LIANE HANSEN, host:
The mantra sung by Gloria Gaynor is one that is running through many of our heads at this time of year. We know spring is coming, but Old Man Winter is not finished with us, yet. The northern plains and upper Midwest are getting hit hard with heavy snow and ice again. Stormy weather continues out West, and wicked winds with gusts measured as high as 60 miles per hours were battering the northeast this weekend.
In Washington, D. C., today's forecast calls for a partly cloudy day in the low 50s - and there are small harbingers of spring here. I saw landscapers with pallets of pansies ready to be planted in front of a posh hotel. Some of the trees now sport a slight smudge of new growth on their branches. The winter jasmine is in bloom - reasons to keep the hopes of warmer, more pleasant weather alive.
Gardeners know all too well the doldrums of late winter. They read seed catalogues and sketch out plots for new plants. And when pictures of flowers and vegetables aren't enough to chase the blues away, they are saved by home and garden shows.
Although the major ones don't open until next month, there are several underway across the country this weekend. There's the 42nd Annual Home and Garden Show in Wheeling, West Virginia. Visitors to the New Jersey Flower and Garden Show in Edison can wander through Gardens on Broadway - inspired by theatrical productions. There's also a Shrek rain garden for the kids. A seminar called The Buffet Is Closed offers information on deer resistant plants. In East Montgomery, Alabama, container gardening is the hot topic at the annual home and garden show there.
But the best bet for lifting your mood may be the Garish Garden Show in Peoria, Illinois - a show of gardening don'ts. It features several dozen gnomes, including one wearing University of Illinois attire. But the piece de resistance undoubtedly is the display of 26 pink plastic flamingos.
I feel better already. So what if the ground is not completely thawed? So what if I still need gloves and a hat to go outside? So what if the sun sets at dinnertime? Spring will come. It's a fact.
Of course, as soon as I say that, another winter blow is bound to strike before the equinox, but, it's OK. I will survive.
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HANSEN: This is NPR News.
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