I confess I was a bit smug this winter when friends were sick . . . watch out for your attitude! I got hit by this cold virus that has lasted almost a month. I generally follow my mother’s advice in times like these: “Get up and do something — you’ll feel better.”
I have been soldiering on with the help of son, Rueben, Violet and a crew of young people.
I was thinking about how this is a bad time of year for a gardener to be sick, but there is plenty of fresh air and sunshine and reason to be outdoors every day.
Plus, I’m so grateful for a nice supply of spring greens. I hauled the fish totes out of the greenhouse about a month ago and they took off. I’m happy to be cutting tatsoi, spinach, two kinds of lettuce and the mild Italian spigarelli.
I have plenty of kale that wintered over and is absolutely delicious, bug-free and still edible raw. It is the Red Russian variety.
The asparagus is just beginning to show. I ate some tiny tips right in the garden. It rarely makes it to the stove and table.
I finally got the peas into the ground. I had started them in plug trays so they are four inches tall now. No matter! I’ll still eat my first pods when everyone who has yet to plant does. It is just the way of the world. We endlessly try to trick Mother Nature.
Last year I tossed some buckwheat into my tomato beds. It was just beautiful. The bees loved it. It did, however, rapidly overtake the tomato plants so I cut and dropped it in place as a mulch and soil improver. Yesterday I noticed it had reseeded all over the place. It is subject to freezing, so it will be interesting to see if it “knew” we have had our last frost. One can only hope. I am a bit hesitant to put out the tenders. It could end badly.
Everywhere I go there is something beautiful to behold. The azaleas are happening.
I noticed a wall covered with blooming ground phlox on Skiff. My own is barely opening. There is much to be said about a southern exposure.
I hoard plant pots. I painstakingly sort them by family groups at the end of the season and store them, sadly, outside. All the white ones become too brittle to reuse. They break down quickly in even the weak winter sun. Off to the dump with them. The good news — some of the heavy-duty black and green ones have lasted for years — decades really! I guess that is actually bad news for the environment.
There are very few varieties of tulips that are actually perennial. That is why that beautiful stand of say, Angelique (a peony-flowered pink), gets smaller and less dramatic over the course of a few years. Eventually they are gone and you barely remember them.
The Darwins are the tulip of choice for you. They are blooming right now and will do so for years to come depending, of course, on Bambi and his family. My favorite Darwin is daydream. It starts yellow and turns a lovely orange. It looks fabulous with Virginia bluebell.
I have a yellow magnolia tree just ready to open . . . can’t wait.
It is my custom to drive around with paper and pencil next to me. That way when I see something lovely and/or interesting I can jot it down. This week has been the exception. For starters, I’ve been unwell and there is simply too much material on which to comment. This has to be the best week of spring — maybe of the year. I’m crazy about all the ornamental trees.
Last fall I tossed a few spent tuberous begonias into a brown paper bag with some peat moss. I meant to store them properly with the dahlias and calla lilies. I found it recently wadded into a ball in the corner of the unheated greenhouse. Amazingly each one had a tiny pink eye of emerging life. How is that even possible? It froze solid out there many times during the winter. Sometimes the wonder of it all is simply astonishing. I am truly one of the baffled ones!
I just heard on NPR that the U.S. is sending a crack surveillance team into Nigeria to help in the search for the missing schoolgirls. Now that’s the kind of foreign involvement I’m talking about . . . go Uncle Sam!