What's In a Name?
Startlements from India: Stories from the Road

Playing in the Dirt

Last fall, when it was time to put my garden to bed, I was incredibly busy and highly stressed.  I had no time to get out in the garden and do any kind of clean-up beyond the absolute essentials.  

All winter, as the snow covered everything in a frozen heap of ice-glacier, I kind of forgot about that.

And then it melted . . . revealing the reeking horror beneath . . .

That's the best thing about gardening, though!  It's never too late to clean things up and get everything in order for the new season.


Thanks to a great weather-weekend, I assembled my tools and made good progress on some of the back beds.  (My gardens are growing more extensive each year, and at times like this, I wonder if perhaps I haven't over-stretched.)


As I clean up my garden in the spring, I'm constantly muttering one of the following three phrases:

  1. What is THIS?  (Because I can't recognize some of my newer plants until they get a little bigger, and I frequently forget what I planted.)
  2. Next year, I'm planting bulbs.  (Because I am lazy in the fall, and always regret it in the spring.)
  3. Oh, YOU have got to GO.  (Because some plants are just plain trouble.)


I have some great company out in the garden!  It's nice to have dogs old enough to behave well and not dig up viable plants.  (Because, yeah.  That's happened.)


I'm thrilled about spring's arrival.  But my garden is just pretty ugly at this stage of the season.  Thankfully, I do have a couple of blooming reminders of the beauty that is to come.

My star magnolia is in full bloom right now (although it's been raining since yesterday, which will do a number on the blossoms).


And my hellebores are just lovely this year.


I even got my hands dirty with some planting.  Although it's WAY too early for most planting, I did put together a couple of "pea-pots."  This . . . 


looks like dirt with a tower stuck in it right now.  But I planted peas, an assortment of lettuce, some kale, and spinach -- all cold-weather crops that should do just fine.

And pansies, of course.


It's nice to have something bright and cheery out on the patio, and on the front porch!  (Although the pansies do make the very dead Christmas wreath still hanging on the front door look really, really sad!)  (Yep.  The nesting finches beat me to it again this year . . .) (They totally have my number!)

And this guy?  


Well, I said, "Maybe we should re-do the foundation plantings in the back this year."  (Because they're unmanageably overgrown and really ungainly, and I've been considering ripping it all out and starting over.)  And then, before you can say Husqvarna, he had taken his chainsaw to 6 (hideous) yews and half a blue spruce!   (So fast I have NO "before" photos!)  (You can imagine where my creative energy will be going now -- as I try to figure out lovely ways to cover the water meter, the cable box, the outdoor lighting timer, and the air conditioner. . .)

It felt GREAT to be out in the garden again -- where it's always fun to play in the dirt!



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We ripped out our foundation plantings along the front of the house when we did the siding. And now my landscape guy has taken a new job and is moving to Florida. I'm in big trouble as I have no clue what to plant! Help!


Dogs and gardening are a great dombination! My little Liesl always tries to help pull weeds. Although my tulips were nice this spring, I totally relate to the fall laziness. i was daffodils, hyacinths etc. but didn't bother to plant them!

Sue N

Magnolias are the sign of spring for me and I have a weakness for green flowers particularly hellebore. Your garden looks amazing.


As I was rooting around under the rhodies yesterday I was thinking chainsaw! It was great to be out cleaning things up wasn't it?! Looking good Kym!


Oh, #2!!! Every.single.year.for.decades!!

It feels so good to get outside, though, doesn't it... or at least know that you can? Maybe just driving around with the windows down?


Those magnolias are beautiful! Spring looks great at your house.


This year you'll have time to spend doing what you love! You must be full of ideas for your newly opened area. The fall bulbs are on sale so if you buy now they'll arrive in the fall and you'll be forced to plant!

Cheryl S.

Nice to know you're finally having spring!

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