Some years Northern Virginia, including Reston, goes direct from spring to summer, and then there is 2011. Reston has seen some temperatures in the eighties followed by lows in thirties, and then there have been some days when the temperature did not get above fifty degrees Fahrenheit.
It has been a spring with even more changeable weather than normal. While April 16 will likely be another day when Reston is stuck in the fifties and gets very wet, it looks like the week of April 18 will be more reasonable with temperatures in the upper sixties heading to the mid seventies for at least a day. More importantly the lows will be in the mid-fifties which will help greatly with the progress of spring plants.
While I have spent my share of springs in Northern Virginia, I prefer spring a litter farther south. This year I have been able to watch spring unfold across Southwest Virginia, Central North Carolina, and NC's Crystal Coast. It has been an especially nice spring in North Carolina.
We saw the peak of spring in the Charlotte area on April 6 and in the last nine days we have watched spring roll across the coastal plains. The weather on the coast has been close to unbelievable. Our heat pumps haven't run for the last ten or eleven days. I have had fun playing what I call the heat pump game. Our dogwoods have been in full bloom for a week, and now the azaleas are hitting their peak as the wisteria starts to fade.
We have had more than a few days in the eighties. Fortunately some fog has shown up just when we needed cooling down. The fog just proved my point that Carolina fog is more useful than Canadian fog. I have managed to get out on the water in our skiff and to do a couple of early kayaking trips. We have had some especially beautiful spring mornings.
Beside spring plants, construction towers often sprout in the Reston area in April This year is no exception, and I was pleased to learn that the building of the Wiehle Ave. Metro Station has gotten started. I am looking forward to being able to take the Metro on my Reston visits. I might actually go into Washington more often if there is a reliable way around all the traffic.
Of course in early spring, visiting Reston or DC is way down on my list. I always want to make certain that the cold has been vanquished so I stay south usually until the summer heat appears.
First on the list in our coastal paradise is going fishing, and I have already managed a first fishing trip onto the White Oak River which is in my backyard. Next on my list would be exploring the local beaches to see what the winter storms have wrought. I have already done a couple surveys of the Point at Emerald Isle. The fishing structure looks great near the shore. Then I have to get the crop of tomatoes in the ground so I can start planning for that first tomato sandwich of the year the first week in June. This year's tomatoes are in great shape already, and the first blooms opened on April 15. I hope that doesn't mean the tax man gets a cut of my tomatoes.
After all the fishing, beach surveying, and tomatoes are on track, it is time to start taking care of our yard which is covered with an unusal grass called centipede. It turns reddish brown in the winter and this year, the early greening of the yard was stopped by a late March frost.
Of course the frost only slowed it down. I took advantage of that to pull lots of wild onions. Earlier this week I sprayed the yard for the weeds that I didn't catch with my pre-emergent weed killer. On April 16, I will mow the yard for the first time this year. Centipede grass doesn't get fertizlized until June. It actually doesn't grow very much in early spring which is fine with most of us here on the coast. Being used to the bluegrass yards in Southwest Virginia means that I am accustomed to mowing twice a week in the spring starting in late March. Mowing once every two weeks like centipede yards require until late June is just fine with me.
While we are a few weeks ahead of Reston here on the coast, it won't take the Reston area long to catch up to our part of the Southern Outer Banks. Spring is a great time of year everywhere. If the slow progress in North Virginia starts to depress you, just remember my friends in Canada sent me some pictures of their maple sugaring operation. The pictures were taken on April 10, and there was still over three feet of snow in the woods.
With luck, we will all survive the weekend of strong storms scheduled to start on April 16. Here on the coast, we can soon start thinking about summer while spring is hitting its stride in Northern Virginia.