The Busy Gardener…

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In the Garden with Cindy

March is finally here and with the truly wretched winter we’ve had all gardeners I know are feeling a surge of hope and anticipation. I’m fortunate to have access to an active greenhouse so I’ve been soaking up the warmth generated by the sun and the heating system. I’ve also planted hundreds of seed in tiny flats to begin germination. I’ve separated the resulting seedlings with surgical gloves on my hands in an attempt to avoid crushing them with clumsy gardening gloves. At this time of year even experienced gardener’s hearts are filled with wonder over the potential of a tiny seed. Just to ponder over the tiny roma tomato plants barely two inches tall producing luscious fruit to bring pasta to life is to marvel over the promise and reward for hard work.

I’m also busy in my own rose garden pruning back dead and damaged canes from my collection of English and old roses. I’m careful to remember which roses bloom on old wood as to prevent the Dreaded Spring of No Roses I’ve experienced in the past. I’ve planned and planted romantic sounding annuals like “love in the mist” and “love lies bleeding” for my rose garden. I’m also going to plant some “zebrina” named for their multitude of purple striped flowers on heavy sprays of stalks. However, I don’t want a “prissy” little rose garden, I also plan to have zinnias in the bright colors of purple, scarlet, pink, and even a gorgeous shade of green, named “envy”. My irises have once again multiplied along with the tiny beginning blades of leaves from my day lilies. Every day I check my gardens to see what miracles are presenting themselves despite the sometimes cruel winds of March.

Right now my daffodils are blooming intense yellow amid the hundreds of grape hyacinths that were planted by the gardener who had my bungalow before me. I often think of her in the spring as I discover the sedums she planted that have endured beyond the confines of her own human life. I take these plants as gifts from her and I can’t help but to find a metaphor for my own life. I’m currently helping the Art Center in my hometown design a garden of native plants. Since the building once was a train depot, we thought we would take a cue from the plants that were already thriving on the sides of the rail road tracks and plant some of these in our native plant garden. Though this seems to be an arduous task to change out the tired old shrubs that were planted long ago for native plants, I think of this as a legacy for the future, it’s very reassuring to know I have left a garden for the next generation to enjoy. It’s a way of giving back the gifts of plants that have been left for me to enjoy. Do yourself a favor and volunteer to help with a public garden such as Daniel Stowe or any of the offerings in communities and churches. Plants are truly the gifts that keep on giving.