Friday, March 29, 2013

Season Cycle

          Season cycle moving round and round  
          Pushing life up from a cold dead ground  
          (It's growing green, it's growing green)     

I never used to be the gardening type.  For starters, I spent most of my early adult life in Chicago where, at times, I didn't even have so much as a balcony.  I once tried to buy a small ivy plant for my kitchen, but it promptly got aphids and died.  So much for that.

Then I moved to North Carolina where, frankly, it's just too darn hot to garden.  I had an average sized yard, but no money and certainly no motivation to go out there and labor in 100 degree temperatures.  We used to liken our backyard to the surface of the sun, which I still contend was not that much of an exaggeration.  The only gardening I did in NC was to prune a few boxwoods and spread some pinestraw mulch.  Baby steps, I guess.

And then we fell in love with a house on a densely wooded acre in New York.  We had no idea what we were in for in terms of maintenance, but couldn't help being wooed by the gorgeous property.  And in three short years, I became a gardening fool.

Fair warning, as it starts to warm up, I don't think I can keep myself from blogging about my yard.  In my mind, it's just like another room (or two, or three, or four... ) of my house.  Living here has made me start to appreciate my outdoor surroundings just as much as my indoor ones and, accordingly, I now find myself putting a huge amount of time and effort into the former.

Of course I had to get used to a little of this:

Or rather, in the case of the slugs, a WHOLE LOT of that.  Hosta eating bastards.

I also had to deal with this:

Sandy.  Good grief--in our few short years here, we've already had both Irene and then Sandy.  Enough already, Long Island!  We were completely unscathed by Irene, but Sandy did a number on my street (and, of course, throughout the region; we experienced nothing compared to so many others).  We were fortunate enough to only sustain wind/tree damage and about 10 days of power loss, but the impact on the yard was significant and will only be fully realized once the weather begins to warm up.

Where there was once a thick bank of towering, mature trees, there is now just empty space.  My front "yard," with its myriad of shade loving groundcovers and perennials, is going to FREAK OUT, I suspect.  I'm bracing for the worst, but still holding out hope that much of it will adapt to the new light conditions.  It's crazy how much things can change, and how out of control we are when it comes to Mother Nature.

Yesterday we had our spring clean-up done.  (Don't judge; it's humanly impossible for me to keep up with all of this myself.  Once a year, I call in the reinforcements.)  Due to Sandy and some other distractions, I never really finished dealing with the debris of fall.  There were leaves everywhere and nothing but spent perennials poking up from the mess.  It was depressing, honestly.  But look what was hiding under all that...

The tulip bulbs I planted last fall with my boys are popping up everywhere.  The crocus are fully out; closed in the cool mornings, but full and lively with the afternoon sun.  It amazes me every year:  under all that yuck and mess, there's always new life just waiting to be uncovered.

The hostas are just starting to break through.  I know I'm officially a gardening nut by how incredibly giddy this makes me feel.  I can't explain it... it's something about knowing the potential of these tiny white nubbins that just makes me feel incredibly excited for what's to come.  And I love the fact that no matter how scorched and slug-eaten these things get by the summer's end, I can rest assured they will come back, good as new, for another round.

          Autumn is royal as spring is clown 
          (But to repaint summer)  
          To repaint summer they're closing winter down

                    -- XTC, "Season Cycle," Skylarking, 1986

View from front door:  fall pre-Sandy (top), 2013 blizzard (bottom left), and yesterday (bottom right)

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