Thursday, April 23, 2015


I can tell that spring is here because my lawn and gardens are too wet to do anything with – even though what needs to be done is not really stuff that “NEEDS” to be done but rather (a) things that I could have (perhaps should have) done last October, or (b) work that Jason the spring-cleaning landscaper will do in a week or two (when he can walk without sinking) or (c) stuff I just totally invent to give me an excuse to do stuff.

I have talked about (a) before.  It is all of the cutting back of perennial plants that I don’t do pre-winter because the sterile-standing-stems provide shelter for the birds and “add visual interest” to the otherwise barren coldest season.  But mainly it is because not clearing the landscape seems to be sending a message to Mother Nature, but mostly to myself, that in the garden it is never really over – there is always more work to be done.

 Jason (b) really will be here soon.  And some of what I would like to be doing right now is admittedly labor that he could be doing when he arrives on the scene with his industrial strength leaf blowers and big-bed pickup truck – that is to say the removal of last year’s leaves from our various perennial beds.  I rationalize however – perhaps wrongly but who cares – that the little incipient buds, which have lain dormant under this bed of intrusive mulch for the past several months, would burst forth in flower much sooner and more healthy if they were exposed to as much spring sunlight is available as soon as possible.  Hence my diligent and gentle wisk-raking – some of which goes into my backyard compost bin, and some onto the lawn to be removed by Jason.

This past weekend a portion of our yard was dry enough to do both (a) and (b) in the bed that was formerly our shade garden and now – after the unfortunately necessary removal of several trees – is now our blistering hot sun plot. 

 When I finished I looked up into the nearby micro-forest of Rose of Sharon ((Hibiscus syriacus) that has spontaneously sprouted in this newly sunlit environment and pretty quickly spotted (c).

 One of the pricker bushes, which a previous owner had planted as a border guard against his neighbor on the south, had a death grip on the largest of our newly arrived, non-violent Hibiscus bushes.  This hostile treatment called for an equally hostile response.  I retrieved my trusty Japanese pruning saw and forty-five minutes and an equal number of thorny branches later I was done.

Getting into the spring mood really is as easy as (a), (b), (c).