Field of Science

March Madness, Cabin Fever, or GDD?

You hear a lot about March madness around this time of year, thus the March part, and apparently the maddness deals with that particular pre-spring mental disorder that finds a sport where tall men in baggy drawers bounce a rubber ball back and forth interesting. There are no sticks and no hitting, so one wonders how it can even be called a sport, but perhaps it’s just the boredom of a long winter setting in where anything more dynamic than melting icicles seems interesting. Maybe this is related to that old malady called cabin fever, that feeling that you’ve been cooped up and hibernating for too long, and like a big ursid short on caffeine you tend to wake up grouchy and feeling like you’d like to take a big clawed paw and knock something silly because you’ve been putting up with it (fill in the blank) all winter.
But for many of us it’s not March madness or cabin fever, but a seasonal occurrence of GDD, gardening deficit disorder, that sense of urgency that begins to invade your psyche, aided and abetted by mail order plant catalogues, a sense that time is a wasting and if you don’t get outside and scratch in some soil soon you’ll go crazy and if you don’t get the garden going you won’t have any salad greens until May, an unacceptable lateness, and this can be especially bad if you happen to cohabit with someone who’s afflicted with March madness, thereby adding insult to injury.
The hints of spring are everywhere even though winter’s grip on the landscape has been tenacious this year. Snow still covers the majority of the estate, but the witch-hazel has begun flowering although most people would walk by the tawny orange-brown flowers without noticing. And under the snow the thousands and thousands of scillas that form a blue blanket across the lawn are poking up their shoots and blue buds that only await a couple of days above freezing to open.

When you go out scouting for these earliest signs of botanical activity, and you cannot walk past a display of seed packets without a gander, you surely have all the signs of GDD. Unfortunately this still calls for a bit of patience, or a heated cold frame, before you can begin gardening in earnest. So until then you simply must endure wating for the last dregs of winter to slowly wane with little to ease your longing, unless maybe you plant the TV remote deep in a potted plant. Or is this just the grouchiness of GDD talking? At least the professional winter sports have the decency to so greatly prolong their seasons that you simply do not care anymore one way or the other, and like a naggingly painful toothache or headache, you just want it to be over. Yes, that’s the GDD talking.

3 comments:

Christine said...

OK, this is a bit unrelated, but I have been interested in studying botany at the college level. I already have a degree in English, but, I haven't been able to find many job opportunities. I am currently working as an English teacher in South Korea which is OK, yet sometimes this place gets to me.
The thing is that I'll be celebrating my 30th birthday this weekend. Well, I believe I can do it. I just wonder how long I should stay in this country.
Lovely photos, BTW.

The Phytophactor said...

Ah, Christine, you have discovered a fundamental truth: everyone wants to be a botanist, it just takes some people longer to figure this out than others. You're still on the sunny side of 30 so you can do anything you want to. But all journeys start with the first step, so explore the possibility of getting a 2nd bachelor's degree where you can use the general education part of your first degree and basically just get a second major. At his very moment two 30ish women are taking my plant taxonomy course; both reeducating themselves because they came late to the botanical calling. But please use the Phactor's gmail account for more off-topic chatter or serious career queries.

egp said...
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