I hope I never stop being washed over with wonder as spring comes into its own. I imagine I will be learning about it for the rest of my life. Here’s what I’ve learned this year: that no two springs are alike. This spring, there is an abundance of a vine that climbs on trees in this area and has quantities of bright yellow blooms; I don’t remember seeing it last year. This spring as well, I held my breath, waiting to see if what I had planted last year, tended to, tried to be patient about, thought about when I’d walk out to feed the chickens and see the flower beds looking so bare and lifeless, would actually bloom. Little by little, I am getting the answers.
So far, just about everything has started to bloom—foxglove spikes are full of buds that are opening. It isn’t just one hyacinth in bloom now—more have bloomed: purple and white and pink, and deeper pink. Daffodil varieties that looked especially beautiful in the Dutch catalog I got last fall and landed in my “shopping cart” turn out to be surprises—some of them tiny, some of them exotic. One single tulip is flowering among the clover we planted last fall as ground cover. I am sort-of in awe of the two varieties of flowering quince. They are beautiful.
I am also surprised by the sense of responsibility that keeps growing inside me. This afternoon, I had to do something that made me sad. I had planted some of my bulbs around a pear tree on the side of the house in the front yard. Tomorrow, the builders will start on my dad’s small cottage and the pear tree is almost exactly in the middle of the construction site. Bulbs that had pushed through, that had flowers about to bloom, would be destroyed if I left them there. So I had to dig them up. There too, there was a small and intriguing lesson to learn—although I planted the bulbs with the root side down, now, I found them lying almost sideways in the ground, the leaves extending out in the ground about an inch before curving up into the sunlight. I found new places for all of them, apologized, and now must wait to see if they are resilient enough, and I smart enough in my replanting, for them to live to flower in another year.
When I was growing up, it was my mom who had the green thumb. And when we got married, it was Sherod who did most of the gardening. In Memphis, I had 3 rose bushes I planted and watched over, but when we got to Southeast Florida, I didn’t even do that. Sherod and I had a good conversation recently about how I watched my mom always have someone help with the harder work—the digging, the heavy lifting, the weeding.
As much as I love each and every one of these little flowers that are now gracing my garden, what I love the most is the effort it takes, especially the harder physical labor. You work, and in 75 degree weather you sweat and my palms are getting callused; now my muscles don’t ache at the end of the day like they did a couple of weeks back when I got started. My hands though—they do. The next project, when time permits, is to paint the new gate into our vegetable and wildflower garden. We’ve had to close that space in because Mo the Molicious, our young new dog member of the family, loves nothing more than to roll in the clover, in the turnip patch, in the cabbages and the broccoli, and the carrots. Sherod has installed a rather handsome gate and it will be my job to paint it. Recommendations for a really good, bodacious color are welcomed. Include the brand and any other specifics!
I don’t have nearly as much time as I need for all the gardening I’d like to do—and that too is different since last year, when my work was only part-time—but the bits of time I am given, like this afternoon leave me not just tired, but deeply happy.