtime. I apologize to my northern readers for today's list. I'm really not trying to rub in your faces that it's still snowing up there, and so balmy down here. Really. Don't hate me. And don't send your cold, chilly weather down here, either.

I moved to the South primarily because I fell in love with springtime. My first time to the south was in early March of 1996. I went on a road trip with a boyfriend that took us through Alabama on our way to New Orleans. As we drove through Tuscaloosa, all the cherry trees, dogwoods and azaleas were just bursting forth with colour. It was a stark contrast to Kalamazoo, Michigan, where there were two feet of snow on the ground, and we'd just left a howling winter storm. I was instantly smitten. I moved a few months later and never looked back.

Even though it's only February, spring has already sprung in many places across the south, including Savannah. The daffodils have already begun to bloom, and some of the azaleas have too. So, today's Friday Five...

Five Reasons I Love Springtime in Savannah

1. Azaleas

They are everywhere, and I mean everywhere, down here. I even have a couple of scraggly looking little plants outside my house, although I doubt they're going to bloom. As I was driving to work yesterday, I notices that some of the older plants have already started putting forth those gorgeous pink, red and white blossoms. It's marvelous to think that while there's four feet of snow on the ground in parts of Ontario, the high today is going to be 67, and the azaleas are already blooming. If you ever visit Savannah, try to do it in the spring. The mounds of azaleas on every corner downtown will blow you away. By the way, if you come in January or February, you can see the camellias. They actually bloom in late winter. The picture is of Our Lady of Confidence Monastery here in Savannah. It shows how lovely the azaleas look against the Spanish Moss hanging from the oak trees.

2. Rain

It usually rains a lot here, and I do love it. I love the sound of it hitting the roof, I love the way everything turns green and lush after a rainfall, even in the winter. It also means I don't have to water my lawn all that much, and it still looks decent. Springtime is often the rainy season here, and it helps us grow all these great plants. That, and rainy afternoons encourage me to curl up with a cup of tea and a book on the sofa with the cats and TFYO. Any excuse, as far as I'm concerned. Here is a very short video of this morning's rain, taken from my back door. Excuse the construction debris, they're still building behind us. And yes, I know, I have no grass in my backyard.

3. Crickets

You can tell it's spring here, because we're seeing more animals and insects out and about, especially the crickets. I got to hear crickets for the first time in months a couple of nights ago. I was so excited. I wasn't so excited to find one in the kitchen, and even less excited when the cats couldn't be bothered to kill it for me. But I do like listening to them at night. It reminds me that those mild evenings spent on the porch are right around the corner. And it's a much nicer sound than ATVs through my backyard.

4. Green

Winter is short here, and relatively mild. There's actually quite a few deciduous plants that stay green here right the way through, like the live oak. But when spring comes, huge carpets of green seem to pop up overnight in farmers' fields, along roadsides, pretty much anywhere you look. It's almost as if all that green is waiting just below the surface for a good rain to wash away the dirt and let it emerge.

5. No jackets required

I bought a winter coat this past November, and I'm not really sure why. Oh, I got to use it a few times, mostly around Christmas. But now, I rarely need more than a sweatshirt and a rain coat. Usually, I'm just wearing a t-shirt. Several people I work with are from Michigan (small world, y'know?), and half of them wear short sleeves right the way through the winter. One guy wears shorts and a t-shirt everyday. Granted, the natives look at us without coats and think we're nuts, but who cares? It's mild, the breeze is soft, the flowers are blooming. Who wants to bundle up at a time like this?

Well, that's my five. For those who don't live in the South, give me five reasons you love spring where you live. Or if you hate spring, tell me why, you curmudgeons!


Kaycie said...

Ah, Jen, great post. Savannah is milder than OKC and the area around Tulsa where I grew up, but I love spring for the same reasons you do, for the most part.

The azaleas in Woodward Park in Tulsa are gorgeous and full like that, but not until late March or early April. I used to drive through the park every year just to see the big mounds of color. The bushes get so heavy with azaleas that you can't see the bushes underneath.

Roll on March!

bellevelma said...

It is snowing here today. And freezing rain. So I have to enjoy spring vicariously through you.

thegrandview said...

I think you just hit upon my biggest love of the south, azaleas. They are so beautiful and wonderful sign of spring.
Nice to see a Friday Five.

Mya said...

