Archive for the ‘spring’ Category

Spring Fever

Well it’s that time of year again – or at least it is in some places on the Earth, not necessarily here in Southern Ontario where it’s still snowing and looks like it will keep on going until September. I’m talking about Spring – you know, that time of year when flowers pop their heads up and the grass turns green and the birdies start singing and making nests for baby birdies to fall out of and be fodder for the cat and all that life-renewing stuff. It is also the time when the garden is revealed in all it’s awful messy post-Winter glory reminding me that I really have to do something about the awning that collapsed under the first snow fall because we didn’t take it down in time [we never do] and those branches that fell off the neighbour’s tree into the pond during the last wind storm. And the pond, the pond – oh urg! It’s full of brackish slimy black stuff liberally sprinkled with floating rotten leaves because we also forgot to drain it before the temperature plunged to sub-zero and stayed there. There were a couple of large frogs in there last summer – I wonder what became of them? There is a dark mass of some sort embedded in the deepest ice block down near the bottom…


Last Spring we decided to go all ‘Alan Titmarsh’ and clean up the jumbled mess that is attached to the back of our house. In a momentary fit of enthusiasm we put in boxed flower beds. Unfortunately we made them slightly too large and were forced to make four hundred trips to the garden centre to haul back dozens of floppy black bags of soil to fill them with. The pile of stuff with bricks in it that I found down by the fence didn’t seem like a suitable growing medium somehow. After hauling about two hundred bucks worth of bags and still barely covering the bottom of the biggest flower box [I told you they were a tad large] we decided to ramp it up a little and take a trip up to the sand and gravel pit with the old van. We took the seats out, spread tarps all around the floor over the carpet and shoveled in a yard of dirt and manure. Now I don’t know if you know what a yard of dirt looks like but it appears somewhat smaller than it actually is when it’s sitting in a heap on the ground. When it’s shoveled into a Chrysler Caravan it assumes monstrous proportions something akin to the alien predator from all those horror movies of the fifties. It moves and shifts, it writhes and pulsates, it spreads itself into every nook and cranny, it grabs you around the neck, it creeps up the windows, and it stinks. It also shifts every time you go around a corner and washes up against your feet like an incoming tide. Then of course we had to shovel it out again. Suffice it to say that it was one of the hottest summers on record, the temperature soared into the high thirties, and we were shoveling cow poop – for days… I still get flashbacks. The van of course has, shall we say, a lingering ‘earthy’ aroma that refuses to leave despite all efforts, and the springs are shot.


After all that the boxes were still only a third filled so we said bugger it and gave up before we all died of heat stroke and anyway, bountiful mounds of sweet smelling herbs and masses of Pansies and Flocks and Sun-Flowers would soon be overflowing the edges so what did it matter? How much dirt do flowers need anyway? I’ve seen pictures in National Geographic of lichen clinging to bare rocks out in the middle of no-place for God’s sake and looking pretty chipper so surely a few coddled Pansies could manage to survive in four or five inches – well – centimeters – couldn’t they? An aromatic trip up to Canadian Tire yielded stacks of little packets all bearing encouraging photographs of flowers en masse, herbs in abundance and pumpkins in profusion. I looked forward to having the garden of the century, provided the undesirable neighbors at the back stopped flinging empty bottles of Labatt’s Blue and cigarette packets over the fence that is.


Too bad that nothing came up except for a lively patch of weeds that resisted all efforts to dislodge it including being bashed with a spade and dumped on by the dog. Tell me this- how come the weeds could thrive like crazy with no attention and no water and no sun and my Pansies and Flocks and Sunflowers poked their spindly heads up for about a nanosecond before expiring in a shriveled brown lump? Hmm – sun – could it be that building the flower boxes under the shadiest tree in the darkest corner of the garden overshadowed by the highest section of the fence had something to do with it?


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