Spring Breaks

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And things had been going along so well.Maybe I went wrong by predicting a long and vicious summer when we were living in the mid-80s a couple of weeks ago. It’s a fickle season, obviously unhappy to be spoken of in a disrespectful tone. Nevertheless, I dove headfirst into the kind of yard work I swear every year I’ll never do again: pruning, trimming, cleaning, weeding, and taking the leaf blower to about 900 bajillion of last year’s live oak leaves. Of course I was going to pay the price.

For me, being forced to start my Spring Break with a promise to Floyd that I won’t lift anything or climb a single ladder means trouble. You know, the kind of back trouble that makes it a major project to put on your own socks? So much for the pleasant series of day trips I like to take during school vacations.

Apart from physical decrepitude, which is annoying enough, I’ve been seeing more and more trailers for that classic film “Your Future As An Old Person.” Household items misplaced, lost, stolen; Floyd and I trying to help each other out with clues as to what we were doing three minutes ago; spending all day yesterday in a chilly house without even thinking to turn up the thermostat. I could just hear my offspring: Mom. Why not just turn on the heat?

I didn’t think of that. And the kids walk away scratching their heads.

Turning the heat on this morning was like a revelation. It’s nice to still be capable of being surprised.

Maybe it’s just as well that the weather turned to Awful With A Chance of Really Cold. Nothing like rain and 45 degrees to take the fun out of an unruly gardener’s life. But maybe fewer thousands of visitors will decide, having spent much of SxSW blackout drunk, that this is a great city in which to live.

I’m trying for the silver lining here.

Just as things were staring to blossom, and I was looking forward to a long series of days in which I walk out of the house every hour to see what’s new in the yard, Spring stalls. I keep telling the garden that this is a lot like Seattle, where I envision all kinds of lush greenery. Or Scotland. Don’t they have flowers in Scotland?

At the moment we have irises – mine are arriving in twos and threes instead of all at once, like last year. We have pomegranate  buds, all dark orange amid waxy leaves and a tangle of thorns.

And the two pink rosebushes in the sidewalk garden have never produced so many blooms.

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I’ve put in a few columbine, although I’ve never had any particular luck with them. But one stretch of the garden exists in the shadow of the pistachio tree, so I went with columbine, a circle of succulents, and some new Turks’ Cap. Columbine is the flower of my birth month.


The succulents that withstood that one freeze we had this winter have gone on to produce flowers: tiny stars so close to the ground I doubt most people even notice them. But those of us in need of silver linings look as high and low as we need to. Because surely they’re in here somewhere.


Despite the crummy weather, buds persist. Although our highways and byways are blanketed in wildflowers at the moment, mine are a little behind. As I said last time, the year I put in a few plants rather than waiting for seeds to take hold. Cheery little faces!


Along the back fence, the Mutabilis rose is behaving like a good rose tree should, offering a profusion of pale pink and orange flowers to grace both sides of the fence. You’re welcome, neighbors.


It is now Tuesday, Pi Day (Happy 12th, Grandson #2!). It seems a silver lining took hold and pulled the clouds away altogether. When Travis and I woke up this morning we saw a full moon with two brilliant planets to its left. My back and I are still not on friendly terms, but I’m going to drag it out and about today anyway.

If Spring is on the mend, I can’t let myself lag behind.




3 thoughts on “Spring Breaks

  1. You have way, way more flowers than I…the few crocuses and iris reticulata have been beaten by wind, rain and now snow and are quietly slumping onto the ground. There are a few budded daffys, but many already have bent stems. Count your blessings!

  2. Dan Hancock says:

    After too many warmer than usual days, the (what I call) tulip magnolia trees in the park behind my house were full of fat pink buds and the Bradford Pear trees all over town were in full bloom, along with forsythia and a few daffodils—then our first measurable snow of the winter blew in—and the buds of the tulip magnolia trees are clumps of black while the Bradford Pear blooms are a dirty, depressing tan. All this less than a week before the First Day of Spring—such is Baltimore weather!

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