How Do I Love Gardening? Let Me Count The Ways!
An article written for the local newspaper. Our local Master Gardeners are "taking turns."
Please allow me to somewhat paraphrase and otherwise use parts of a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning while I attempt to explain my gardening passion.
(The following three photos were taken today.)
“I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach . . .”
In the Spring - It’s when the very early woodland perennials emerge, grow and bloom in their native surroundings: Trout Lilies, Spring Beauties, May Apples, Woodland Phlox, Jack-in-the-Pulpit and Trillium, for example.
It’s when my perennial “buddies” first appear, pushing through the soil when it’s barely warm enough. It’s when my newest “friends” survive their first Winter in my garden, bringing forth my relieved and happy exclamation! It’s when an “unhappy camper” returns “happier” in its new location and decides to blossom.
It’s the variety of each plant: the size, shape, color, leaf and blossom. It’s also when I’m caught speechless and off-guard by a waft of luscious aroma from wonderfully fragrant, flowering bush or plant. It’s when I notice I’m not the only admirer: It’s those wandering butterflies, bees and birds that stop to sip nectar and enjoy a meal delights my very soul.
“I love thee to the level of everyday's most quiet need . . .”
In the Summer – It’s when nearly every plant has reached maturity, and the riotously colorful and contrasting Purple Coneflower, Black-eyed Susan and all manner of lily are blooming in their sunny locations. The various blossom shades and hues, foliage size and shape continues as a virtual treat to the eye and delight to the heart. Add to the mix, the variety of foliage and blossoms borne by plants in the shade, and you’ll have indeed experienced a visual summer smorgasbord!
It’s the contented feeling I have when I can find nothing more to do besides the necessary weeding and watering, and it’s the hummingbirds and others that feed at the feeders and flowers in my gardens.
In the Fall - It’s because I thrill to the myriad of autumnal color found both in the garden and in the surrounding shrubbery and woodlands.
It’s because the garden hosts asters, sedum, and butterfly milkweed, among many nectar-providing flowers for the array of dependant insects; all in preparation for their annual “ritual” before Winter’s arrival. It’s because birds are waiting for those berry-bearing shrubs and bushes; often also finding shelter space before Winter.
Leaf-raking, a good fitness activity, gives me opportunity to care for and investigate the condition of the plants and gardens before preparing for the Winter season.
“I love thee with a passion put to use . . .”
In the Winter – It’s because the deciduous trees have nearly all dropped their leaves, and life is more easily observed in wooded areas. When Winter snows cover the once readily-available native food, I enjoy the great variety of bird life at my feeders. I consider Winter birds as varied and unique as Summer flowers – a Gold-Star bonus in the life of a gardener!
“I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life!”
this post and photos property of www.yardisgreen.blogspot.com
Shady G, 'Master Gardener'
#1 - Elephant Ear emerging in the shade behind the new East Backyard Bed;
#2 - Trumpet Lilies
#3 - Great Spangled Fritillary on Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) 'Adonis Blue'
#4 - Junco and female Cardinal