Here in zone 5, we divide our outdoor gardening into three parts. There is a fourth, of course, but I'd hardly call it gardening, unless you're lucky enough to have a heated greenhouse, and I'm not. That's not quite the same anyway.
Spring Workout - After a long, gray, cold winter, this is when we are delirious with joy at performing even the slightest chore in preparing our gardens for planting. Just clearing away the debris that accumulated over the previous months gives us satisfaction, because we're doing something.
We pick up speed like snow in an avalanche as we hurtle towards summer, when we'll be rewarded for all the back-breaking and exhausting days we have spent cultivating, planting, transplanting, mulching, watering - well, you know...all that stuff we need to do to help our little lovelies look their best.
Crawling into bed this time of year feels really good.
Summer Fun - Now this is the life! We can breathe a sigh of relief because it's all in the ground, growing, blooming, producing fruit and veggies, and filling the once-bare spaces.
These are the salad days. The reason we garden. Every breath of sweet fragrance from the blooms and the sight of all that color bursting out of the ground makes us smile and our hearts nearly burst from the delight of it.
It's not that there aren't things to do to keep it going, because there's always weeding, deadheading, watering, and garden pests to deal with. But we can at least pace ourselves a little more and not feel like we're in a race to get more done in a day than we really have the time and energy to do.
This is our reward.
Autumn Wind-down - A melancholy time of year, to be sure. In some ways, we're glad to be done with the seemingly endless upkeep that's required of us. We prepare our gardens for bedtime and the needed rest awaiting them. And we need it, too. Though we say we envy those that are able to garden year 'round, we know deep down that we welcome the respite and appreciate spring all the more because of it.
Still, we are sad to see it go. The first frost signals the garden to slow down and prepare to sleep. We hang onto each and every last bloom that comes our way because we know it will be a long time before we see them again.
So we are caught in the middle now, and the middle is a good place to be. It's the time I really enjoy our garden. I go out into it and sit and really look at it for the sheer beauty of things. There are flowers for cutting so I can bring the joy inside the house, too. And not a day goes by that we don't eat something that we grew.
The birds and butterflies are enjoying our garden now, too. It pleases me that they deem it fit to visit. Some will even take up residence there and raise a family. Our garden - their birthplace.
Every year it seems that summer goes by more quickly than the one before. Sometimes I'll just sit in the warmth of the sun and close my eyes and try to commit to memory how it feels, so when I'm shivering in the winter cold, I can summon the memory of that time. I keep thinking it will warm me and it never really does, but I don't stop trying to make it work.
Just relishing the moment in the sun is worth enough.
Monday, June 25, 2007