May 01, 2006

Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Outdoor Division

Somebody Googled in here on columbine plants are dying how do I save them, surely a familiar question to many flower gardeners.

I was just musing about things this weekend as I worked out in the garden, staking irises and yanking the first of the weeds. While there are as yet relatively few blooms, everything is fresh, young and vigorous. Nothing has yet been attacked by disease, by slugs, by Japanese beetles, by drought, by rabbits or by deer. Nothing has become stringy or overgrown. Nothing has seeded itself into a decline. Nothing has been swamped by morning glory or any other of a dozen pernicious varieties of weed. It is a pleasure just to stroll around and watch my little family of plants coming back into their own.

I always think of this as the Golden Age of the gardening year, the time in which all of the garden's potential for beauty and greatness remains intact. And each year, I vow to preserve this potential as long as I can, to perhaps even see it come to its fruition. However, at the back of my mind I know perfectly well that this is an empty promise, that at some point there will be a Fall (in the Biblical sense), that the forces of darkness currently held at bay will break in. I know perfectly well that however determined I am to keep up with pruning, feeding, weeding and so on, sooner or later some outside factor will intervene. It may be that I have to be away one or more weekends, it may be an unusual spate of bad weather. Whatever the reason, I know that eventually I will lose control of things and that by some point in the summer I will have to resign myself to the fact that I am no longer striving for victory, but rather am simply trying to keep defeat to a minimum. It is at that point that I also will start looking forward to the first hard frost with its promise of wiping the slate clean so that I can start fresh the following year.

But not yet. I'm still enjoying Paradise. Hope springs eternal even in the garden.

UPDATE: And speaking of hope springing eternal, I actually got the Llama-ettes to make themselves useful in the yard this weekend, weeding the patio for me and giving their play house a good spring cleaning. When I was about nine, we built a new house on a couple acres of scrub brush and poor, stony soil. Every weekend throughout my adolescence, Dad would have my brother and me out in the yard slaving away - moving enormous piles of rocks, weeding, clearing brush, stacking firewood, prepping garden beds and the like. I hated every minute of it. But even then I was looking forward to taking advantage of the ready supply of labor that my own children would some day provide. Of course, where we live now isn't anything remotely like the wilderness of my own youth, but there are still many, many things to do in the yard and the gels are just getting to the point where they are becoming more of a help than a hindrance.

Posted by Robert at May 1, 2006 11:15 AM | TrackBack