Saturday, March 31, 2012


Saturday, and the real weather of March has returned, chilly, wet, the terrace sounding like a ship at sea, creaking and rattling and yielding at the edges to gusts that sweep the silvertop. But these blossoms and this blue were yesterday, on my long, long circumference of the neighborhood in search of organic potting soil. At Tony's on Smith the little bags were $16.99. I turned tail. At Bruno's on Court (the smaller of two Bruno's - why are there two?), the big bags were $8.99. I had a pleasant conversation about organic soil needs with the pleasant counterperson and he waived the delivery fee. An hour later a big bag plus three small terra cotta pots were delivered by a puffing guy with a hand truck, and my planting could begin afresh.

The catch is: It's Whitney Farms. Still a nice soil. Still owned by Scott's. The deli had run out of Organic Mechanics. Big fat, "Baaaap!". Striiiike ooooooout. Greedy gardener, I settled.

The blossoms made me feel better. Washed my compromised soul.

This is the little park around the corner in which I have never sat. It's hard to explain. It's always quite full, and I like walking through it. Something to do with listening to the Cobble Hill stroller mothers converse. Me me me me my my my my. Zzzzzz. It make my teeth itch. So I keep moving.

And here is the crabapple right outside our front door. Only a week early, by my records. I grew up with a huge crabapple, just this colour, in Bloemfontein. My first little garden (apart from the vegetable patch out back) was underneath it. I learned deep shade early. Violets, white; elephant ears...and that is all I remember. I love my elephant ears. I loved the violets. I also used to make little fires there, after scratching a hole at the edge of the lawn in the soil where grass could no longer grow in that dark shade. Dry willow twigs, matches, and cheese toasted smokily on a stick. My mother said she knew about the fires. A streak of fire bugness in the family. One of my brothers burned the bamboo forest down, and before that my father's study. I managed to set the laundry alight, in my wax-dripping passions. Old wine bottles, wax stalactites around the edges. But we survived.

Today, wet, cold, 8,000 miles away from all that, the terrace pots are tucked up. The new clematis, tiarella, geranium and thalictrum are planted. Still waiting on some lilies. And I have trays and trays of seeds snuggled inside.

Time to turn to inward pursuits, which gardening so often keeps healthily at bay...


  1. I love this time of year although it seems spring has been short lived and it summer already with temps being in the 80's for the past two weeks here in central Arkansas (zone 7) I just bought my first elephant ear bulbs this year and hopefully they will grow. Reminds me of my grandmothers front porch garden!! Both veggie gardens are tilled and potatoes are emerging along with everything else! Should be a plentiful harvest ... or so I'm hoping. Happy planting!

  2. love your enthusiasm! also your beautiful photos of your trecks. I have zinnias (large and small) started inside so that's fun to watch.


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