Tuesday, May 31, 2011

5/30 May shines up, lines up



Last week somebody threw the switch on the warm air current. The first day was a Tuesday: up to eighty and humid by the hump of the afternoon. A warm, sunny week led to summer-like Memorial Day weekend, humid at times, occasional bouts of fog, threats of thunderstorms, and windows open all night. Birdsong at four-thirty a.m. comes in loud and clear.
I revel in the opportunity of so much fine outdoor weather; an endless stream of happy high-on-fresh-air hours. I go from glancing nervously at the sky, wondering whether I will get the next little pie-faced Green-man Scottish Moss in the ground before the clouds open up again, to putting everything else in the ground I’ve been keeping around for over a week.
Those six-packs of eager little annuals – lobelia, alyssum? Your time has come!
I make space for them by lifting up a carpet of thick-leaved viny monochrome green groundcover, which I’ve been using for years for outdoor flooring. It’s taken over a triangle in a highly visible place – the oxbow twist in the winding central path that divides the back garden. A site for a showplace. I dig the big green groundcover out, en masse, and re-set the pieces in some difficult terrain under the oak tree.
I set the low, cheerful lobelia and alyssum along the newly freed borders of the path. I work in the one-of-a-kind perennials, fresh discoveries picked up at last weekend’s garden club sale – which has come to rival a Home Depot of stock choices, though with plenty of stales personnel and selections divided into “sun,” “shade,” “groundcovers” and a long demonstration table with examples of the plants to be found displayed in their proper departments along the long Wollaston Congo church Driveway of Fertility.
It was actually too crowded and no longer a place for unexpected discoveries and face to face encounters with the growers of the specimens you’re planning on taking home. It had changed from a tag sale to an auction.
I fill up a cardboard box with precious dirt and plant material – the gifts of fertility – to a weight heavier than I can decently carry and struggle down the street, straining under my loot. Can’t wait to take advantage of the big vernal dig.
I spend big hunks of each day outdoors. Each day slightly different, each one marvelous in its own way. A dry brilliant day, clear as cool water. A warm, thunderous day, ending with gin and tonics outdoors. A day with a long evening walk, just cool enough to make moving a pleasure while we lecture our poor visiting daughter on the twists and turns of "Lost." A hot humid Saturday, interrupted by a bout of fog, highlighted by a trip to buy advanced vegetable seedlings and to begin planting tomatoes.
A day when the green seedlings planted three weeks ago finally revealed their identity.

Ground Spice haiku

At last cilantro
The soil asks to be taken
The spice box opens


A Human Bee-ing

Flowers are the sex organs
Of hot momma nature.
We all love the colors, the shapes,
the delicate constructions.
They bring us together.
Do not ask what makes
that deep, persistent buzz
what hovers above zouavish skirts and bell-flared trousers,
transparent angel wings extended,
and wiggles its nose between stamen and pistil.
It is us.