Humming Along with Spring

Sunlight is dull and muted as it hits the winter-faded tangles of grass and weeds. Is there a bulb garden left under there?

Layer by layer the plastic red rake strikes out against loose detritus over and over. One pass. 2nd pass. Bugs scattering once their covers are carried away. Worms bathe in the bright sunlight, uncertain which way to go.

Taking a closer approach. Getting muddy, up close and personal with green weeds wending their way skyward. Some almost breaking through the dirt beyond their purple runners. The smell of fresh dirt finally makes it way to my nose. Ahhh. Now, now this is spring.

Weeds are still smaller than the five yellow crocus – blooming strong since they’re uncovered. Those 5 crocus strengthened my resolve and inspired a bit longer work with the still small weeds, because there are tons more waiting to burst through after being released from the gridlock covering them all winter. (Whose idea was it to fertilize the gardens last year?)

Three Azaleas. My quest the next day. Last year passers-by couldn’t see them through the sticky-seed-weeds and grasses that grew. Cinderblocks placed around them didn’t stop the ever-pushy lilies from crowding in, attempting to drown the azaleas. This garden was created with the left over lilies as the backdrop. Purple geranium clumps and yellow-orange day-lilies were added to the end. Three Azalea bushes planted with hostas in front, rounding out the shape of the garden. Two or three years ago the cinder-blocks were no longer needed elsewhere, so I placed them between the lilies and azaleas, knowing how lilies act and like to take over.

Cleaning this area out took two rakings, two passes with the flat hoe, then the final go-round with a pointy hoe. The flat hoe was a gift from friends, what a fantastic old tool. Weathered wood, slightly rusted blade, not a danger to anything but stubborn as heck to pull out ground-hugging foliage and roots. Many layers of leaves, dried together, they come right along as if carried by a stream from below. Old hosta stalks break off and are carried closer as well. Tomorrow I’ll pick off sticky-seed weeds -gloves, pants, jacket…oh well. Better than in the ground. We’re humming right along!

Two or three more garden areas to clean up. Two tree and bush areas to completely clear under and minimize maintenance in the future. Liberal use of landscape fabric and mulch to the azalea garden. Rain garden will be enlarged again and simplified, persistently sprouting bushes taken out for the last time.

Who knows when things will get completed but we’re using a “slow-drip” approach this year. I’m wishing we’d been able to put in that prairie after clearing this end of the yard a decade ago. Looks like we could in the future with neighboring lots changing. Old dreams for younger people perhaps.

I’m taking the advice I found myself sharing with so many people in the past year…”At our ages, we’ll never have more energy to complete large projects, than we do this year.” We’ll likely have fewer abilities and stamina moving forward. Mostly I was talking with people who’d been admitted to the hospital multiple times within 12-18 months and needed to discuss their true goals and intentions.

Then it hit me. I love our yard and gardens, but there are 19 areas that need tending for weeds and such. I love being outdoors but weeding is relegated to early spring plus a little, then autumn. Ours is not a manicured look. I seem to do well cutting weeds all season long before they seed and spread, pulling them out by the roots. Tracing runners…this year with our friend, the pointy hoe. Simplification is the goal. One of my friends said that’s why she’s kept hers to 2 gardens and very low maintenance. Smart choice for her.

Balance and not overwhelm this year. Writing, gardening, weed management, time with loved ones. Health and time are the greatest gifts I get. Take care and best wishes!