Thursday, March 29, 2012

This year, each morning, I walk out into the back yard and take inventory of the plants. Been a long time since that was a high priority, and I'm enjoying how my heart feels when I take the stroll from the double-blossomed red geranium beside the door, to the neon pink cyclamen blooming under the suddenly dark red leaved Japanese maple ...

I see some volunteers: a freesia getting ready to bloom where its parent planter used to be, some yellow nasturtiums already sending out long streamers, ready to conquer the world.

Then the troubling cucumber planter, where the seeds have not sprouted, and I don't know if I just planted them too early, or if the jays watched me, then dug them up and ate them.

The snow pea tub comes next, with more snow peas than you can shake a stick at, lush and green, the blossoms pure white. From there I wander to the tomato barrel, where "Bush Goliath" has set its first tiny tomato in spite of the chill nights.

I say hello to the first California poppies blooming nearby, nod smiling to the new pale green leaves of the grapevine and the temperamental avocado. The volunteer cosmos are growing by leaps and bounds, and look! -- there are potato leaves poking out of the soil in Potatoland! Behind them, flanking John's menacing artichoke, are two Roma tomato plants, looking smug in their little cages, begging for their booster of epsom salts.

Stopping to poach a spear of asparagus, I cast an eye on the space I hope to house a couple Big Daddy tomato plants in the not-too-distant future. The golden euonymus gets a warning as I pass: Stop harboring bindweed and rose-root bastards or we will dig you up and turn you into compost. (It's seven feet wide and has a trunk the size of my wrist, so it doesn't take me seriously.)

Loaded with buds and new blossoms, the Stella cherry grows sedately, sparklingly white blossoms in the morning sun. By the time this tree sets fruits, we'll have swathed it in bird netting so that the mockingbirds and the jays don't destroy the cherries. They take a bite out of each cherry, the greedy things, spoiling them for us before the cherries are even fully ripe.

I shake the hand of a branch of the fern pine we planted to provide summer shade for our bedroom window, salute the indefatigable alstromeria flowers that have colonized most of the bank, and avert my eyes from the obscene number of lemons hanging from the branches that stretch far over the birdbath from the back patio.

Our garden is beautiful, and I'm delighted to be enjoying it again.

Once inside, I visit my tomato seedlings in the windowsill.

Life is good.

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