As temperatures rise, gardeners quickly scurry outside.
"We all have cabin fever," said Judy Sanderlin, the owner of Sanderlin's Greenhouses on Scotts Ferry Road in Appling.
Though gardeners longed for the sun during short winter days, a bout of very unseasonably warm weather into the mid-60s in January and early February was worrisome. The threat of a late winter freeze to kill all of the early sprouting plants never materialized, though, giving gardeners a head start in the garden.
"Everyone seemed to have come out really well with their early plantings," Sanderlin said. A steady stream of plant shoppers peruse her greenhouses full of bedding plants and ferns each day. "It was summer, then back to a little winter, then back to spring. It's been a roller coaster (winter)."
But as temperatures rose to the upper 80s during the first week of May, more normal temperatures and rain levels are in store for the next few months, says Jim Kilmer, a hydrometeorological technician for the National Weather Service in West Columbia, S.C.
Jenny Addie, the nursery manager at Green Thumb West on Davis Road in Martinez, said that despite the early start, plants are blooming on time.
"Everything is looking absolutely perfect," Addie said.
By the start of this month, Kilmer said the Augusta area had received 12.04 inches of rain since Jan. 1 - more than 4 inches below the 16.24 average for the first four months of the year, according to a weather station at Bush Field Regional Airport.
"The whole southeast is drier than normal," Kilmer said.
Sanderlin said the biggest rush of gardeners at her greenhouses was at the beginning of March and the first of April to get plants in the ground before Masters Week.
"We had the big Masters rush, now we've got the veggie gardeners in full force," Addie said. Nighttime and soil temperatures are warm enough to plant warm season vegetables including okra, eggplant, corn and field peas.
The warm temperatures not only bring out gardeners. Many enjoy doing activities outside such as washing their car.
Tommy Beaver, the manager of Top Notch Car Wash on North Belair Road, said that winter is actually the busiest time for his business.
"In the summer, we do real good, but people like to wash their own cars and get wet in the heat and all that," Beaver said.
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