Signs of spring are all over the blogosphere and even better, all over our trees, yard and garden. Seems we are all ready to ditch the hats and gloves and get back outside to turn our faces into the sun. For Kel and me, that means getting back into our various gardens. Kel has been at it for a while now, starting cold-hardy plants and clearing out the asparagus bed, but after last year’s brutally dry and hot summer, my taste for working in my perennial beds had dried up like the cracked soil in the pastures. But the warmth of the day yesterday lured me outside to see what had survived. It was time to clean out the dried and cut back the dead. I was in for many nice surprises.
While I’d ignored them, many plants had returned to life – proving once again the strong will to live in every living thing. No real surprise that the mint, ever the opportunist, had already spread its bright lushness beyond its boundaries into the daisies (just poking through the moist soil) and aster (showing no signs of live). The creeping phlox had indeed crept – as I have encouraged it to – and there are tiny spots of green on the Russian Sage, in the various ornamental grasses, and the purple and yellow coneflowers. Thick buds are rising in the irises and the catmint is a beautiful little mound of fresh green. The two small ornamental trees I’d planted last year – a sweet almond (covered in soft pink flowers right now) and the cherry with its fledgling red leaves survived despite the odds being stacked heavily against them. The hollyhock is back as are the red hot pokers, hardy hibiscus, lavender and daylillies. As I worked, pulling weeds and clipping back dead foliage, the frogs that emerge with the first hints of warmth were in full throat – some sounding like hundreds of beginner violinists clumsily scratching bows across strings, others like the tick-tick-tick of a roulette wheel – all of them looking for love. Ike rolled in the tall, cool grass and maybe even envied my digging in the dirt (one of his favorite past times).
It is appropriate that the phrase is hope springs eternal, for each spring, every new growing season renews our hopes that we will have successful crops and that flowers will bloom big and gloriously and fragrantly. Each spring is an opportunity to learn more, to apply the lessons learned from past mistakes and to dream and plan about next year’s garden.
(Do you recognize the words from the title of this post? It comes from a beautiful and one of my favorite songs by Van Morrison: In the Garden, on the disc, No Guru, No Method, No Teacher.)