Spring in Ottawa is a fleeting experience. Too soon, the cold of winter melts into the heat and humidity of summer, leaving a few short weeks of warming days and cooler nights.
The Springs of my Nova Scotian childhood were longer, damper, and a gently unfolding discovery of emerging bulbs, new leaves, violets and a hidden world slowly coming back to life.
Spring, in my mind, has a scent — wet mud with a tinge of cut grass wafting on a warm, salted breeze.
The aroma of Spring holds a high note of violets and lilac blossoms, and a bottom note of farmer’s fields.
Spring in Ottawa smells like this, too, for about a week.
It’s sandwiched between the “melting stage” (dog poo, vehicle exhaust, and skating rink) and the “cook an egg on the sidewalk” stage (chip truck, hot parking lot, splash pad chlorine).
In my opinion, Spring should ease you into Summer — like ripples on a pond reaching out to the shore — not catapult you into tank tops, shorts, and sunscreen in a matter of days.
The nice thing about the earlier onslaught of summer, though, is an earlier and longer growing season.
This year, we’re growing more than potted herbs for the first time in a long time. Half of the pots are for us, the other half are being grown for our local food bank. Pots are nice because I can move them to the sun or shade, as needed. We have turned the top of our driveway into an impromptu patio for just this purpose.
Giving back is easy and only takes a little bit of my time to water and tend (and chase away the squirrels).
I think it would be nice if the City would covert the sidewalk planters over to vegetables and switch to using fruit-bearing shrubs and trees in urban landscaping — rhubarb instead of hostas, currants and saskatoon berries instead of ninebark and Japanese lilacs! I would like to see fruit bushes in the local play parks to encourage kids to get up close with their food.