The South's native tiny purple violets have flowers about the size of the big end of a chopstick. They are the most conservative indicator of spring, never blooming until all danger of severe cold weather is past. Their flowers began covering my yard in the first week of February. This is ridiculous. It hasn't even gotten cold enough to knock the leaves off the bushes, which has played havoc with my pruning schedule.
More worrisome to Southerners is that it also hasn't gotten cold enough to kill most of the insect larva. Popular opinion is that we're going to be eaten alive next summer.
The other surefire indicator of changing weather has also surfaced. For some reason a warming trend tears my stomach up. This put a dent in my exercise schedule for a few days, but I'm trying to soldier on. More about that later.