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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Five Seasons



The Five Seasons


Dark

            Never-ending cold. The sidewalks are slippery. I hate having to be careful!

            Snow is forecast ten days from now. They've been right sometimes. I'll scatter some soil amendments on the beds before then, so they'll soak in slowly as the snow melts.

            Plenty of time to update garden maps using last year's changes. Drawn with Microsoft Paint, then printed for reference.

            Arranging photos of flowers, herbaceous beds, and fall colors can take days. Some even make the cut and wind up on the web. The garden didn't really look that good? It must have been a Photoshop trick.

            Deer eating the azaleas? NO! Bambi must die!

            The dark months, after the leaves have been picked up, are the time to get acquainted with your house's interior. The living room, kitchen, bedroom, bath. Got it. Stuck inside.

            Another two months of this? Get me out of here!



Bright

            The point. The full year of work comes to this: great looking flowers.

            Standing among them in the early morning, steam slowly spinning skyward from my personal coffee cup, shoes shiny with dew, nowhere else in the world matches this. Later in the day, visitors will enjoy the scene. Did I pick up all the dead leaves? I wish they were here Tuesday when that 'Amoenum' looked great!

            “Kodak Moments”, toothy grins spread wide. Less clich├ęd when in front of a bright wall of flowers than during other seasons.

            Is that yellow bird fan-dancing through the leaves a Kentucky Warbler or a Yellowthroat? But, I know where my bird book is.

            Trees and grass show off a light green. The sun is warm and plans develop unhurried by distracting insects or cold winds. No rush. It seems this could last forever.

            Couldn't be better!



Thick

            Pushing through dense air and vegetation.

            Bug repellent, headbands, and hoses.

            I'm holding on in the face of extreme heat and drought, continuing into the next day, and the next, and … some herbaceous plants are giving up and collapsing. A few small plants in pots leave this vale of tears. Where do they go? Should that be “this veil of tears?”

            Main activities: dragging hoses all over the yard, mixing dirt for new beds, and top-dressing old ones later.

            Trees and grass settle into dark green.

            Ah, some summer flowers are showing off: daylilies, mimosa, milkweed. Butterflies are getting attention. I forget how to tell the Spicebush Swallowtail from the dark morphed Tiger Swallowtail. But, I know where the butterfly book is.

            Scratching bites. Where'd that poison ivy rash come from?




            Ahhhh (Finally)

            Temperatures tick lower. Mosquito clouds thin.

            I work in my undershirt without defending against bugs or cold. Neighbors look the other way.

            The best time of year for planting and transplanting.

            Dreaming of next year. We'll expand that bed and top-dress the other. Do I want to start a new bed by the fence now? Leave it 'til later?

            Fall asters and sedum are still attracting butterflies.

            Dragonflies! Is that an Eastern Pondhawk or a Slaty Skimmer? But, I know where the dragonfly book is.

            Tree leaves surviving, a little worn and bug-bitten. Grass browning.


Brown

            The world turns brown, up and down.

            Still planting and transplanting. Give the roots time to settle in and feed.

            Raking and making. Leaves turn into compost, which turns into top-dressing for beds.

            Is that leaf from a Pin Oak or a Spanish Oak? But, I know where my tree book is.

            New life amid the old strife: arum and rohdea japonica start to grow in the cool winds, to die back the next summer, now sharing the newly thinned beds with erect hellebores. Are those really crocus and daffodil shoots expanding above the surface?

            Flashes of orange and red. That's why I grow Japanese Maples. And some of the azalea leaves are blazing red and yellow. Wow, that sky is really blue!



And Again … Dark

            A new season of cold and stasis wraps around the calendar, and into my mind, pushing me back through the door, to room temperatures echoing the African savanna I was created for.

            Will this cold wind never end?

            Fade to Dark.


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