March 9, 2013
Yesterday, we had sunshine and a temperature of fifty-eight, but the south wind – up around twenty-five mph – made it a chilly fifty-eight if you were out in it for very long. I wasn’t. That’s a little too windy for me to get much done, with my bad balance. We’re expecting rain, though not very much, tonight and tomorrow. Next week promises to be better. Several consecutive days of sunshine and temperatures in the mid to high sixties bode well for giving the garden a thorough check and picking up the growing amount of trash that embedded itself in the leaves scattered across the lawn over the winter.
I like this time of year around here. With the jonquils blooming, the crocus pushing up through the soil and the grass greening in small patches, it’s a time of promise before the realities of planting time set in; the little stretch of time, as winter ends and spring hasn’t quite begun, when you can still dream and imagine without the dirty-hands doing of actual work; a time that, the older I get, the more I appreciate.
Still, I suspect I’ll find something to dig around in. It might be a good time to work some of those partially digested leaves into the soil around the grape vines or turn over the soil around the front porch where I’m thinking of planting a bed of wild flowers and baby’s breath. The rhubarb plant disappeared last fall – whether from the heat or the dogs digging I don’t know, since it sits outside the garden fence. Next week might be a good time to see if anything is working its way back up through the soil, there, or whether I need to replace the plant when I buy the manure for the garden.
All of these things could probably wait another week, maybe even two. Truth is, I want to get outside for a while, dig in the dirt, smell the soil, taste the air, watch for worms, poke at some pill bugs. Mostly, though, I want to prove to myself that I didn’t get old and lazy over the winter and I’m good to go for the coming gardening season.
And that’s another thing I like about this time of year. I can start slow, work my way up to the hard stuff, give those digging and hoeing muscles a little workout before things get serious.
But what I most like this time of year are the surprises. The carpet of hen bit, that first year I went out to garden. The creeping Charlie that spread in its wake a couple of years later. The riot of plants that popped up on the north side of the house the spring after we took down the old elm tree and let the sun in. The lush growth of pokeweed the birds planted there, fall before last, after the dogs chased them out of their back yard. I can’t wait to see what happens this year. I guess I’ll find out, next week.