You'd be hard pressed to miss the deep red color of a northern cardinal against a backdrop of winter but if you do, the bright whistling tone is sure to catch your ear. Especially late winter when the lengthening light seems to trigger a different type of morning song. The kind that suggests the days of winter are numbered. I heard it about the same time the days finally became noticeably longer a few weeks ahead of meteorological spring and a full month ahead the vernal equinox. I'm counting the days. Are you?
When bouquets of tulips in shades of purple and pink show up at the local market late winter, it's hard to resist bringing a handful of stems home. The colorful cup-shaped blooms have a way of brightening the last days of winter especially when the season of white has been particularly harsh (or at least seemed that way). Tulips are in the lily family (Liliaceae) and belong to the genus Tulipa. It will be weeeeeeeks yet before these bulbiferous geophytes even think about stirring in Iowa where, as the saying goes, March is arriving like a lion. A very grumpy lion. In the meantime, there are market tulips. Hanging in there, friends. Only twenty-one more days 'til Spring, right?