I'm in the Garden

Posted 5/07/07
by Jane Kashlak

It's that delicious, but short season known as garden time - when it's not too cold, not too hot and just right for planting.

Here in Cape May we get just about a month between our soggy winter and our dry as bones summer.

In that short window of opportunity, plants must be moved, must be bought, must be planted. Weeds must be yanked before they get squatters' rights. Beds must be mulched before the weeds stage a comeback.

And all the time, decisions, decisions, decisions. Should the phlox be moved over there?? Should the hollyhocks go here?? If we add new boxwoods, where do the hydrangeas go? If we add a new hydrangea, where does the itea go??

If you ask, "Why not keep everything the same, year to year?" it's clear, you are not a gardener.

Every year, in the midst of the garden turmoil, the catmint blooms. It's an electric blue that would stop traffic on a garden tour.

But no gardener has time to visit someone else's yard right now. They are all too busy moving, and planting and mulching their own gardens. The visits come later.

So the catmint blooms just for Garden Partner and me. But GP is too busy fussing over his lettuce and beets and peas to notice catmint. The vivid show is mine alone.

I consider it a gift from the garden. A message of encouragement. Keep digging up those weeds until your back breaks, the catmint says, and you will be rewarded with more flowers like this.

The candytuft chimes in with its flourish of bright white blooms. Don't quit, the white flowers say, you can do just a little more.

I'm convinced. In fact, I find it hard to keep my mind on anything else. I ignore the pain and dig until dark. In the morning, I drink my coffee while I check on the progress of yesterday's transplanted shrubs. Did they survive?? Do they like their new home??

I check the calendar. Those not too hot, not too cold days are going by fast. Work and family and friends can wait. If you're trying to find me in May, look in the garden first.

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