I appear to be caught in a “joys of spring” time loop these days. While some may speak of spring ‘fever’, I figure I’m participating in a pandemic.
The thing is, late May and early June just seem to inspire an urge to plant, to coax small green flowers and shrubs into blooming and growing.
Now under normal circumstances I can’t keep a vase of artificial flowers from dropping dead. Yet I still let myself get caught up in some sort of fevered drive to jump into gardening, just because it’s spring.
This year has been no exception.
Of course, my initial gardening issue was a bit of a challenge. Most of the grass in my back yard seemed to be quite dead. In fact there were huge swathes of grey/black ground where not a blade was to be seen, not even a dandelion. About the only things thriving behind my house were a couple of giant anthills.
Astronauts found more vegetation on the moon.
Confronted with this grass hurdle, I promptly got out my spades and hoses, my rakes and lawn gloves, my edgers and aerators – and hired someone else to do the work.
First small measure of success.
A few timid shoots of grass lately appear to be poking through the crusty earth in my backyard. I anticipate a great looking lawn by early November.
Next I moved on to the challenge of flowers for the beds in the front of the house, where people will actually see them.
Honestly, I planted some flowers (or shrubs?) last year that the store tags swore were perennials – which I thought means they have to come back every year.
Some of them did not get the message.
Granted there are one or two spiky things, currently a sort of Pepto Bismol pink, poking out of the ground by the porch, that may be returning flowers. I don’t recognize any of these plants, not that that is a surprise.
Frankly, I would like to believe that some of the perennials I laboriously planted last June have suffered pangs of conscience and are feeling morally driven to fulfill their obligations and grow back this year.
On the other hand, I suppose the entire lot of them could just be weeds with social pretensions. We’ll see.
I also did a little pre-planning this year.
My intention was to approach area garden centres bearing a carefully researched list of plants and flowers. This list would translate into front flower beds that would be the envy of the street.
To succeed, I checked out several books with titles like The Tranquil Garden, Creating Eden, Grounds Beautiful.
My goal was to recreate the stunning photos I pored over in those books.
That plan came to a grinding halt, however, when I flipped to the back pages where the authors suggested the price lists for these botanical works of art.
Currently I no longer know just what will be springing up in my front flower beds.
Two for one brown paper bags full of mystery bulbs can be a definite bargain.
And who doesn’t enjoy a few surprises in the garden?
Besides, front flower beds aside, I was already on to bigger projects.
I was going to plant a Japanese Maple tree.
And what do I know about Japanese Maples?
They are trees and they are red. Good enough.
I found the perfect Japanese Maple in our local CT: I loaded it on to a large cart and wheeled it out to the side of my car.
It was only then that a slight logistical problem presented itself.
My car is small.
The Japanese Maple was not.
Hmmm, I thought. Then aha, I thought.
I will crank the front seat back as far as it will go, and wedge that tree into the passenger side of my car. It should fit.
And it did, sort of.
With much shoving, and squishing, and spreading of branches and leaves and language that would not have been out of place in a biker bar, I managed to get an entire tree into the front seat of my car.
What I did not know was that a fellow shopper, a lady in levis, arms crossed, ankles crossed, had been watching this entire 20 minute performance while leaning casually against the trunk of her car parked across from me.
When I finally emerged, sweating, from the struggle and came around to the driver’s side, at last prepared to drive away, with most of my windshield and side windows covered in bright red willowy leaves and branches, she finally spoke.
“When the cops stop you,” she drawled, “just tell them it’s weed.”