March comes in like a lion

Photo by Ansie Potgieter

It was just last year when Calgarians – and all Albertans – first heard of Covid-19. The pandemic’s anniversary dates from March 4 last year, when Alberta’s Dr. Hinshaw announced the first presumptive case of an Alberta resident stricken with Covid. On March 9, the Doctor announced the fifth, sixth, and seventh cases. Now we’re all a year into this pandemic (boy, that sounds awful — I figured it would all blow over by September) but another way to look at it is we’re also a year closer to the end of this global pandemic — and that’s definitely something we each can celebrate!  

What else is there to celebrate in March?

Weather  We know it’s the birthright of all Canadians to talk about the weather.  Although March’s weather isn’t always perfect, it’s not July yet. In March, it’s common to have rain mixed with the snow. In February, the average high temperature is – 1C, and the average low is -11C.  In March, we can look forward to average highs of + 4C and average lows around – 7*C.  But the weather is more than just temperature.

As I write this, Calgary is getting 9 hours and 50 minutes of daylight. On the first day of Spring — which will happen in March – we’ll get 12 hours of sunshine. Those extra hours each day gives the soil a chance to warm up. Warmer soil means melting snow, which means…

Gardening  I love gardening.  Rooting in the dirt is fun! In March, you can finally see the earth appearing after months of being covered with snow. But even if You can’t see snow — just black earth, when you venture into the garden, remember to wear gumboots and warm socks. March can be a bit early to work up the soil, but if Calgary gets a dry spell, you may get a chance to get started. 

I’m not sure if you’ve seen them, but I’ve already noticed garden seeds in the stores — they arrived in late January. I grew up in Vancouver. My cousins and siblings post pictures on Facebook in February of perennials flowering in their home gardens already. It’ll be months until we see seedlings here.

But — if you have a green thumb, you can buy and plant seeds and grow your own bedding plants. I’ve tried this a few times, but have never had much luck – maybe it’s because I never invested in hydroponics or grow lights.  I once bought a bargain-priced multi-shelf cabinet to give the seedlings sunshine.  I had high hopes of nursing bedding plants. As I sometimes forget, this is Calgary, where there’s usually a wind, so after I set up my plant cabinet, I spent most of my time picking it up, reattaching the shelves and trying to re-pot the seedlings. 

If you’re going to start plants, I wish you better luck. In March, we can expect the days to be longer, and the sun to be even warmer than it is in winter, but it’s not yet time for campfires and singalongs.

But March is also the month when you start to see Caterpillars and Butterflies – Ladybugs, too. I enjoy seeing the signs of life shaking off winter, and green returning to the grass. Those of us who are lucky may glimpse the shoots of perennials emerging from the soil. Best of all, there are no swarms of mosquitoes — yet.

March is special for yet another reason; it’s been named Women’s History Month. Maybe it’s time to do some reading or watch a movie featuring your favorite story of women contributing to our world.  Here are some more March days we can all look forward to:

March 2               Dr. Seuss’s Birthday (also “Read Across America Day”)

Maybe dig out an old Dr. Seuss book and enjoy the rhymes. 

March 15             Ides of March

Not a great day for Julius Caesar, but a reminder to read about him. 

March 17             St. Patrick’s Day

We don’t colour our river Green (like Chicago does), but join me in raising a toast to the patron saint of Ireland! A pint of Guinness, anyone?

March 20             First day of Spring

Celebrate with a summery drink and imagine you’re sitting on a patio. But because we are in Alberta, don’t go outside in your flip-flops yet!

Enjoy your month and remember the old adage:  

“March comes in like a lion, but goes out like a lamb.”