Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Mysteries of Gardening

All winter long there's been this non describe bush by the side of the house. It had sprouted some time before I met Keith and those long dead buds had petrified into hard, brown shells that clung on all through the winter. Last summer I had brutally cut it back. I didn't like; I didn't like the shape of the leaves or the spindly branches.

This spring it put out buds very, very early and for that I developed a fondness for the bush. Day after day I would watch the leaves slowly uncurling, revealing tightly packed buds. Over weeks, those buds have grown up, reaching for the sun and spreading out into a pattern that seemed familiar to me.

I cut away all the dead buds and waited until one morning when I went out and saw that the buds were distinctly purple and shaped like the tips of arrows, and that the leaves were thin, jade green and pointed at the ends. Yes. It was a lilac bush all along.

Memories of lilac bushes have sunk their roots deep into my childhood, the tumbled, tangled shelter they made under their branches, where the packed dirt of the bank was cool and smooth and the little birds fussed about in the green over head, the way they stood eight feet tall, it seemed and the scent of lilacs, which is pure heaven.

That is not the only surprise my yard has landed me with. The birch tree, instead of focusing on putting out leaves which I dearly desire it to do, instead wove bright silver mittens which it wore for a week or so. Then the mittens unravelled into long, thick skeins of silver wool that hung like tinsel from every branch and twig. Hundreds of them fell upon the new grass below, looking like nothing so much as a hundred fuzzy dead caterpillars in the yard.

I was not pleased.

"What on earth is my birch tree doing?" I asked Good Neighbor Larry, one lazy afternoon. I leaned upon a rake and watched the sprinkler make its light and airy arc over the grass.

"It's a female," he explained. "It's germinating."

Holy crap. Even my birch tree is getting it on. I went out to inspect it this morning, and there are bits of green showing through the leaf buds; soon it will put aside reproduction and flower into a thick, green canopy of leaves.

My herbs have survived an unexpected and savage attack on the part of Abigail, who was strangely attracted to the peat pots remains. The day I came home to find my newly potted cilantro out of the pot, and shaken nearly to bits, and left to die on the packed earth of the back yard, I let out what can only be described as a howl of rage. I didn't know those really happened, but they do, and let me tell you, they are not nice noises.

Abby went and hid under the porch and didn't come out for hours. I re potted the cilantro and it's making a very nice comeback and since then the girls have avoided the pots. The patches of lawn repair have finally, finally sprouted grass and grass is coming up thick and green everywhere on the lawn. Mom and I trimmed back the rose bushes yesterday, in the sun. There was only the sound of the scissors and the warbling of birds.

The rose bush looks neat and tidy now, ready to sprout into a whole new summer's worth of roses. A little spray of green leaves has already shown itself at one juncture, like the trill of a bird. Those particular roses will be in bloom when Keith comes home.


d.a.r. said...

Peeing my pants at the "even the birch tree is getting it on" comment.

And please, please write a book. I will buy the first copy. You are such a gifted writer.

jlc said...

I like knowing things will be in full bloom when our hubbies come home.

Are we kinda at the same time? I forget if it's July/August...

Also, we won't have to worry about everything around us getting it on more than us. I was telling my husband how it's not fair that Piper humps my mom's dog and gets more action than I do nowadays!!

It's a sad world. ;P

New Girl on Post said...

Oh my gosh...I laughed so hard at the birch tree getting it on comment.

You are too funny!