An Ode to Spring

I’m fond of saying it’s summer, but spring is my favorite season. 

It’s hard to heckle the halcyon days of June through August, with sun and recreational opportunities both close to their peaks.  Extremes of heat and drought however, hang heavy, and spells of cool and rain confound and ruin party plans.  Hence the noble folk I know name autumn the ultimate, and strictly speaking, weather-wise, they’re right!  September and October consistently comprise the most comfortable climate in our fickle temperate zone.  A lovely choice for those lucky souls who live in the present….

But the gardener does not live in the present. The gardener, oddest of creatures, the green-fingered, moss-footed gardener…..lives in the future.  So while autumn might mean warm, sunny days and cool, comfortable nights to you and Halloween and hayrides to your kids, that unforgettable feel of fall meansone thing only to the gardener:  Winter is Coming…

Not so with spring, when species speak of survival, not senescence. The future of spring, after all, is summer!  Dripping, verdant, life itself, expressing its fullness by being, and breathing for the planet over endless, steaming, moonlit nights.  The fruition of everything fussy sister spring has fashioned.

Yes, it might snow 7 inches at any time.  Yes you may golf in a T-shirt on March 4th, only to see it rain for the next 40 days and nights.  Then have to mow grass 12 hours after the sun finally appears.  There will be mud. There will be wind. There will be muddy wind.  You may even risk death by both sleet and lightning….in the same day. 

But the gardener knows it is worth it. The gardener knows that the patient love of the work of spring is to sow the seeds of summer’s abundance.  Every kernel will germinate now, every perennial divided will flourish, every new addition will assimilate and every transplant will thrive.  The mind itself, after months of winter languish, may bring fresh ideas to the garden space.  Now is the time to embrace the future of the landscape.  Prune dead or broken branches on shrubs and trees.  Cut a new garden edge where the lawn is invading, and turn over the soil in weedy areas.  Fill those areas with perennials divided from other parts, or from friends’ gardens, then add a good decomposed bark mulch.  Some perennials, called spring ephemerals, only do their thing in spring, dying back in the heat of summer.  Many have considerable early season appeal, especially in a shady garden.  Woodland “pools” of familiar Trillium, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, and Solomon’s Seal join lesser known beauties like Bloodroot, Twinleaf, Baneberry and Kinnikinnick to add rare depth of character to the well-designed landscape.

Spring is the season of youth and redemption, a time for new beginnings.  Spring is invocation, commencement and promise, and the only non-winter season in which the days are getting longer! After June 21st, it’s all downhill.  So never mind her moments of mood, and love lady spring for the promise of beauty and summer she holds in her icy, windy, muddy, gorgeous hands.

Whatever improvement you have in mind for the garden, spring is the time to engage it.  If you’re not sure where to start, message us! The design staff can help.   

Benjamin Himschoot