The Lucky Gardener

Opening Day
March 30, 2010, 12:07
Filed under: Uncategorized

What marks the arrival of Spring for you? Is it one thing in particular, like the classic sighting of the first robin? Or seeing bags of grass seed stacked outside the hardware store? Or maybe, like me, it is simply something in the air. For those of us who garden in the Northeast, our personal Rites of Spring are usually tied to events happening in our own backyards.

Gardening has become a national pastime of huge proportions. And, partly because we have become a nation of gardeners, Spring is perhaps the longest-awaited time of the year. It seems that no matter how closely we watch for the signs, the annual rebirth of plants begins long before we realize it–bulbs and perennials popping through the ground, tree buds swelling in readiness to leaf, a hint of color on the Forsythias and a sudden awareness that the remnant debris of Winter on our property needs to be dealt with.

Of course, it isn’t just plants that point the way to Spring. Starting in early March, young turkeys descend on our lawn, the goldfinches flying around our birdfeeders turn yellow again and swarms of tiny insects appear out of nowhere, buzzing by for brief moments, only to be gone with the wind. The neighborhood cats overcome their cold weather phobias to, once again, maraud the birds that were fortunate enough to survive the harshness of winter.

Spring is also the beginning of that other national pastime, baseball. Opening day is another of the most-anticipated events in our country. We follow the teams and players for weeks beforehand, watching them stretch, run and throw, working out the kinks in their bodies and games.

Unfortunately, gardeners don’t get a Spring Training to ease them into the season. Our opening days count, and are typically followed by stints on the disabled list with calluses, sore muscles and pulled backs.

These two national obsessions are similar in many ways. Like baseball players, gardeners get to work outside and roll around on the grass and we don’t work in the rain. Our seasons last only during warm weather, and, like baseball teams, gardeners will travel during the season to other gardens near and far. We even trade plants between gardens–sometimes scandalously in mid-season.

I love visiting other gardener’s gardens. I learn a lot when I’m listening to someone describe the thought processes behind their creations. I enjoy having people walk through my gardens, too, but as much as I enjoy visiting new gardens, being surrounded by my own plants, rocks and thoughts definitely qualifies as my own home field advantage.

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