The Lucky Gardener


April 27, 2012, 15:15
Filed under: garden design, inspiration, sprig flowers, Uncategorized

Trillium – a sure sign of Spring

What marks the arrival of Spring for you?

Is it one thing in particular? Perhaps the classic sighting of the first robin, spotting the first snowdrops or crocuses, or seeing bags of grass seed stacked outside the hardware store? Maybe, like me, it is simply something in the air – the moist, rich smell of soil readying to nurture its emerging plant life for another season.

Gardening has become a national pastime of huge proportions – there is even a National Dandelion Day. (Incidentally, World Naked Gardening Day is May 5th). We have become a nation of gardeners for whom Spring is perhaps the most anticipated time of the year.

Of course, plants aren’t the only life form that points the way to Spring’s arrival. Starting in early March, young turkeys descend on our lawn, the goldfinches flying around our birdfeeders regain their yellow plumage and swarms of tiny insects appear out of nowhere, buzz about for brief moments, then vanish with the wind.

Another indicator is the beginning of the greatest national pastime…Baseball. That sport’s Opening Day celebration is possibly the most-anticipated event in our country. For weeks before, we follow the players through their pre-season warm-ups, watching them stretch, run and throw while working out the kinks in their bodies and long-dormant skills. These weeks of practice remind their muscles how to prepare for the grind of the long campaign ahead.

Gardeners don’t get a Spring Training, nothing to ease them into the season. Our first days count, and are typically followed by calluses, sore muscles and stints on our own Disabled List. And unfortunately, we don’t have a 0 or extra players on a bench to replace us.

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, as baseball teams go from city to city, gardeners will travel during the season to other gardens near and far. And, as with the occasional mid-season trading of players, gardeners have been known to trade plants, even in the intense heat of summer, when an opening develops or something we already have just isn’t working out.

I love visiting other gardener’s gardens, always learning by listening to someone else’s ideas and walking through their inspired creations.

But, as much as I appreciate the novelty in visiting new gardens, I feel no greater comfort than while surrounded by the familiar, deep-rooted affection I have for my own.

A clear home-field advantage.



Dear Village of Nyack,

Dear Village of Nyack…

Good-bye. It was fun while it lasted.

I just won’t be able to see you anymore.

I will certainly miss watching you move through each day, from the early morning light reflecting off Hook Mountain, to the last bits of sunset creeping over your tallest buildings.

No longer will seeing your traffic lights, eerily glowing on foggy nights, make me feel part of a suspense thriller or Sherlock Holmes novel.

Your firework displays were always a special treat.

No. We’re not moving away.

It’s just that the long-vacant lot adjacent to our property has been sold and the house to be built on it will block our views of the entire town.

Worse yet, the occupants will be close enough to borrow a cup of sugar, or share a bottle of Grey Poupon mustard without much of a stretch.

We always knew this day would come. We’d taken advantage of these views for years, through the property developer’s misfortune. As long as lots remained available, we had our private perch above town.

According to the floor plan, the master bedroom is on the side of the house facing us. Its bathroom window directly across from ours.

This new homestead will put a cramp on our lifestyle, forcing changes in some long-standing rituals. And, we must surrender the land we’ve cultivated and stewarded – well, invaded really – for years.

This means moving the trampoline fifteen feet closer to our house, transplanting trees and shrubs back to our side of the property line and no more ‘composting’ our leaves and grass clippings into their deep woods. A few chomps of a backhoe bucket will obliterate the stone patio that represents our most egregious trespass.

Of all the adjustments, however, the most disconcerting will be the end of a favorite morning ritual – frenetic chases through the house, usually ‘in-the-buff’, brought about by the reticence of our child, who shall remain nameless, to brush teeth or use the bathroom or to simply get dressed.

Our floor-to-ceiling windows will provide the new neighbors front row seats for these romps. No longer shared solely by the local fauna, I fear the incidences will be misconstrued, perhaps as lewd, at the very least crude.

But who knows, perhaps they will be similarly inclined toward ‘au naturale’ living. Then, though I’ll lose some views of the Nyack’s land and nighttime sky, I might get to see a different type of moon!