Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - March 3, 2005

I need some spring!

I know spring is coming. I've seen crocuses and tulips peeking through the ground, heard birds singing different songs and smelled the earth when I step outside. Art mentioned a few days ago he saw and heard geese heading north.

These and other things, such as an occasional warm day, tease me. They make me impatient for spring to really get here.

But when I look out the front window, I only see curled brown leaves clinging to the pin oak tree. Out back, the trees that form such a nice canopy in warmer weather are still bare.

This past weekend, cabin fever was definitely getting a hold on me - that is, until I started reading the Sunday paper.

The advertising insert that came with the paper said, "Suit Up! A new look every day!" It was an ad for swimsuits! Subsequent pages advertised sun dresses and tank tops. I've even noticed some college kids wearing shorts and flip-flops already. I'm all for warmer weather, but that's rushing the season a bit too much. I'm not ready to put my sweaters, wool suits and warm socks in storage yet.

Another ad - this time for vacuum cleaners - told me, "It's time for spring cleaning." That's not what I had in mind either. I'm ready for spring, but spring cleaning can wait!

The front page of the "Arts and Leisure" section in the Sunday Manhattan Mercury had what I was looking for. The "Garden Fever" headline and photos of a daffodil, colorful watering cans and children petting an India star tortoise got me going. They were publicizing the fifth annual Manhattan Area Garden Show, which was in town for the weekend.

And I still had time to go!

I rushed out the door. I discovered later Art had looked at Katie and asked, "Where's Mom going?"

Katie answered, "To some garden show."

"Oh, it's that time of year," he replied.

I drove through rain showers to get to the show. I wondered if it was worth it, but I remembered something my mother-in-law used to say when she was bored or restless. "I have to do something even if it's wrong," she'd say.

I wasn't disappointed with my decision. After seeing gray skies all morning, the hall was cheery. Potted pansies, daffodils, hyacinths and other flowering plants edged the booths. Nurseries were giving away detailed information on how to attract butterflies, complete with butterfly garden plans.

Bees in their honeycombs were displayed in glass cases with honey jars of varying sizes for sale on nearby shelves. The beekeeper at the booth told me he doesn't use refined sugar for anything.

"I even put honey in my coffee and it gives it a cappuccino taste," he said.

He knew a pushover when he saw one. I opened my wallet and soon a one-pound jar was mine, along with a leaflet that had honey recipes from a former Kansas Honey Queen.

Later, I won a coupon for five tulip bulbs because I was able to match several artists to their paintings - including Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers, Georgia O'Keefe's lilies and a garden scene by Claude Monet.

There were also people available from the Master Gardener program to answer questions. I'm hardly a master at gardening, but I can tell I'm getting antsy to get out there and plant something. Maybe those bulbs in the garage - the ones from last year that Art told me have turned to dust by now.

That doesn't matter. The garden show was the spring I needed. And the sun that came out on the way home didn't hurt either.

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