Spring Gifts

– Posted in: Garden chores

We had a good rain last week Friday and the poplars, hydraulically powered, popped out their leaves and now the air smells heavenly. Even shivering in town at the Farmers Market on Saturday we all were mmm-ing over how the scent pervades the air. Of course the grass & dandelions are hydraulic as well. . . but in about a month when the dandelions go to seed the wild roses will bloom so spring is well along. Snow is forecast for tomorrow, of course. I have been madly digging plants for the market, shipping orders, begging the weeds to wait, and wildly eyeing the rhubarb. (Vanilla yogurt and stewed rhubarb make a nice breakfast and pretend to be a custard tart.) Now the race is on and things come thick and fast. I got a call on Sunday that if I still wanted raspberry plants I had better come dig. I did, so I went, and also wound up with blackberry plants that look like they could build houses. This in a climate I’ve understood was too tough for blackberries; but these came from an old homestead on the Pend Orielle river and they outlasted the homesteaders. Now I need to study up on trellising (corseting!). I put the raspberries in along the drip line in the orchard and the blackberries along the deer fence by the shop–I figure the deer can do part of my pruning for me. If I could only get them to weed without eating the spinach! In digging plants I keep having to stop and admire the blooms on things–the Auricula primroses show me a new color every day and there are yellow double primroses today. The lavender doubles I got originally from the mother of a dear friend; I found out this morning that that friend has cancer and for once the flowers made me cry instead of smile.

About the Author

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4b/5aLocation: rural; just south of British Columbia/Idaho borderGeographic type: foot of Black & Clifty Mountains (foothills of Rockies–the Wet Columbia Mountains in BC climate- speak)Soil type:acid sand (glacial lake bed)/coniferous forestExperience level: intermediate/professionalParticular interests: fragrant & edible plants, hardy bulbs, cottage gardening, alpines, peonies, penstemons & other blue flowers, primulas, antique & species roses & iris; nocturnal flowers Also: owner of Paradise Gardens Rare Plant Nursery

If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It’s a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it’s time to reflect on what’s come before.

~Mitchell Burgess in Northern Exposure

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