My garden is waiting. It greeted the late snow, and the snow again, as a spouse greets in laws to their home. But, the garden is more patient and willing than that. It germinates beneath the soil and sprouts bulbs and already flowers Daffodils. It says: “Hello!” on those decent, just barely decent, weather days. Those days I drop everything, over exert myself, carry around a tissue because the cold makes my nose run. If I need to, I use the inside of my shirt. I’m caught up in raking leaves molded into the grass, leaves I never cleaned up in the fall, or some other heavy task. Carcasses of tomato plants and basil plants, hard and crumbling from winter’s wear, finally get pulled and thrown away. This happens every year. I never put those beds to bed. I never do the clean up. And it waits for me. Waits while I go through not “over it” phase, but close to it. Waits while Fall brings hope for a positive new school year and my attention shifts. Waits for me, a little cracked from the cold, a little worse for wear, to creep, hungrily, outside. Indoor plants meant to get me through the long months-a failure, I begin where I know I’ll find success.
And success greets me, gently reminds me it doesn’t even need me. Lilly of the Valley do their thing just fine, green prongs poke up where the Day Lilies will erupt in orange. The mint has already asserted itself again and will try to be the boss of the whole yard, but it will find a formidable foe in me.
I’ve been out there during these teasers. Plans for beds tucked into my back pocket, I have made my way around. Thankful for my flow, I have left extra work for myself from last fall to feed me in early spring when it’s too soon to plant most things. Too soon to have much to weed, but I have spent exhausting days, trying to get ahead of the mint, already thriving. Mojitos anyone? Trying to split the day lily bulbs. I have no idea what I’m doing. Turning beds, clearing vines, weeds, and the green bean plants off the fence, dry and crackly, left all winter as a cover that blocked nothing. Filling pots with dirt that will sit in the garage for a fill month yet, waiting for life.
On days I can’t get those head starts, days like yesterday that spit snow and made spring ice mud, I continue indoors. I start seedlings. I fret over my pansies I bought way too early. But they fit my plan perfectly! What if they sell out and I can’t find ones like these again? So I think they will need to be deadheaded. Maybe replanted in larger pots before I can put them in the ground? For now they go out when it’s warm enough to suck up the sun and get dragged back in at night that is still falling below freezing. I shop for seeds and when they come, so many plants in a tiny envelope, I start more seedlings.
I am not patient, but my garden is. It may even be in communication with the clouds and the shifting winds. It knows the frost well and hopes I heed the proper warnings. The frost is not my garden’s enemy, but this gardener can be. Green in my own way, in a rush, needing of the garden that both needs me and doesn’t need me.
I alway wonder how a woman, laden at times with motivation-crippling depression and anxiety, can come home from work, with no time to get the basics done, and run to the yard. Stay in the yard till dark. My aunt smiles when we talk about this and says: “Because. When you are in the garden there is only the garden.”