It’s Spring, glorious Spring! The sky is a pure, radiant blue. Green is everywhere, filling the valley with vineyards, farms, and backyard gardens. Andie and I have become mad dog gardeners. I mean, who else but avid gardeners and English men toil in the noonday sun? Our little piece of paradise is swathed in the deep rose fragrances of 30 specimens, mixed with blue Rosemary, which in hot sun release their perfumes to mix with the intoxicating scent of white citrus blooms.
It takes a lot of work to pull a garden back into shape after Winter, but the toil is so rewarding. Andie mostly hunts and explores while I scoot about on an old patio cushion, weeding, planting, and pruning. These days I have to carry around a heavy stick with which to rise from the ground on weakened legs. The good news in that seeming misfortune is that one really gets to absorb the micro world of the tiny beauties that inhabit it. It reminds me of those times when a flat tire marooned us on the side of a country road and we had to wait in a landscape we rarely noticed in our fast pace to be somewhere else. Time seems to slow to a halt and the beauties of the location delight us with charm. I am at an age now where the distractions of a world from which I am largely estranged recede for the most part into the past and everyday with Andie is my immediate future.
The tomatoes are in, planted in old wine barrels. I’ve learned to ignore all the fancy hybrids and cherry beauties to stick to the old heirlooms, with their never failing size and deliciousness. Andie likes to jump up and stand on the barrel potting soil and watch me plant. I usually plant half the crop at first and then three weeks later, the other half so as to stretch out our favorite supply of tomato sandwiches well into the Fall. There is nothing like a thick tomato sando with mayo, sourdough, salt and pepper.
Even the Japanese pond garden got a face lift this year. I had to rake off all the old water hyacinths, and top scum to see what’s what. Usually I mulch the goop, but Andie took to raiding the pile and dragging them into the house and placing them in arrangements along the hallway or her daybed, where all things mysterious and/or desirable find rest and storage.
It was all good news. The old orange carp is still alive ( named Koithuselah ) and all the water lilies transplanted and re-potted have survived. A huge blob of horsetail that was clotting the end of the pond and spreading like Kudzu had to be pulled out and that was a major and tiring exercise. It was like trying to pull a waterlogged arm chair. I didn’t have a heart attack. It’s looking good now and we rest on the shaded swing drinking coffee this morning to admire our handy work.
The latest addition to the garden is a twig trellis outside the bedroom window, which will be covered with morning glories in a month or so. It’s creation is a tradition of sorts. During the Summer when I was so critically ill Trace planted tall pale blue Saliva beneath the window so I could watch hummingbirds feed from their nectar and then in the Fall observe wild yellow finches alight and eat the seeds. These icons of the heart sooth grief. Andie likes to look out the window as much as I do so it’s a two-fer good thing.
April has been a special month for Andie and me. She turned two and I turned seventy. What a combo, and what an incredibly joyful number of weeks it has been with kind celebrations of friends and dear ones. Andie and I are most grateful for the encounters that convince the weary that love is the greatest expression of life imaginable. Andie is grateful that I am the treat mage and I, she my head licking alarm clock.
Speaking of nap time: