Last year, it was infernally dry, one of the hottest Summer seasons on record. My tomatoes bloomed and grew, but put forth no tomatoes. It was just too darn hot. I planted a hydrangea last year, a fancy variety planted strategically to screen my neighbors and ourselves from each other. It died.
Then over the Winter, the oregano exploded in growth. It took over almost an entire plot. The lavender has been looking happy instead of half-dead and sending out new growth. The lemon verbena started its Spring growth early and mounded up very prettily. Certain patches of lawn were looking very perky. All of a sudden I notice, holy cow, Spring is excellent and it's almost over!
One advantage to all this early rain and warmth is that my lawn has been feeling happy. All Fall and Winter, I raked and seeded, weeded and seeded some more. Now the front lawn actually looks green. Considering the sad, long- neglected state of our property, that is an unusually excellent state of affairs, believe me. All that incremental work has been paying off.
Not only does the front yard look inviting rather than scruffy, the backyard is looking more and more like an enticing expanse for play. Whenever the little girl passes by, she is drawn to it. We hear an "Eeeeeeee!" and before we can stop her, she has jumped the border, and is running down the hill, to the back fence, making loops over the lawn, and collapsing into the grass. That just wasn't possible until recently. Never mind that there are still whole swaths of lawn she is not allowed in yet - persistent poison ivy and whatnot - this looks like a playground to her. The family of rabbits who live in our backyard think likewise. Here, hawk, hawk! Nice tender rabbits over here.
So I keep weeding and pulling vines, and picking up endless numbers of sweet gum balls (hundreds!) courtesy of a neighboring tree, raking old sticks and debris, pulling ticks off myself (sorry!), reseeding any patch of mud or bare ground, spritzing the poison ivy - persistent buggery seedlings! - and keeping ahead of the rain schedule. I still have much, much, much to do, but we can see the progress, and it heartens us.
Of course, part of regrowing the grass means cutting it regularly to keep it neat. I can't cut the entire property on one charge (we have an electric mower), so I do it in sections. One day I trim the edges with the weed whacker and mow the front. A few days later, I pick up sticks and those infernal sweet gum balls. A few days later, I mow the back and whatever of the side yard I can stomach. I pick up more sticks and pull some vines. I mow the side yard in its entirety. I zap new sprigs of poison ivy I've noted. I pull weeds, and rake and seed bare spots. Then I start again on the front yard. It looks good! Now I just have to distribute that mulch from the tree work we had done two years ago.
This weekend, my husband asked me what I wanted to do for Mother's Day. I said, "Plant the garden!" Luxury.
I put in some heirloom tomatoes, interspersed with marigolds and basil. I finally planted the dill and new parsley. I contemplated where I'd plant the annuals. I plotted digging up the dead hydrangea and planting a new one. Then I picked up seed balls and sticks, etc, spritzed and weeded, etc, reseeded, etc.
Just in time. More rain is on its way. Hi Spring - I hope you're having fun! It's Garden Time.