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Signs that spring is on its way

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How can we possibly see signs of spring, when our landscape is covered in snow piles that reach higher than our mailboxes? In Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs, another 2 to 3 inches of snow fell last night, adding to snowfall totals that have already broken records this winter.

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Do not despair, though! Signs of spring are visible above the blankets of white. Right now, crocuses and daffodils may be buried and unable to display their delicate beauty, but trees and shrubs have formed fat buds that will open and bloom in just a few weeks. Branches on Japanese maples are turning red, and twigs on kerria bushes are bright green. Dogwood buds are taking on a pink hue, and silvery leaves are appearing on butterfly bushes.

While we continue to wait for spring-like temperatures, the vegetation around us has been preparing for the seasons to come. Let us appreciate our landscape’s efforts by studying the branches and twigs around us. They may look bare from a distance, but closer inspection reveals embryonic shoots whose symmetry and pigment can bring an instant smile to nature lovers.

This year, winter may seem to be harsher and more extended than usual, but it will not be long before we feel the welcome warmth of spring. As always, patience will reward us eventually with abundant brightly colored leaves, shoots and blossoms. Meanwhile, we can be thankful for each stage of the annual renewal process by taking the time to treasure every fascinating phase in the lifecycle of our exquisitely gorgeous natural world.

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