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FROM READERS: A very rare March sighting

Monday, April 2, 2012 | 5:46 p.m. CDT

John Hall frequently photographs his mid-Missouri surroundings, and he has been sharing his images with the Missourian for several years.

Check back with me this time next year and ask me to make the same rounds I did shortly after sunrise today. Also, petition me to show you photos of blooming irises. I can almost assure you that I will have to tell you those things haven't sprouted shoots let alone buds and blooms. Now, on the downhill side of the biblical "Three score and 10" I can tell you I've never seen irises bloom in the Midwest in the month of March. It may have happened but my eyes have NEVER beheld such an occurrence. In checking my photo files the earliest photo I have of irises were taken on May 4, and that was in 2002. Most of the iris photos I've taken started around the middle of May. The good news is that the best looking irises have yet to bloom, and they appear to be ready to produce the greatest spectacle my back yard has ever witnessed. Ah, can't you feel the tension building? Ha!

Even though these irises aren't all that magnificent, I do give them credit for their "coming out party."

On the way to say "Good Morning" to the irises I passed under the cherry tree and spotted a foreign object on the bloom set. That is a seed from the pod of the sycamore. Each pod puts out thousands of seeds and they go any where the breeze with take them. Then, you spend the next nine months trying to spade the seedlings out of the flower beds.

Iris to a Midwesterner is like an orchid to a Hawaiian. Personally, I think irises have it over the orchid. They are easier to raise, and they don't stink as much as their counterparts from paradise.

With the crazy weather the Christmas cactus decided it was time to do its thing as well. It came out today, just nine months earlier or three months late depending upon your interpretation.

There are three types of cherry trees around the yard, and one seems to be the favorite of the honey bee population. The Magnolia Soulangeana has finished blooming for 2012 and is starting the process of putting on new growth that will appear in the blooming stage of next season. The goal was to take a photo or two of the budding lilac bush, but the wind kept wanting to blur the photo. So what you see is proposed good photo. On this one you'll have to use your imagination. A large maple was planted last spring and is a "hopeful leaf." The leaf size on these things aren't supposed to appear until early May. The old farmers adage was that you didn't plant corn until the maple's leaf got to be the size of a squirrels ear. What an upside down year this is. In fact, it is so weird that my son dared me to take one of my hundred or so tomato plants and sacrifice it to experimentation. So, this morning I planted one Bongo Cellano heirloom tomato in one of my two patches. Regardless as to how the rest of the spring goes I will not stand in the way of whatever nature has in store for it. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion to that story.

Well, that about does it. The chickadees and the cardinals were out in the early morning dampness surveying material for nesting and having a bite or two of food. They promised to return when I got rid of the hand-held camera and bring out the "big lens." I'll do that when the humidity isn't 100 percent.

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