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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Taking Heart



Pretty, right?  A PJM Rhododendron, to be specific.  But I have to tell you folks, it’s so much more.  On Sunday, fat bumblebees bounced from flower to flower.  In the side yard, Kelly green leaves muscled out the spent forsythia blossoms.  At the front corner, my lilac bush, a housewarming gift from twenty-three years ago, offered up its first bloom.  All this as it is every May.

Except, this year, I’d begun to wonder.  It’s been a long, cold spring.  Just this week, the last of the snow melted from where they piled it on the beach parking lot, leaving black-sludge pavement. 

Sunday afternoon, I pruned the dry sticks of six hydrangeas.  We’ll be lucky to get any blossoms this year, yet I fertilized them with Miracle Grow and hope.  In the process, I found evidence of the deer that tramped through winter paths my husband plowed (for us…but the deer were opportunistic) chewed rhododendrons, an azalea and an evergreen ewe, gnawed to sticks.  Years of gardening, irreparably damaged by indiscriminate hunger.

But still.  In the first sustained warmth of the season, we sat around a new-to-us-but-vintage patio table, (our old table having succumbed to the weight of 110 record-breaking inches of snow) sharing Mothers' day snacks while bumble bees droned in the distance, and I could almost shrug it off.  Even after all that snow melt, the earth is dry and the wind churned up dust.  There may be rain midweek.  Saturday, I’ll head to the nursery and pick up some annuals, maybe a perennial or two, grab tomato plants and cucumbers. I’ll pull on my gloves, dig holes, and then forget and toss them off because I always do.  I'll use a brush to scrub the dirt from under my nails.

And at about that point, I’ll realize we’ve slipped it into the good times again.  Coffee in the rock garden.  Early morning trips in the dinghy.  Painted toenails and flip flops. Climbing out of bed early for sunrise photos.  Sun Drops and Bee Balm and Foxgloves seeding themselves wherever. 

I'm not there yet.  But after a few weeks I will be, and then, I’ll think about replacing those damaged bushes, recognizing something that was hard to remember this year.  A cliche perhaps, but one I'm taking very much to heart.  No matter how bad it seems.  There’s always another spring.

13 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry the deer chewed your plants to nothing. They probably were hungry trying to find food under that much snow.
Soon it will be summer and you'll have new bushes and it will look like nothing ever happened.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

a serious splash of color ;)

mshatch said...

I'm still waiting for my lilacs to bloom but things are finally getting greener up here - and warmer!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

My plants seem okay. It's my goldfish pond that suffered. We lost about 30 goldfish and koi over the winter. The only survivors were two catfish and a frog.

The fish have wintered over longer harder winters than we had in SE Pennsylvania this year. We don't know what happened, but we can only assume something went wildly wrong with the water chemistry.

I am so sad every time I walk outside and see that empty pond. :(

Chrys Fey said...

Those blossoms are so pretty! I'm just beginning my gardening so I won't be able to really take pleasure in what blooms until next spring.

I'm sorry the deer chewed up your plants. I wonder how you could keep them away.

Joanne said...

deer are so destructive, but they were hungry, I guess. Glad you are going for the positive sunny attitude. Be as busy as a bee and replenish, enjoy the patio, and take time out for lemonade. Happy Spring (finally) to you!

Robin said...

When we're in the middle of the storm it's so hard to remember that life happens in cycles. For every winter we get spring. We get summer. And then things start to turn and we get fall. When the winters are really long, really hard, really bleak... it may seem like that's all there is. Thankfully, nature reminds us that the seasons, like life, always turn.

glnroz said...

you are making it sound like fun...so it must be... :) glenn

Pixel Peeper said...

I love your Rhododendron...I miss those, and lilacs. I guess it's too hot here.

I'm trying to grow a banana tree. They seem to do well around here...until they meet my brown thumb. Have fun planting new stuff!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I love the quote that says that gardening is a way of showing that you believe in tomorrows. After this past winter, these wonderful, glorious signs of life make me a believer again.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I lost a number of plants to this winter and the ivy under one of my trees was heavily damaged. But spring finally found us. I'll be going some planting next week too. Still cleaning up first.

JJ said...

After many long New Hampshire winters, during which time we lost many plants, we moved South. However, when I read stories like this, I feel myself back in snow country. May the weather and the plants heal quickly.

Daisy said...

Sorry to hear the deer did damage to your plants. The rhododendron is beautiful, though. Ours is blooming now too, and it seems amazing to me after the winter we had.