Friday, May 2, 2008

Horticultural slumming

When I first started out, I couldn't have loved the ubiquitous vinca, the graceless juniper, or the primrose that all but screams "old lady here!" They were simple plants, poked into the ground by simple people who just didn't know better than to go to the nearest garden megamart and ask for something "hardy."

These plants survive day after day of not enough and too much.

Now I swoon watching a plain purple vinca kissing a vibrant indigo muscari. The deep crevases in a primrose leaf hold secrets and juniper berries land lightly like alien pods in my palms.

I am the old lady here and I carry the weight and the grace of knowing what old ladies know.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


I've been talking to my irises twice daily trying to draw the blooms out of them, alternately with manic cheer and plunger-like desparation. With my usual ignorant swagger I've promised people at Joyful abundant flowers by May 10th and now, sitting here by the window with snow falling past my left ear and a dog on my feet, I'm beginning to worry.

Yesterday petals fluttered on breathy wind from my flowering crabapple and gathered almost formally along the walkway. I admired this year's pruning job, a giant, perfectly round parasol that only rains on the inside and only rains ladylike pink fingerprints that haven't decided on a crime.

Today wet snow splays all branches and stems in its path so my lilacs stand embarrassingly spread-eagled and the geranium incanum have something like male-pattern baldness.

But the food (and it does always come down to the food, whether it's a greasy, blousy pancake or the first leaf on the first radish sprout) are catching every possible flake on their tongues. Happy. Spring.