It has been a cold and laggardly springtime. There has been rain--not hours of deluge, but bursts of rain varying from persistent drizzle to brief but heavy showers that drummed loudly on our metal roof. The wind, stirring through trees that have held the slightest promise of green leaves, has had a bite that would have seemed better suited to March.
The sun has appeared just often enough to give us assurance that it still exits.
We have kept a fire, letting it putter along, enough to keep out the damp chill.
Last year my heirloom clematis, 'Candida', opened a first blossom on 5 April and within a week the vine was covered in bloom.
Night after April night this year, temperatures have dipped a few degrees below the freezing point; I draped the trellis in an old tablecloth, using clothespins to hold it in place.
Inevitably the cold seeped under and around the covering and I have fretted over the many frost-blighted buds.
The undamaged buds are to be treasured!
This morning I counted five open blossoms.
Fog was heavy this morning when I ventured out before 7. The bend in the lane, the lower farmhouse, stable, and even the nearer goat pastures were swathed in white mist.
Looking down the brook it appeared as though someone had flung sheer white handkerchiefs over grass and twigs.
Bobby Mac picked his way through the wet grass and weeds.
Frost has not damaged the invasive wild honeysuckle.
At a little after 8, sunshine was vanquishing the mist--and my camera, on the second trip outside, decided to change to the correct date.
The tulip poplar which looms beyond the kitchen window is finally putting forth leaves. It is usually the earliest dooryard tree to break dormancy.
The strawberry plants in the garden strip at the end of the lane have blossomed abundantly in spite of the cold. Vigorous new plants have formed from runners.
Both the strawberries and the raspberry canes have propagated themselves--without regard to proper boundaries.
Jim decreed that we should do some dividing and transplanting this noon--as well as attacking the weeds which seem to be perennial.
The sun was warm, the rich soil alive with earthworms.
The baby goats [belonging to our renters] had been brought out for the day to a newly enclosed area in front of the house. Even the two youngest, born Monday, are ready to caper about, bouncing with the three older ones. When they are tired, all five fold into a companionable heap--a quick nap before they are up and busy again.
Back at the house, I made a raspberry milkshake--thick with vanilla ice cream--carried it out to the side porch where I have seedlings to transplant into larger pots: rosemary and foxglove.
I sowed cantaloupe, an heirloom variety, and some of the seeds saved from neighbor Fred's large 'pink' tomatoes. [He lost the label last year, so they have become 'Fred's Pink!']
Since i was already grubby, I decided to work in the perennial strip. It was a decidedly disheartening attempt to create order. The soil there is still too damp and heavy to work up well--and the plantations of mugwort and other nameless weeds have flourished in spite of my dogged efforts to be rid of them. The winter brought losses: none of the salvia survived. There are other gaps--but I can't recall what should be there!
I've been eyeing the butterfly bush [buddleia] with misgivings--not wanting to accept winter-kill.
F. was here on a errand when I was poking dolefully at it. He snapped off twigs here and there, confirming my fears and recommending that it be cut back to just above the new growth appearing at the base of the stump. Jim made short work of it with the chainsaw and I dragged off the dry grey branches. I'm hopeful the new growth with be strong and there may be an autumn flowering. In the meantime, that corner of the garden looks suddenly bare.
I feel that this is the season when I must find solutions for dealing with the weeds which have persisted through applications of mulch; then there are the weeds which clamber over and under the pasture fence to invade.
Do I give in to my rickety knees, abandon the plants which have tenaciously survived?
At such times I mourn the garden I created at our first Kentucky home--hours of work to maintain, but good soil, better options in terms of space and sunlight.
I daresay I will persist--try to find ways to grow the flowers I love--creaking, grumbling, but still gardening!