TENDING MY YARD-GARDEN PARTY
I hold ambivalent feelings toward the coming of Spring.
I love the greening of Mother Earth__ of watching the buds pop out in the trees, gradually opening to display a soft yellowish green aura before filling out to full size leaves. It is a delicate, gentle, murmuring about greater things to come. A whisper in the wind, promising re-wakened, re-born Life.
But this gentle new-coming spirit is not a totally welcome guest in my home, for I am loathe to leave my secluded study and my writing to go out and do the work of cleaning up the yard-garden.
Yes, my whole front yard is a flower garden… a patchwork of miscellaneous wild flowers and perennials with scattered annuals and a LOT of weeds! But even some weeds are pretty if they don’t overcrowd the cultivated plants.
Of course, weeding becomes a perpetual summer headache if I want to keep the yard looking half civilized. Some years I didn’t care and it turned into a virtual jungle… pretty in its own rough way. One can always appreciate beauty in nature whether carefully arranged or haphazardly arrived.
In the fall I cut back the overgrowth with the help of a good friend, but we leave the leaves to lie where they fall for the winter. They provide a sort of blanket over sleeping seeds of plants and flowers so that they will survive to return in spring.
So now, with the coming of spring, that blanket must be removed. It is not a hard job. It is, in fact, a rather enjoyable kind of work… raking gently, pulling off the cover and discovering small surprises beneath.
Many tiny green buds and a few early flowers peek up from the cleared areas… crocus, dogwood, violas, periwinkle vine, creeping phlox… and my very favorite: early wild columbine in bell-shaped orange-red and yellow blossoms atop slender stalks with frilly green leaves.
In my wooded back yard spreads a whole meadow of un-named groundcover… a wonderful indestructible self-resurrecting plant that covers a field of weedy sins. That blessed area needs very little attention but the occasional clearing of fallen tree branches. The dry leaves there provide an ever-lasting much.
There, also, a mass of lance-shaped leaves spikes up beneath a stand of trees to prepare for their beautiful blooms of field lilies… showy orange and yellow gowned ladies who, when once planted, return annually to give the early spring a warm kiss of welcome. Another such group of street-sisters bob and curtsy at the end of my driveway in a patch of weeds. The common day-lily is a bit of a harlot… she will grow wherever she lands, but she doesn’t tarry long and fades away as soon as the more elegant ladies come on the scene…
Summer’s party heralds grand Iris in purples and pinks and whites… sweet yellow foxglove; cheery white and yellow daisies; gentle pink and blue creeping phlox; sassy bluebells and shy daffodils. There are some exotic tiger lilies who arrive later summer and stay into fall, nodding their showy speckled brown on orange spidery blooms on tall stalks.
These are all shade-preferring gentility, for my yard is thickly overhung by tall cottonwood, oak, and pine trees. No flashy sun-worshiping beauties can survive long here, although a few tulips manage to appear before the trees fill out, and I had one bewitched bright orange poppy that returned to the same spot alone for many years until she gave up on waiting for some companions to appear.
The fancy hybrid day lilies arrive one or two at a time and leave after about a day, wearing unusual shades of pink, orange, yellow, purple, and blue… they parade through my yard bringing a moment’s astonishment at their graceful beauty. One needs to keep a close watch, for their appearance is fleeting, yet memorable. I rush out and take pictures of them as soon as they appear. The pictures don’t die.
Soon I will select some starter plants for annuals from the garden store. My favorite annuals are the small begonia in dark reds, pinks, and whites that bloom right through the first freeze. Also snapdragons and petunias which are hardy and easy to place in planters or bare spots in the yard, and of course the reliable and cheerful marigolds cast their sunny glow into dark corners.
I plant the annuals in large containers on my deck, and at the side of my house where I set up the Fairy Garden. I look forward to the delight of bringing out all my little fairies, gnomes, and critters for another summer. They can always arouse a special giggle and happy dance even on a gloomy day.
I look forward hopefully to see two of my all-time favorites come back: purple coneflowers and brown-eyed-susans. These happy beauties used to grow in wild profusion at each end of my yard for many summers but, sadly, they were killed off by two early, cold, dry, long winters and have only begun to return in fragile singles and small clumps. I have scattered seed from previous seasons and it may take a while before they germinate and bring up blooms. Gardens require great patience.
I become very attached to my favorites… just as I do with my cats, my dolls, my books… yeah. I just don’t like to see things end, go away, die__ and that may be the real source of my ambivalence toward the yard and garden. After all the work to bring it forth, it lasts only such a short time before it dies away and needs to be cleaned up again!
Today it is raining and I feel free to sit in my study and write to my heart’s content, knowing that much of the yard-work… the clearing away of winter’s debris and detritus has been done. Now I only have to watch for who, of my wildflower and perennial friends, will make their appearance at my garden party this summer.
And so it ever goes… seasons turning, the dance of life and death__ we all take part in the circle dance with our own uniquely blooming lives.
As above, so below. Blessed be.