Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spring Fling

In the Kingdom of DotThoughts, spring is a busy time. Since we are all nature lovers and avid gardeners, spring is a time of nail-biting anxiety and backbreaking work. Like whether you should have really dug and stored those gladioli bulbs last fall or did you plant the hardy variety? Or why the rose bush suddenly decided to only grow leaves on one branch out of its many? Or if the vegetable seeds you planted are taking well. Time to start your compost bin. Set the seedlings out now or wait until Mother’s day? Divide the helianthus and the columbine. Plant the lettuce. And then the spinach. And oh that Shasta daisy is getting too big for its spot. Did you plant the dill that BigGeek so loves? You did, but in the same spot as the spinach. Uh-oh. Move the coneflowers to the front bed where they will get some attention (and you some appreciation). Should you cross over to the dark side and use miracle-grow to fertilize? Those daylilies look odd there. Plant the annuals here. Petunias or Johnny-jump-ups? Scold the newly sprouted curry-leaf plant for giving me a bad scare by shedding all its leaves just before spring without telling me its plans. Pray the squirrels don’t get the strawberries again. (And then make plans to sprinkle hot pepper over the plants if prayers don’t work). Try growing lavender again? For the third bleddy time? Mulch, mulch mulch. Get bags of soil. Trim twigs, mow lawn. Plant the elderberry bush that gnd gave.

You see, with a growing season as short as it is here, you only get one shot to grow. The Spring. You miss and you have to wait one whole year. Every Monday for the past month, I have hobbled to work. A sprained back. A pulled muscle. Chipped nails. Aching legs. Sore arms. Exhausted, but content. There is something very satisfying about pottering about in the garden. The first days of spring, as the soil thaws and I venture out into the garden, I leave my gardening gloves behind. I yearn to plunge my hand into the soil that has not yet forgotten the winter. To sow those miraculous seeds of lettuce and perhaps spinach or radishes and watch life return to soil that not a few weeks ago was blanketed in snow. Every year, every single year, I am awestruck. By how that small seed will grow and yield. But how a mass of twigs will sprout a leaf, then two and before you know it a dainty white flower that will turn into a delicious strawberry. Year after year, unfailingly.

Someone once said, when you dig in the garden, you bury your troubles. Whenever I wring my hands here and there and fret over this and that, BigGeek quietly comes over and says “Think about your garden.” And suddenly those anxious thoughts turn to the lilac bush that has blossomed with flowers so fragrant that their perfume catches you with a delightful surprise every time you walk by. Or those tulips with a pink so subtle that you wonder if it is blushing because you have been staring at it agape. And the columbine and the clematis, who, having roused from their deep hibernation are growing so vigorously and with such gusto that you can’t but smile endearingly and compare their enthusiasm to Chip’s.

This is what I am growing this year. In my salad box - Three varieties of lettuce, Spinach, dill. Eggplants, okra, melons, pumpkins and squash from seedlings I grew from seed. And of course I have planted seeds for cucumbers and would have planted seeds for yard long bean except it fell into the lawn. What remain are tomatoes.

And out in the front. The tulips are almost done. Daffodils long gone. As is the rhododendron that I have styled in a faux-japanese way. Lilac is blooming and so is the creeping phlox. The clematis has put out lovely white flowers and the columbine is following suit. The three carnations are setting out buds as are the bearded irises and the Asiatic lilies and the salvia. The rose is silent. I think I have offended it in some way. The hydrangea seems to be a bit unhappy too. Although I don’t know what it wants? The alliums I pulled out last season, refused to leave and have sprouted yet again. The daylilies and the helianthus and the coneflower still think it’s a bit cold and are just twiddling their thumbs. The coreopsis is just showing its head under the wilting grape hyacinths who set a spectacular bloom earlier this season. And of course the azaleas have bloomed and are wishing a happy mother’s day already. Happy Mother’s day, to all the moms. What blooms in your garden?

25 comments:

rayshma said...

wow!! i'll feel happy reading abt this... i'm a plant-killer!

p.s.: bday's coming up, isn't it?

nish said...

2 bush early girl, 1 roma, 1 cherry tomatoes and Red bell pepper all from Home Depot. Cilantro and mint. Green beans 2 varieties (Burpee seeds) in pots. Green and yellow zucchini (Burpee seeds)squash in pots. 3 rose bushes, rhododendrons, azalea, hosta. Yet to plant - bitter gourd, spinach and lettuce. Wanted to do the tomatoes also from seeds. but i have a 1 year old curious monkey.. Oh! i love spring! :D

DotThoughts said...

raysh: I don't do well with houseplants either.

nish: and hello, where were you hiding :) tell me, how do you find the flavor of early girl? I planted better boy beefsteak and the flavor was so-so. grape and cherries were awesome. high yeilds too. this year I want to try the heirloom. also I never have had success with bell pepper. dunno why. small fruit size and low, no very low yeilds. like 3-4 peppers a plant.

nish said...

