This is the best time of year in the garden–before anything really comes up. It’s the time when I can imagine everything I plant growing to perfection: every seed sprouting (or, rather, seeds sprouting in perfect rows, with just the right amount of space between them), every rosebush swallowing itself in blossoms, every lily rising tall and proud, every hydrangea erupting in great balls of fluff. Thirty-two years of gardening should have taught me better, but I can’t help myself; I’m such an optimist. I never worry about crop failure; I only dream of the bounty to be.
And I buy plants. Yesterday I went to Home Depot to get a metal guard to put on our garage door, so we don’t have a repeat of our possum, who lived in there all winter (and occasionally tottered out to amuse us. Not so funny is the stinky mess he left in the garage. Darling husband trapped him in a have-a-heart cage and relocated him to a park nearby.). There wasn’t much in the garden center there besides pansies and azaleas, and I can walk right away from pansies and azaleas. Just as I was congratulating myself on my restraint, alas, I came upon a display of summer-blooming bulbs–not tulips or daffodils, but the kinds you can still plant in spring. And they had acidanthera, or Gladiolus callianthus, also known as peacock orchid, sword lily, Abyssinian gladiolus (I love that one; who the hell knows where Abyssinia is? Whoa, just looked it up: it’s Ethiopia), etc., etc. It’s a super-easy bulb to grow, and while the flowers are smallish–about three inches across–the bulbs are inexpensive, and easy to plant in masses, where they look clean and gorgeous and exotic. So I bought a bunch of bulbs. Their only drawback is that they need to be lifted in the fall and stored indoors over the winter, which I don’t always remember to do. I’ll try to be better about that this year!