This journal -- the antecedent to the blog -- gets its start from a
decision to dig up all the grass in our yard and plant flowers,
perennials, ground cover, shrubs, a small tree or two, berry bushes,
vegetables. My first title for it, I remember now, was "The Amateur." I
am fond of the word's Latin roots -- it means "lover." I'm not trained,
I'm not a professional, I just began digging things up and planting. To
be an amateur means to do something not for money, but for love. Five
summers later, I am still an amateur, but the place has blossomed. I
loved the development stage; now I'm working on management, maintenance
-- skills that require patience. I like doing things, trying things, and
seeing what happens. I experiment, I learn from experience (or try to).
I love to see things growing. I love the idea that when we step
outdoors, we are in nature. The "environment" begins at the doorstep.
Open the door; breathe the air; listen. Today a cardinal sat on the head
of a sunflower, bobbing and calling, looking for all the world as if he
had just lost something. I noticed he ate a few sunflower seeds too.
There is always something to see. Here's the "interests" list:
The greening of April, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
I am scratching a compost and peat moss mixture into the planting bed between the spokes in my wheel of brick pathways when everything falls into place, clicks, and suddenly the Zone of Flowering April is established.
Blossoms that were not there a day before are here today. I am sitting on the ground, my favorite position for gardening. The lamium (also called dead nettle) are poking their strong pink blossoms about six inches off the ground, and the dark purple Labrador violets have suddenly wakened for contrast. They grow up between the spreading gray-leaves of the Artemisia, which stretch out this time of year like courtiers adjusting their wigs. The Artemisia will soon grow tall and make a pest of itself, but right now it’s a perfect complement.
Some other new showings today. Where was the mazus, a ground-hugging steppable with light violet blossoms Friday? I was out here that afternoon, enjoying the bright sun and the smell of sea in the air while digging away at our vegetable garden patch. Today the little carpet of mazus has appeared by magic beneath our veet.
A couple of poppy-orange blossoms have also opened today from a plant whose origins I can never place.
The blue forget-me-nots began last week, but they blossom exponentially for a few days at this time of year, and these are those few days. Their sky blue parade of blossoms lines the sine curve path through the center of things in the perennial garden, putting their stamp on the season.
You can’t forget them, a friend told me a few years ago when she gave me some of these plants, because they come back every year and remind you.