The weather is the subject of 95 percent of the small talk I hear nowadays. But as the thermometer climbs to the high 60s more regularly, I see the urgency of the plants on my property as they muscle their way through the soil and overlying pack of leaves.
Across my backslope which adjoins my yard, hundreds of daffodils are in full bloom, some planted in the form of RAY and CAROL. Sixty lilies border the river where there were once only seventeen. Five clusters of naked ladies have extended their lush blades and are already soaking up the sunshine. The blue bells have emerged with their purple leaf cluster. Close inspection reveals the tightly bound light blue blossoms ready to spring open in a couple of days. Trout lilies are the most prevalent early spring plant at the bottom of my backslope. Their green and purple-blackish leaves are out and soon beautiful white and yellow blossoms will cover the lower hillside. Each year, I try to add to my knowledge of the native plants on my property and the surrounding area.
However, in a few weeks I will begin my battle with non-native invasive plants such as gil-over-the ground, Russian olive, garlic mustard, and Japanese honeysuckle. I pull them out by the roots and fill dozens of trash bags, haul them to a central location out of the flood plane and dump them out to dry and eventually be burned. The job takes continued vigilance and energy but it is worth it to me when I see aggressive species replaced with more delicate native ones.
Just below a small spring that gushes in the spring, I dug a 3-foot by 5-foot pool with the hopes of creating a salamander breeding area. I have seen no evidence of their usage of the pool but I check it most days.
My wife tells me that each spring about this time, I act as though I had never seen the phenomenon of plants reclaiming their territory. After a long, cold winter, to see the determined growth of my plants does excite me. Looking for and identifying the various renewed growth encourages me to climb the hill and get some needed exercise. I usually return with reports of new plants to share with my wife. I usually consult a few websites to learn their common names.
With all this new growth and the promise of more to come, I am given hope and am reinvigorated in all parts of my life. I look at my business and my relationships and make goals and commitments for the remainder of the year. The tedious tasks daily life bring me have more purpose. Springtime seems to be a great time for action planning to re-energize ourselves. I for one watch the reappearance of spring flowers and look more positively toward the future. Don't miss this special time outdoors. It may just give you a new outlook on life.
R. Glenn Ray, Ph.D., is the president of RayCom Learning. To learn more about Ray's completely revised, third printing of "The Facilitative Leader: Behaviors that Enable Success," visit his Web site, www.raycomlearning.com. Everyday Leadership appears each Wednesday on the Business page.