A garden is a grand teacher.
It teaches patience and careful watchfulness;
it teaches industry and thrift;
above all it teaches entire trust.~Gertrude Jekyl
Over the weekend the weather was in the low 70s. For days I had been itching to get dirt under my fingernails. On Saturday, I planned *Operation Garden Cleanup* and it wasn’t any fun at all… but that’s what a girl has got to do if she’s going to plant some frost-resistant annuals to liven up the place.
Plus, what gardening has taught me is that you must put in a bit effort to receive great rewards. Sometimes I think about from where I started and I'm amazed by the transformation. That goes for gardening and for saving myself. I wasn't quite living until I started growing literally and figuratively.
First I piled everything on the patio so that I could clean away the plant debris and cut the grass for the first time this year. I cut down parts of one of the three butterfly bushes that were thicker than my arm and leaning slightly from last year’s tropical storm. I knew I had to do this all winter but waited… and since the butterfly bush season is upon us if I didn’t do it now I would have had to wait until next year.
Butterfly bushes grow from 6 to 12 feet tall with a spread of 4 to 15 feet. Fortunately, they tolerate severe pruning if you do want to keep them smaller. I like the large-and-in-charge wild bush but I didn’t want to have to worry about anchoring it to the fence throughout the summer. A smaller bush means that I’ll be able to prune it easier to help with balance.
I took stock of everything that I have from twist ties for the tomatoes and later the pumpkins, to fencing, leftover fishnet stockings (again presuming I’ll have pumpkins again this year), and stakes for the hibiscus stalks. I have the tiniest of storage containers in the backyard. Everything including my wee grill gets shoved inside during the winter months. I know there's a metaphor in all of that.
With my fella’s house selling last October, we now have many of his father's tools and the pots from his house now in the backyard as well. That’s what happens when you get your partner interested in gardening—it’s addictive!
After sorting through everything, I had to determine everything's new home (until, of course, the pumpkins or some other surprise plant turns up and dictates another layout).
After that, I cleaned up the whirligigs and did some light repair. For the most part, I do not have space to store these away but I also enjoy watching the whirligigs in the snowy season. Plus, in Virginia, our winter season isn’t that long. I was donning sandals right around Christmas so perhaps three months. The way I fuss about it one would assume winter took up half the year.
I finished cleaning up and I hadn’t realized how exhausted I was until I stopped. I haven't been that active in months; and, honestly, I think I was releasing some pent up season depression. The frost-resistant annuals had to be postponed to Sunday.
Fortunately, while it was supposed to rain, the precipitation held off until late afternoon. I had time to go to the nursery to pick up flowers with a variety of colors. Typically, I go with a theme of purples or reds and keep the yard somewhat monochromatic but my fella really enjoys (and needs!) color in his life so I opted for bright, colorful pansies.
I also planted some *crops* this year which I've been starting indoors. I'm growing garlic, lettuce, cabbage, strawberries, and tomatoes.
While I was planting the annuals, I noticed all the blooms that were already in the garden. I even have Bleeding Hearts popping out of the mulch! Hey there, Little Beauties! I see ya ;D
It was a perfect day so afterwards I even had time to take a 5.7 mile walk. When I came back home, I sat in my garden for a while.
All the effort was worth it. That's when I noticed that I had made a little shrine to welcome back the pumpkin plant.
I'm looking forward to another season of new growth and new life.