Sunday, March 29, 2009

Back in the garden

Yesterday was a nice day here in Boston. If a bit on the cloudy side, it was warm and pleasant. I went to the gym and after that ran a couple of errands. One of my errands was to get my garden renewal into the post. I have pretty mixed feelings about this. Last year was not much fun in the old garden with one thing and another.

After I had finished my errands, I grabbed a cup of coffee for the walk home and coming across a city bench I sat down, enjoyed my steaming cup of caffeinated goodness along with the warmth and watched the city go by. After a few minutes I pulled out my phone and gave my friend C. a call and suggested we get out and enjoy the weather. C. suggested we go to a wonderful little pastry shop called Athan's, where one small pastry provides you with a days worth of calories. We went, we ate, we schmoozed. We probably also gained about 5 lbs each just by inhaling in the place.

By the time I got home, I still had the afternoon ahead of me. Having sent in the money to the garden society I felt like I ought to make at least a gesture in the direction of getting my garden in order. I had done virtually no clean up last fall, so there was plenty to be done. I also wanted to do a serious pruning on the climbing rose that was the basis of my problems with the garden society last summer.

I walked over to the gardens, grabbed a wheel barrow and then trundled off to my plot. Needless to say, I hadn't been able to find my garden gloves, so my pruning experience was a bit like throwing myself into a pit of angry cats. One of the attractions for me of the "New Dawn" rose, aside from the pretty cream and pink blooms is the fact that it has thorns that could take the hide off an elephant.

One and a half wheelbarrow loads of rose canes later and I was ready to do some more clean up. Montauk daisy, dried up and sad herbaceous peony, Annabelle hydrangea and cone flowers, all got much needed haircuts. I then began cleaning up leaves and willow wands that had dropped into the garden.

This also gave me a chance to inspect the spring bulbs I had bedded last fall. There are some noticeable bald spots in the biggest tulip bed. Evidence of the depredations made by the local rodent population over the winter. Still, I ought to get a fairly decent display and I am less resentful over the loss since I had anticipated this and purchased bargain bulbs. Others may wish to risk expensive Dutch bulbs, I however learned my lesson years ago and have opted for Darwin tulips. They are cheap. They will bloom for years unlike their showy Dutch cousins, which should be treated as annuals and as I stated are also cheap. If you are going to wind up feeding the voles, squirrels and rats, you are not obligated to serve them the equivalent of a meal from a four star restaurant.

I had hoped that all this labor would work its magic and I would start to feel the enthusiasm for gardening that comes with spring and the appearance of leaf buds and of plants starting to poke up through the earth. There is nothing like the quickening of spring to renew you.

So far, I'm not feeling it. I filled up the wheelbarrow with garden waste. I inspected plants for signs of life and evidence that they have made it through another New England winter. I just couldn't feel that rush of excitement over the number of buds set on the viburnum or disappointment at how poorly my rhododendron had fared.

I am working on plans for changes in my little plot. I am going to try a less is more approach to the garden. Clearing out things I am not in love with. I will be changing the way some of the beds are laid out. I am even girding my loins to make some changes in the topography of the garden, but there is a something missing.

Some of this may have to do with the fact that a lot of the social aspect of gardening has disappeared for me. I very much doubt I will be spending time hanging out with my fellow gardeners this year. What with one thing and another I feel like I really should start keeping that part of my life at arms length. When I go out to get my hands dirty I should be concentrating on communing with my plants. I really don't feel like getting into any future situations that lead to ill will. Goodness knows that on one particularly memorable occasion I was let know in a most definite manner that one gardener would consider his world a better place if I kept any comments and opinions to myself unless they are on the topic of gardening and I suspect then only if they are solicited and of a technical nature.

So, as things stand I am going to try and concentrate my gardening efforts to clearing out any unwanted plant life, reshaping beds and trying to make sure I do my gardening in the earlier hours of the day and leave the rest of the day to my betters. This will I hope leave me more time to hit the beach this summer. The beach has it's own appeal and I hope it will allow me to cultivate not only flowers but also a good all over tan. After all, there is a clothing optional beach just a quick T ride away.