Saturday, March 24, 2007

spring: fog in the garden

I've lived in Chicago for four years now, and in that time I've come to appreciate that spring comes and goes in the blink of an eye.

For about five days nestled between "cold and grey" and "blazing effing hot" is a brief period of what I'd characterize as similar to "soft Irish weather."

You can leave your windows open at night. The air has a texture to it that makes you want to stand still and just breathe. All around you the ground is fairly seething with signs of green as nature shakes off winter's stupor and starts to get down to business. All the more reason for us to spend a morning getting ready.

I like this time of potential. Today we'll go out into the garden and clean up the scattered remains of winter, reinforce the mulch, trim-back the sedum heads, sage branches and fountain grass stalks.

There are already some surprises. The bulbs we planted in the fall of 2005 are well ahead of where they were last spring. The sedum "Autumn Fire" is getting ready for a thuggish display of expansion, if the small rosettes of new growth are any sign.

And there are some worries. I don't know if the PJM rhododendrons survived, or if the fall bulbs got in far enough in advance of the first frost to take. Some of last summer's perennials are under the spotlight to see how they got along over the winter. And then there's the primrose: still green, but unproven as a survivor.

I worry about my garden like I worry about my product. If I do a good job in my garden, it will stand on its own and give lots of happiness to everyone who sees it. They won't see me - they shouldn't.

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