I’ve always been an evening gardener. It’s as though I live in some tortuously hot place like New Orleans or South Florida where one has to rise at dawn or race the fireflies into the yard in order to plant and tend. My energy is best in the late hours of the day–it’s when I write, when I cook, when I think.
My garden here–where we’ve lived two long, dry summers–is a sad thing. When we arrived, I found two struggling rose bushes and some ornamental grass that hadn’t been cut back once, I think, since it was planted. Last year, I put in some Coreopsis and some necessary herbs: sage and rosemary and lavender. Hardy things that I could enjoy, but essentially ignore. I also put in some annuals, including plenty of petunias for the hummingbirds. This year, we were gone for the early season, and so it’s empty of annuals, and only the yellow buttons of Coreopsis show anything but green.
Hungry for color, I raided the last-chance stand at the grocery store yesterday. I grabbed two baskets of blooming begonia and three pots of budless geraniums that needed rescuing. And so tonight, as the last hummingbirds of the day dove for the feeder, I put them in the ground. My tools were dusty and the fertilizer was clumpy from sitting on the potting bench since fall. When I was finished, the garden still looked sparse.
This week we will have lived in Illinois for exactly two years. I wish I’d started immediately on improving the garden, on making it my own–our family’s own. But I’ve been doing other things, like writing nearly every day. And there are only so many hours in each day.
We make our choices. If we’re lucky, we grow in new directions.
The plum tree, dwindling, contains less of the spring;
But the garden is wider, and holds more of the moon.–Zen Saying