Spring in Maryland – Cherry Blossoms and Forsythia

Posted on March 27, 2008


The Japanese Cherry Blossoms will be in their glory this weekend, and so will the Maryland forsythia. The pink Cherry Blossoms hold forth around the Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park in D.C. If you go to see them, I recommend Metro. The Cherry Blossom traffic will be terrific.

You don’t have to go anywhere to enjoy forsythia. Bright yellow will be impossible to miss anywhere in the Maryland suburbs south of Howard County. North of Howard, the forsythia may be only a day or three behind.

The past week has been a struggle for the forsythia and for flowering trees in the suburbs. Since I saw the first blooms on the crab-apple trees and forsythia last Friday, March 21, it has been mostly one cold day after another. Not freezing winter cold, but seasonable early-spring cold. Temperatures in the 35 to 55 range, with wind making it feel colder. The flowering trees and forsythia made painfully slow progress. The limbs of other trees remain bare, not even a hint of green.

Wednesday was the first spring day that felt like baseball weather. The temperature hit 70. It was the kind of day that made you want to run home from school and grab your baseball glove for the first time since last fall. It was enough to encourage the Cherry Blossoms and forsythia to go for broke this weekend. Let us hope that Saturday and Sunday are more “partly sunny” than “partly cloudy.” Bright sunshine favors the flowers best.

See, we have four seasons in Maryland. Don’t let anyone tell you that we go straight from freezing winter to heatwave summer. Some years the spring is brief. And the first hot day requiring air conditioning always seems to catch us off guard because we’re not acclimated yet. But the changing of the seasons is a gradual thing.

We haven’t seen a snowflake since the first day of spring on May 20. The cold may seem wintry in March, but the truth is, it’s early spring. Usually the season chills us right through the Cherry Blossom Festival and the first weeks of baseball season.

It may still be winter, north of the Mason-Dixon Line, for all I know, and I heard this week that it already feels summery in South Carolina. But in Maryland, we really do have seasons.

Winter is relatively short, although it doesn’t seem that way in January and February. Summer is a long, drawn-out affair. All together now: “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” No argument, it can be humid in the Baltimore-Washington, Chesapeake Bay region.

In between the freezing rain of winter and the dog days of summer, we have a colorful leafy fall and a fickle flowering spring. I wish we could slow down and enjoy every day. –– Bernie Hayden

Posted in: Maryland, Nature