This is the first time I am planting early girl..will let you know how it turns out..i wanted to have the green zebras this time... but couldn't find them..last year we had heirlooms from seeds.. excellent flavor.. i don't remember which ones they were..my mom took the remaining seeds to india..:D.. I'm still a novice at this.. this is my second year..i use miracle grow pellets every 3 months..i was looking up all the flower names you have here..would love to plant em in the front yard.. there are some from the previous owners which i don't know the name of..where do I go for help with flowering plants?

DotThoughts said...

nish: your county's extension office's website should have some info about common plants in your area. Else just try googling. I found out about a lot of plants from park's and burpee and springhill websites.

I'll get heirloom tomatoes now. Did you get bitter gours seeds online? may I ask you what zone you are in?

nish said...

I think I am a zone 6 mid atlantic. My mom got bitter gourd seeds from india last year. this year i saved some seeds from last year's bitter gourd. I planted the seeds indoors in those jiffy plant starters. i didnt have any hope for bitter gourd and then 2 days back it sprouted. :).. i have also ordered a dwarf lemon tree from qvc (i know... but we desperately wanted a fruit tree.. :D) and hey thanks for the tips. i'll try these websites.

Sujatha said...

OMG! I need to have you come over. Please tell me what needs to go where. I am so hopeless! Whatever is the color opposite of green - that's the color of my thumb. Is the season too far gone or can I still plant some veggies?

DotThoughts said...

nish: how awesome. enjoy the karela. BigGeek loves, loves it :)
Another site you might like
http://www.seedsofindia.com/

Suj: no, no. start now. In our area planting ahppends after Mother's day anyway. Do veggies Suj. They atste awesome. You will cinge at supermarket vegies. start with tomatoes and beans. easiest to grow.

mahendrap said...

I'm amazed you can devote so much time to your garden while working and parenting and blogging and god knows what! Kudos!

dipali said...

You are tagged, Dottie!

Just Like That said...

Wow! all those plants and all that effort.. awesome.

aie said...

it is pleasure to see the plants grow from the seeds.talk to the plants, let them listen to the music, they eii give more yields.now you eill know why your aie used to spend 1 hr everyday in the garden.

Just Like That said...

Hop over to my place for a ticket, DotMom.

DotThoughts said...

mahendra: thanks, but we all do it togther. so its not just me dpoing everything :) And its really not a lot of work, save a few frantic weeks and its not all year :)

dipali: yes. tags coming out of my ears.

JLT: they are worth every second of effort :)

aie: yes yes yes. I do talk to the plants. I think the curry-leaf plant sprouted leaves because I told it I was very sad it shed its leaves on me. :)

JLT: sure, thanks!

Shobana said...

Wow! This makes me yearn to return to gardening this year...but, we are firmly resolved about giving it a break this yr and take it up again next spring. Just want to enjoy the weekends outside the home.

Ananva said...

Pray tell us where you got your kadipatta from!!
I have planted eggplant, beans, bell peppers, swiss chard and strawberries this time. Now praying that raccoons won't eat the fruit of my labor!

Girl Next Door (gnd) said...

and it was de-stressing just to see all those little sprouts!!
can i hire you?
pleaaaaaaaaase give me a list of things i need to buy...i'll start off with a couple of veggies this year...easy ones...
oh i have a better idea -
you can de-stress a few steps away from your home too, you know??
yes, in whatever you call that little space in our backyard...
:)

K3 said...

Dont have a green thumb myself but last year MIL and husband did a lot of growing - beets, beans, tomatoes, squash. This year we planted squash, and tomatoes, lets see how they do; or not, since I am the one handling it :(

Munchkin said...

I love plants myself and am planning a trip to the local nursery to get some nice indoor as well as outdoor ones.

oh btw...i finally did make that cake :)
http://themunchkinblog.wordpress.com/2009/04/29/a-party-to-remember/

mixedblessings89 said...

Hey... I have found my way back here after a very long time... and I'm so glad to have found this place again. You may not remember me, but I do remember your incredible warmth and charm- and Chip!

I have an exam tomorrow, so will come back and actually read the posts later, but you should knoow that I'm smiling :)

DotThoughts said...

Shobana: Take a break. I think I might take a break next year too. My back's been killing me!

Ananva: From BG's aunt :) But seedsofindia.com has plants. you have raccoons, huh! good luck!

gnd: ofcourse I can. Just don't ask me to water them in the middle of july :P

k3: green thumb is an acquired skill - I firmly believe that :) Good luck to your squash and tomatoes.

Munchkin: what an aweosme cake you made!!!

mixed blessings: good luck on your exams :)

Girl Next Door (gnd) said...

i'll take your word (what you said to K3 about green thumb being an acquired skill)

ok, pinky promise, won't ask you to water my plants :)

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Subhashree said...

We don't want a writeup on your gardening skills. Show us. Pics, pliss.

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