Sunday, April 11, 2010

Things Are Happening Every Day

The absolute best thing about this month is that things change literally every day. The blue grape hyacinth which I planted a few years ago have begun to flourish in some difficult places to grow anything – directly underneath a large shade tree, and in the curbside strip.
I have put a little bit of everything that was doing well elsewhere underneath the maple tree in the front yard, a patch of thin earth utterly hemmed in by pavement and eaten up by tree roots. The ajuga has actually flourished here, producing a solid purple month of May last year, though so far it has not come back so strongly this spring. Where the ajuga doesn’t grow, and the soil is particularly thin or non-existent – between roots and parking area – I throw turf, old mulch, weeded dandelions, and anything else I think might turn into soil, and one year I dropped bulbs into the mix. I’m happy to see some color here this year. On the other side of the tree, the low phlox hangs over the sidewalk, a little spot of rare street-level color.
The sidewalk strip, which I have resolutely planted with something or another for five years, has been through a lot. It gets sanded, salted, assaulted, snow-piled, shovel-shocked, gravel-strewn, tree-rooted, and dogged.
A couple years ago, after I had started some speedwell going there, it had a ditch dug through it when our sewer pipe clogged (another gift of the maple tree) and the city came with big trucks and armed men (and women) to tunnel out the old pipe and replace it with a new one made of plastic. Apparently, tree roots don’t like PVC, an evolutionary oversight I expect will be remedied in time.
Whatever disappeared then I replaced with sedum, the one constant star in that section which shines in all seasons, making fat bright-green leaves in early April and waiting till September, or later, to flower, thus living up to its “autumn joy” varietal name. Some violet are catching on in this strip too, so I was happy to see the grape hyacinth unfurl their little blue, bell-like flowers this week, playing on the blue-violet end of the spectrum.
Also showing this week, a light pink hyacinth; an eccentric reddish tulip whose origins escape me; some splashes of deep blue vinca flowers; more violets here and there.
In the back garden, I am finally figuring out Lenten rose. The flower color is as green as the plant’s leaf on the outside, but white on the inside. I think they bloom in March. Who knows when I would have noticed them if I wasn’t cleaning out the old leaves in that spot.
The white blossoms of the cherry tree are flying off in the breezy weekend days following Friday’s all-day rain. Still beautiful against Saturday’s cool, dry-blue sky. Vinca blue and violets spackling through the fresh green groundcovers. Some shrubs, lilac, Japanese maple, unveiling new leaves.
New leaves for everybody. And something new for me to notice every day.