Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Garden of the Seasons: April Love

             What to do in April?
            Get the ice out of the earth, the mud out of the dirt, the sub-freezing numbers out of the 'early warning' forecast -- as the local cable news refers to its special tease apparently offered to prepare you for the shock each day's weather. (Do we truly need to be warned every day that we live in a changeable climate?)
            What to do when the longing for spring begins to be answered?
            Get the garden tools out of the basement, and put the snow shovels in their place, since these two toolish families share a seasonal berth.             
             Remember where you put the garden gloves, the thick brown-paper leaf bags, the list of uncompleted preparation-for-winter chores. (No, forget about that.)
            Remember the names, and locations, of the plants you are expecting back this year for their long-awaited annual visit. (Such as the Japanese primrose, fourth photo down; and Spring Vetch, bottom pic.) This will take some time.
            Remember what it feels like to bend. This way. Or that.
            Study up on the bird calls. Can a bluejay do that? Is it mockingbird time already?
            Reacquaint yourself with sudden alterations of character in the seasonal face. Easter Sunday was warm, even too warm. Patriots Day was perfectly springlike. A good day for walking in the woods and discovering that signs of spring are rarer there than in your own backyard. No leaves on the trees. Few green shoots from the ground. Skunk cabbage is still the dominant 'seasonal' arrvial. Nobody rakes up the leaves in the woods.
            Saturday (April 22) on the other hand was raw and rainy at midday. The falling rain was making clicking sounds on the windows. Then Sunday dawns cloudless-bright, and stays sunny and cool all day.
            What else to do in April? Put away the winter boots. The ones you wear in the snow when shoveling the driveway. They ones you wear when you're contemplating a 'winter hike' and know that your feet will be really, really cold if you don't wear them.
            Take a walk in a familiar neighborhood you haven't visited since the sun's northern-trending equinoctial passage in order to enjoy the differences. Other people's rhododendrons are doing well; what happened to ours?
            Confirm, by the evidence of other landscapes, that this is truly hyacinth (second and third photos down) season. Daffodil time too (fifth photo down). And bunches of grape hyacinth (top photo), deep blue and abundant, are staking out corners and lot-lines like an early harvest from the return of the sun. Notice how late the hour is while the sun's still high.
            Notice new deep brown additions to those landscapes you pass by, where mulch, soil, or soil amendments are making an early appearance ... Consider this option for several of your own spaces, while you can still get at them, before welcome, and unwelcome, guests spread tent-wings over your ground.
            Consider that next week will already be too late to 'get ahead' of the weeds. I checked this afternoon. The weeds are already leading.