If ever there were a sign that my life is brimming over with things to do, it would be that it was only this weekend that I got to the business of setting out flowers around my house.
Somewhere along the way our landscape became an escape for me–a hobby that always began with pleasure, especially on cooler, spring days. Nothing better than meandering around a garden section, eyeing the myriad varietals, choosing hearty specimens from a sea of containers, picturing in my mind what went in the front yard and what went on the deck, remembering the bursts of sun that each spot received, imagining the needs of every location.
Our current house, which we bought the fall before Thomas was born, has plenty of shade. We’ve opened up the canopy just a little in the time we’ve been here, but my rule of thumb is that shade plants go in the back, flowers go in the front. Everything needs a good dose of water a few times a week.
The degree of simplicity in the paragraph above should warn you I’m no bonafide horticulturist. I earnestly submit whatever intuition I can around plants and how to keep them, but I still lose my fair share of stuff I plug into the ground or into the planters. I have taken loppers and pruning shears to many a plant, and many a plant has suffered as a result. And occasionally, some of the plants have endured and a few have even thrived.
In my mind, Memorial Day Weekend marks a point in time when spring rolls into summer. The lawn is lush, but it might not be much longer, as April’s showers taper off and we enter luck’s realm of pop-up thunderstorms, and the tree roots drink shallow. And normally by now, I’ve sat by the mailbox and dug out the weeds, filling the mulched area with something thirsty for sunshine. Usually petunias. I’ve hauled the planters around from the back to the front, plucking out whatever acorns have hatched into two-leafed saplings, chasing away the earwigs and tossing back the earthworms, using a trowel to turn the soil over and over and over before hollowing out spaces for whatever creations I’ve brought home.
Normally by now. An odd way of saying that it wasn’t until this weekend that I began to get any of this done. Earlier this week, I blew off debris from the valleys on the roof–something normally completed in March. This year, I am just running late.
And it’s okay. There haven’t been any fines from life’s neighborhood association. My family hasn’t seemed to mind a deck that lacked plants.
So Saturday, Thomas and I took the van to the store to buy a few things to set out. (We also bought a new grill, but that’s another story.) And I came home and spent the afternoon in the yard, trimming up the ferns that we’d kept through the winter, hanging up the new baskets on the deck rail, putting our newest additions into the dirt. The kids played outside with me.
I love every second of these beginnings. In time, the heat will grow too hot, and things will die or overgrow, or aphids will descend upon us, or spiders will hide. Or things will last into the fall, only to be covered up with leaves and nipped by an early frost. It will never be as neat and tidy as it is right now.
Meanwhile, it’s turned legitimately hot already, and the grass is threatening to fadeth away, so I spent some time in the basement with the sprinklers, taking them apart, oiling them up, clearing out any debris clogging their narrow passages. There’s more work to do.