This morning I went outside to perform my very first garden chore of the season.
I dug into the Potting-slash-Writing Room tool drawer, selecting my red-handled bypass pruners from the mix.
Side note: It does not escape me that ‘Potting-slash-Writing Room’ is not a space necessarily appearing on a standard architect’s or builder’s plan. This room has bricked floors, along with a slate counter that tops drawers and shelving and cabinets. There is also a deep farm sink, and all of this is quite useful for the potting and hospital-ing plants. But the room also sports a big old wing chair (for Belle’s rest and squirrel spotting) and a desk and old buffet (for my writing and officing). It is not a very big room, but it is warm and bright and looks out on the back gardens and bird feeders. It’s one of my favorite spaces.
Pruners in hand, I stepped outside to a spot just beside the farmers/farmer’s/farmers’ porch. There, I squatted down among a jumble of dark, spent, and flattened stems and leaves… and began my work.
I was not trimming these leaves as a part of making all things in my pre-spring garden neat and tidy. As a matter of fact, there are scores of crispy brown leaves all over our lawn and in various garden beds. Brush and sticks and stuff are still piled here and there, along with the brambly-ness of overgrown forsythia and tangles of red twigged dogwood.
I manipulate myself into believing I don’t tend to these things purely for the benefit of the local wildlife. It is, I say to me, an active laziness. But the truth is that I love my brambles, the wild beauty of them. The critters who benefit from them – including Spike and Splinter, our resident porcupines – make them all the more lovely. And, so, there they sit.
But the hellebores?
They get their leaves trimmed first thing, so that – when their ‘blooms’ show up – there is nothing to steal attention away from their show. As far as I’m concerned, they’ve been practicing all winter, and deserve to hog the spotlight.
What I didn’t realize – this being only their second year – was that I would get down close to trim the stems, and I’d already be greeted by new and tender pink bud-lings!
I was all smiles.
These little buds are the first to add new color to the gardens, and I greeted them out loud – welcomed and encouraged them – as I carefully clipped and gently cleared.
Some gardening friends in the area are already sharing pics of their newly emerged snow drops and hints of crocuses (croci?) and daffodils on their facebook pages, and I admit to feeling quite a bit of envy, along with a bit of self flagellation. Because I didn’t plant any bulbs last fall (again). This is due, primarily, to Bulb-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Yes it is a thing.
Approximately eight years ago – I thought ahead (shocker), and put bulbs in the ground in the fall – one hundred and fifty to be exact.
ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY!
Yes, I know that it is not technically correct to put the ‘and’ in there, but ‘one hundred fifty’ seems far less pointed than ‘one hundred AND fifty’ so I’m employing some literary liberty.
And do you know what happened?
In the spring, one hundred AND fifty tulip bulbs eased their way through the newly warmed soil and spewed color all along our little roadside. Nearly every single one on the same day. It was glorious!
I loved that day so much that, the next morning I bounded out of bed – pre-dawn – and grabbed my camera to get photos of my brand new tulips, lit by the first rays of the sun. I ran outside and…
I rushed down the front stairs, out into the yard, and every single tulip was gone. All had been precisely clipped at almost exactly the same point on each of one hundred AND fifty stems.
Translation: A deer – or deerZ – ate their heads off.
Sociopaths on the hoof.
So… each year I consider putting bulbs in the ground, but then the post-trauma taps me on the shoulder. That being said, I have since learned a lot about what the resident cloven hoofed psychos like to nibble, so I will never again partake in the floral equivalent of tossing virgins into a volcano.
But back to the hellebores.
What I realized, as I was smiling at my discovery of the recently emerged pink buds, is that – sooner than I imagine is possible – their new growth will be joined by others.
First they will come one at a time, and I’ll notice each of them in turn… scrumples of lime-y succulents… chartreuse bubbles on forsythia stalks… balooning lilac buds…
Then, one day, they’ll be so many new shades of green splotches in the garden beds that the yard will appear smattered with oddly shaped contemporary carpets… each with its own pattern of new life.
This idea of the first plants slowly joined by others, and then suddenly becoming a crowd of so many… in a colorful celebration of togetherness… made me think of us.
All of us.
Coming out into the world after more than a year of hibernation… isolation.
Being able to be together again.
Sharing our love in person, and with closeness… even touch.
With those we love.
With those we know.
With those we share this planet with.
A colorful celebration of togetherness.
This thought hit me in the midst of burgeoning life and birdsong.
My smile grew.
Thanks for readin’.
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