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?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Where was I?

Long time no see. Now en Espanol. Hace tiempo, no ver. One of these days I am going to write a post en Espanol. As soon as I go beyond speaking only in the present. So, I have been drowned in work, invaded by Spanish preterits, overrun by some bathroom remodeling, utterly subjugated by spring cleaning and have been running helter skelter trying to get those pesky seeds started for my vegetable garden. Now, where were you? BigGeek has earned mucho brownie points by making a DIY growing light for me. To grow tiny seedlings. Squash, eggplants, pumpkins, melons and okra. (Have you tried googling “DIY grow lights”? You should. I was amused at the search results.) I, since then have dropped the grow light on a pumpkin seedling crushing its tiny stem. In my panic, I also administered some homeopathy to the plant for the trauma. Cross your fingers. I am crossing mine. I should click a picture of my seedlings. But getting the camera, the usb dongle, the computer and five minutes all together is proving to be a muy indomitable task. Hope spring eternal.

Yesterday, Chip was looking at our wedding album and we had this conversation:

Chip: Where am I?
Aie: Huh?
Chip: Why am I not there in these pictures?
Aie: You were not there.
Chip (perplexed, puzzled): I was not there when you and Baba got married? Where was I?
Aie: You weren’t born then.
Chip: Oh! I was in your tummy then.
Aie : No, no, you were not in my tummy.
Chip: Then, where was I?

So, tell me, gentle readers? Where was Chip?