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This spring has been crazy weird. March broke all sorts of records for high highs and high lows. At a time of year when we have been shoveling snow in the past, the gardening columns have headlines reading, “Don’t plant your tomatoes yet.” Garden centers are scrambling to stock the shelves for all their eager (over-eager?) customers. I know this because I went to one to buy a birthday gift for my daughter-in-law and they had to use a huge fork lift to get what I wanted out of the overhead bin.

Historically, the only safe flowering annuals to buy at this time of the year are pansies. Occasionally pansies perform as perennials here and they seem to survive a bit of frost. The hostas are up about 3 to 4″ and the day lilies are almost 12″ tall. Lots of trees have moved from that light green blush of spring to leaves unfurling. I can only hope that they know more than the meteorologists.

The apple growers are worried that frost will kill their crops.

Bill Jacobson hired a helicopter to churn the night air over his family’s Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake, an experimental effort his father tried back in the 1960s — “the last time we needed it,” Jacobson said.

The chopper cost more than $600 per hour, “but it doesn’t take too many bins of Honeycrisp [apples] to pay for that,” Jacobson said. “It’s scary, but what are you going to do? The helicopter makes you think you’re doing something.”

The lilacs are blooming. And the weather channel had snow in the forecast for today until yesterday. Lilacs in mid April? I used to consider myself lucky if I could pick a bouquet for Mother’s Day. Lilacs and snow? It just isn’t computing for me.

The good news is that yesterday’s tornado watch didn’t result in anything like what happened in tornado alley on Friday and Saturday. We had some thunder and some nice rain, but nothing severe. We needed the rain. We enjoyed the early end to winter. I’ve heard folks say that this isn’t spring and it surely isn’t winter. The new name for the season is sprinter. Let’s just hope that all the plants and trees survive whatever this new season is called.

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