Sixty-four degrees under light rain after too little precipitation and days in the nineties? That’s a gardening day. I pull weeds from the forgiving mud, deadhead the foxglove, penstemon, columbine and roses, and contemplate the possibility of adding a few plants before the solstice ushers in oppressive and unrelenting Maryland heat.
The bare stretch, along the bottom wall of the terracing forks left and right where it meets the fence draped in Lonicera sempervirens. The hummingbirds visit those long scarlet bells; the dense vines house some uncountable number of English sparrows. It is an odd area, more clay than dirt, inclined to be waterlogged, and ranging from fairly sunny to quite shady.
Deer traverse it routinely so I will select from deer-resistant species. A few ferns, I think, maybe hellebore and a patch of iris versicolor. At the back, heading up the hill, I hope to establish a patch of jack-in-the-pulpit and red trillium. The rain has persisted since morning today. Temperatures are not expected to exceed eighty for another week and more showers are possible over the next few days. Definitely planting weather and time enough to settle in.
A Perfect Day
Weather like this is a gift.
At our family compound in New Hampshire, grown-ups congregated in the light rain to monitor a smoking pile of burning brush over at the Woodshed. A few kids might mill about, dragooned into dragging fallen branches and miscellaneous forest detritus from around the camps and along the paths. Others of us would have retreated to homes to read—television? Surely you jest!—or make fudge or annoy each other. In the absence of thunder, we’d swim.
Good Weather and Bad
In the west and southwest, the drought is profound, prolonged and reshaping every aspect of life. From Texas through the Deep South and up to the Ohio River valley, the land is waterlogged. Here we are getting mostly what we need, sporadically, erratically, not always when we are used to it. Snowfall—if it comes at all—is as likely to happen in March when the first signs of Spring hesitate. Grass begins to brown in May when it should be lush green until revived by ill-timed downpours. Fall acknowledges in color and timing just how stressful all that has been.
Right now, though, the damp soaks deeper into the earth, restoring creeks and runs, and gray skies slow the overheating of this place at least.
We Carry On
An old yellow wagon lives on the patio. Once I would fill it with stones dug from the clay matrix on which this development was built and hauled them here and there should I need them. Now it is a reservoir for rainwater, which my Dear One bottles and uses on the potted plants.
What survives, thrives. Ten or fifteen years down the road, shrubs have exceeded whatever size I thought they’d achieve. Sycamores and cypress tower and it seems like only yesterday they were seedlings.
What doesn’t, doesn’t. Carry on.