by Nancy Oakes
Okay, blame me. After the last two winters without snow, I've been doing a little dance each time it snowed this year to keep it on the ground for a nice blanket for the garden. But,...enough already! It's mid-April and it's overkill. How bad is it? I was all set to dig through the snow to see if the hellebores were blooming, when that April first storm whacked us and put the snow pack back over the pergola railing. Could it get worse? My friends know me too well. Got a call asking if my head was in the oven yet. Not yet, but close.
I'm trying to maintain a gardening frame of mind, but I can't seem to settle. I wander from gardening book to gardening magazine then over to the piles of catalogues. But none of it holds my interest for too long. I'm just plain tired of it all. I don't want to think about gardening. I don't even want to look out the windows. In desperation I start to clean the house. The dust is flying. Stuff is being sorted. Piles are made for the yard sale or the dump. Nothing is safe.
By the time I'm done there's a pile of gardening books three feet high. Maybe this is a bit excessive. I start going through them again and out falls a wish list from who knows when. At the top of the list is Witch Hazel. There was supposed to be a small grove of them on the other side of the apple trees, where they would be seen from the kitchen window. Maybe they'd be blooming now if I'd ever found them. Instead I planted the cutleaf Sumac, which has effectively turned into a weed and will be torn out by its nasty little roots this spring. Maybe there's a chance for the Witch Hazel, if it's to be found.
Well, surprise, surprise. What have we here? A little spark of garden anticipation. Just the thought of pulling something out seems to have sown its own little seed of hope. That Sumac is at the edge of a bed which is above the hole in the ground where the non-existent pond is slated to go. I've promised I won't start any more projects until the ones that have already been started are done. Maybe I do need all those water gardening books after all. I know one of them has a good list of absolutely gotta have plants. Oooh...Rheum-ornamental rhubarb-didn't I order seeds for that a couple of years ago? Did I ever plant it? Where are all those seeds anyway? Do I have any vermiculite? Potting soil? Cell packs? Darn, they're all out in the greenhouse. Okay, I'm putting on my boots, I'm grabbing a shovel, I'm heading outside. Maybe I should leave a note in case I get swallowed by a drift. Nah,...it's spring, how bad can it be?
Nancy Oakes lives in AHS region 4, Zone 5, and owns an AHS Display Garden called Red Lane Gardens. Address: Red Lane Gardens, RR 3, Belfast, PEI C0A 1A0 www.peisland.com/day/lilies.htm and www.isn.net/~noakes/index