I remember my childhood names for grasses and secret flowers. I remember where a toad may live and what time the birds awaken in the summer — and what trees and seasons smelled like — how people looked and walked and smelled even. The memory of odors is very rich.
~ John Steinbeck East of Eden
Winter is melting away here and the first signs of spring are appearing; bulbs are emerging, the ground is thawing, and buds are fattening. Soon the scent of spring will overtake the bland smell of winter. A rich earthy odor will release as frost leaves the ground, buds will open and fill the air with fragrance, and sap will run adding its own spicey flare.
Our sense of smell is powerful, and stirs our memory reminding us of times past. The smell of wild onion when digging takes me to my grandfather’s backyard as a boy, and the scent of the foliage of PJM Rhododendron instantly transports me back to a nursery I worked in many years ago, my first job in the industry. As spring awakens and we busy ourselves with the tasks of the yard and garden, I hope you find happiness in the memory of odor!
What smells spark memory in you? Are they happy memories? I’d love to hear about them!
A garden should make you feel you’ve entered privileged space — a place not just set apart but reverberant — and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry.
~ Michael Pollan
This morning we turned the clocks ahead in that yearly ritual that no one seems to understand, daylight savings time. For those of us who spend the long winter days thinking about lush foliage and sinking our hands into the dark crusty earth, this weekend stirs something deep within. It reminds us that although there still may be snow on the ground, we are nearing the garden season. Hope returns, knowing that spring’s first official day is imminent and we will soon spend our time outdoors, working the soil, nurturing our souls!
I love the way Michael Pollan describes the feel of a garden in the quote above. A garden, or landscape, is more than just a collection of plants or a place to dine on a late summer’s eve. Your outdoor spaces should evoke a sense of you and your passions. It should affect you on a deeper more intimate level. Don’t you think?
What do you feel in your garden? What poetry have you created? I’d love to hear about your successes, your failures, and most importantly, your for the upcoming season.
Happy gardening my friends and take heart, for spring is imminent!
There is a fifth unofficial season here in Southern New England, between the melting of the last snow pile and the brilliant yellow bloom of the Forsythia, that tests the patience of a gardener. The early spring rains and winter’s runoff create a palate of blurred, soggy, squishy, earth tones, which those who speak without poetic license simply call mud. But there is color to be found for those who would look, simple pleasures that can soothe the impatient soul. Here are a few such instances, may they warm your hearts and ready your spirit for the season to come!
Early spring is an excellent time to view and enjoy the exfoliating bark of Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia).
I pass by this small meadow quite often, and find myself lost in it’s simple beauty. Since last summer this grass has stood upright through wind rain and heavy snow. And even though it’s of the “Mud Season” color scheme, I find it quite beautiful here in April. And many thanks to the town maintenance department for not mowing the entire patch of land!
Korean Rhododendron (Rhododendron mucronulatum) is the earliest flowering Rhodie in this area. This specimen has had a few off years of late, but is making up for it in 2013. It’s clean pink blooms light up the landscape.
And , it would be impossible to write this post without the Crocus. This grouping has been slowly coming around. For many of our past 16 years here there has been only the dark grassy-green foliage to look at, but it appears that will change in the future!
What popping in your garden? I’d love to hear about the colors of your “Mud Season”!
The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.
~ Henry van Dyke
Mother nature threw up a speed bump for the first day of spring in the form of a late winter snowfall. We are not deterred though, as warmer weather is at hand and we’ll be out working in the garden very soon.
Happy Spring everyone!