Ah Printemps! It's great. Daffs are flowering here, the cherry and almond blossom is out - no azaleas, unfortunately - we don't have the acidic soil conditions they love.But they are beautiful plants, especially en masse.
Nice, cheerful, feel good post - that's put a Spring in my step...tee hee.

Mya x

The Rotten Correspondent said...

I never really got why people loved spring so much until I moved to snow country. It's not that Southern California doesn't have spring - because it does - but it's a more subtle change. Here it's more in your face.

I love rain. I love thunderstorms. And crickets. And cicadas. And that amazing smell when the ground starts to warm up.

Daffodils. Asparagus.

But most of all...


my two cents said...

It amazes me how alike our two climates are in some respects. I consider winter here to be like a long early spring. I, too, have winter coat because it can be chilly in the mornings (high thirties sometimes) and if I am wearing a skirt and stockings, it is cold.

We get rain in the winter (spring, to me) which I love. The grass is dormant this time of year, it greens up around April, but winter here is planting season and I have lots of colorful annuals blooming. I have sweet peas beginning to climb the netting and the roses, which we cut back just after New Year's Day, are beginning to sprout new growth. The camelias and azaleas and magnolias are blooming and quite beautiful, and fragrant (magnolias), too.

What screams spring to me are roses and lilacs. I love them.

I miss the smell of the thaw that we had in the northeast in spring.

Summer here is hot and dry, so I enjoy the winter/spring as long as they last!

laurie said...

oh god i LOVE the sound of that video.

the only time i was in savannah was st. patrick's day weekend about seven years ago. it was gorgeous weather, and i was charmed when they dyed the fountains green.

and i really love azaleas.

i might have to move.
got a spare bedroom?

Jen said...

kaycie Thank you! When Ray came down to interview for his job here, the azaleas were in full bloom against that lovley backdrop of Spanish moss. Every corner was a mound of colour. I was sold instantly.

bellevelma I did apologize for the snow, didn't I? *grin*

grandview It was nice to get a Friday Five out again.

mya I forgot that spring comes to your area a bit earlier than others, too. woo-hoo!

RC The one thing I really miss about colder climates are the lilacs. Most species won't grow here in the coastal south. I've seen a couple advertised that claim they do, but...

my two cents Summer here is usually hot and humid, so I enjoy spring and fall as much as possible. In the summer, you walk outside, and it feels like you're walking into a wet blanket!

laurie LOL, my spare bedroom is becoming a nursery at the moment. But we do have a comfy couch. And you'll have to be a cat person. I've actually got a post on St. Patrick's Day planned for this coming week. Quite a big controversy brewing here.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Hmmmm, must rush as I need a wee even more than I did when I thought I'd catch up on you before I went to the loo.

I love spring. Event though winter is pretty mild here too these days, I love the green, the first Snow Drops and crocuses and daffs, the lighter nights, the brighter weather and the return of all the animals and their babies.
I am a sucker for lambs and piglets and nests full of eggs and all that stuff.

my two cents said...

Jen, There is a variety of lilac that grows well out here called the Descanso Lilac. I have one and it sends out runners so I have dug up several and have them in tubs getting bit enough to put into the ground. They are lovely, light purple and very fragrant. Perhaps they are available in your area, too.

Sam said...

Thanks for the tourist plug, Jen. Now, if we can make sure that they pick up after themselves before they go, eat at Mom and Niki's instead of Paula Deen's and they don't pack the Spanish Moss in their suitcases so they don't wind up with mites, then we should all be fine.

Teresa said...

It is pretty springy already in Seattle too. The daffs are up but not open, but the crocuses, hellebores, and snowdrops are everywhere.My daughter is looking forward to going to Savannah for an ultimate frisbee tournament in late March. Being that she is going to school in Chicago, your warm temps will be much appreciated.

Dumdad said...

Pleased to see you have cricket out there. I thought you were a baseball nation?

Diana said...

Ahhhhhhhhh. Reminds me of the 5 month springs of the Pacific Northwest. We're to get another 6-8" of snow on top of the freezing rain for the next day or so, so keep bringing the reports of spring to come. As long as I know that others are starting to see it, I know we must eventually have ours.

The thing I do love about our lightning fast springs is that every single things blooms at once and spring can happen literally in a day: You drive to work in winter and when you drive home, all the trees magically have leaves and the flowers are a-bloom.