Poor Will’s Almanack for the third week of Middle Spring, the 20th Week of the Natural Year.
The effects of Middle Spring's rising temperatures and longer days are always cumulative. Suddenly, the tree line is greening. Maples, oaks, mulberries, locusts, trees of heaven, viburnums and ginkgoes send out their first leaves.
Tulip season peaks and the delicate fritillarias blossom. Although some bloodroot and twinleaf are done flowering, Middle Spring brings budding time for peonies, meadow rue, large-flowered trillium, trout lily, Jacob's ladder, ragwort and sedum.
Bellwort leaves unravel. Hepatica, periwinkle, toad trillium, cowslip, rue anemone, shepherd's purse, ground ivy, violet and small-flowered buttercup are now all in bloom.
Pastures are filling with golden winter cress, purple henbit and dandelions. Blossoms could be out on a few strawberry plants, and hearts are forming on the bleeding heart. All the pussy willow catkins have fallen. Asparagus is coming up in the sun. Summer's jumpseed and zigzag goldenrod sport four to six leaves apiece. Comfrey and lily-of-the-valley are seven inches high. Wood mint is at least eight inches tall, and sweet for tea. Chives are ready for salads.
Turkeys gobble, and the earliest grasshoppers and tadpoles swarm from their eggs. The first goslings are born. Tent caterpillars appear in the wild cherry trees. Aphids hatch, and ladybugs come looking for them.
Skunk cabbage leaves are more than half size, ten inches long, eight across. June's chicory is six to nine inches. Ragwort and garlic mustard are forming clumps. Curly dock is almost fully grown. Watercress has filled the shallow brooks. Half the ginger in the woods has emerged. Cabbage moths are out laying eggs on the new cabbage, kale, collards, and Brussels sprouts. Grape vines are just starting to break dormancy.
Next week on Poor Will's Almanack: notes for the fourth week of Middle Spring. In the meantime, watch the fruit trees come into bloom all across the country.