As soon as the snow melts and it's warm enough to be outside, that's where you'll find me. Opening and cleaning the greenhouse, preparing planters and flower pots, cleaning up deadfall on the lawn and in the beds and doing the first round of weeding. It's amazing how quickly those weeds appear while everything else is weeks away from waking up. There they sit, winking like little emeralds, as if the six month freeze was nothing to them. All the while this is happening I am planning which perennials to move around and how I will plant my annuals.
The first mowing also happens as early as possible and serves mostly to pick up twigs, leaves and thatch, and to capture that first smell of fresh cut grass from the longer patches that remained under the protection of the late melting snow banks. The patio gets its first wash and the outdoor furniture is taken out from the shed and last year's bird-poop is either rubbed off the cushions, or rubbed in. You see, pretty much for the whole of summer, yard work is my full time job. I have to stay on top of things because 3 acres of lawn and at least 8 very large flower beds can get out of hand ... and be potentially overwhelming! Alright, it is definitely overwhelming, but in the long run, keeping up is easier that catching up. I do it because a nice yard feeds my soul, and there’s only one way to get one. A few years ago we started with nothing but a patch of cow pasture heavily peppered with rocks - above and below the ground. Now it's a little garden of Eden, or maybe more correctly, 'garden of weed'n.' It has been worth the work.
What new features will there be this year? For a start, the have the newly terraced but still incomplete vegetable patch to work on. The plan is to potentially anchor it with rustic little garden shed. I'm thinking weathered wood, cedar shingles, and coloured shutters with barn door hinges. Maybe we can finally use those old window frames we collected a few years ago and the rusted old garden tools I salvaged from the thrift store, also years ago. They will find their resting place on its walls. Some time back with huge delight I wheeled a squeaky old wheelbarrow to the car, much the worse for wear, all scabby with red oxide and holier than the pope. A nice old gent looked at me all baffled and asked "you paid money for that thing?" But, claiming my $2 treasure actually felt like I'd won the jackpot. Then our dear friend Bob proved his thoughtful attentiveness on my recent birthday and presented me with a most unusual object for most: a rusted cast iron vintage tractor seat. The one that looks like a giant denture plate sans the teeth. Isn't that what every garden-loving girl needs? I cant wait for it all to come together...
So far spring has been a very bumpy ride for the garden. It warmed up beautifully and the forecast was positive, so despite it being early I planted out my green bounty that I had been nurturing under lights in the studio since March. Mother Nature managed to rudely cough up two frosty fur balls and I, needless to say have since replaced many wilted and deceased love-raised seedlings with store bought ones. Some trees and shrubs have also had their buds frozen off and I live in hope they will recover. It's out of my hands so I don't fret too much. But what I am able to do is done: my planting is done, wood chip mulch is on and I have waved the magic wand of Miracle-Gro while chanting a few choice phrases. "Grow buggers, grow!" Good rains have watered well and I look forward to mowing, again... and again... and again. It's a very busy time, and a wonderful time, and just before I actually collapse in October the first flakes of snow will dance down and I will welcome them. By then I ought to have heaps of new inspiration for painting.