Saturday, April 16, 2011

Plan # 2

When we had a vegetable garden, my vernal equinox occurred on the morning that I manually turned the soil therein in preparation for the traditional Memorial Day planting of our crops. Since this event was determined my restless desire to resume my favorite outdoor avocation, rather than any calendar-based reason, it frequently occurred as much as two and one-half months prior to any practical need for it.

Now - except for eight or so tomato plants - we have gone perennial in that part of our horticultural kingdom. This is the direct result of my continued acceptance of "rescue plants" from friends, strangers, and about-to-be dug up public gardens. Plus the fact that year-after-year the ravenous rabbits of our neighborhood have totally ravaged our vegetable plot.

The remaining small amount of space reserved for the tomatoes doesn't provide enough exercise to count as a season-opening ritual. But the sun-warmed-yet-cool early spring air still screams for me to flex my landscaping muscles long before there is any practical work to be done by them.

So here is my solution.

In late autumn I have the exact opposite situation. The various plants in my various perennial beds have run their course for the year. They stand dry and desiccated in the declining warmth of the already ended season. They scream to put out of their misery

I have two choices. (1) I can garb myself in layers of flannel and down and cut the pitiful-looking creatures to the ground, thus letting them spend the upcoming cold part of the year buried totally under a blanket of equally cold precipitation. (2) I can do nothing and justify my lethargy with vague descriptions of mid-winter birds finding sustenance from leftover seeds and shelter in dead frozen stalks - and arty talk of "winter interest" gardens.

I opt for plan number two.

Which allows me to actually do my plant razing on that first warm day in March, combined with some winter leaf clearing - still clad in flannel and down. But only initially - until my bending, twisting, and snipping generates enough body heat to cause mild perspiration and the removal of the outermost layer.

It is not as taxing as my former tilling ceremony. But the sight of fledgling green buds in the midst of chopped-back deadwood tells me that they are as eager to get started as I am, and generates more than enough endorphins to get me pumped up for another gardening season.

No comments: