Monty Don, on last week's Gardeners' World, said something to the effect that "Spring is here when you feel it in the earth. Don't go by the calendar, a seed packet, or a TV presenter." And given the UK's brutal winter, and Pennsylvania's feeble one, that was never more true. Today it is Spring, and I know it for three reasons.
1. Jobs that are unbearably tedious in June are tackled with vigor.
Last year's big score at the auction netted me a boatload of mature ornamentals. But my manic enthusiasm melted away while planting the twentieth 3" caliper tree. Even with my new adjustable forks for the Kubota, and visions of a Laskett-like renewal for the property, my back and brain gave out. Well today, I began tackling the last three arborvitaes that had been heeled in out of sight.
2. The Duck House has been usurped by this year's pair of Canada Geese.
During December we have 200+ geese on the pond, but by now we are down to one or two breeding pairs. The dominant couple takes over the duck house (for the record, even our domestic ducks shunned it) and begin to raise a family. I know many people despise them, but I think Canada Geese are slightly noble. Given their comfort with us, and their ability to go nose-to-nose with the dogs, I'd like to think that each year's pair is part of an unbroken line of geese that date back to William the Conqueror, but that is just speculation.
3. Plant negotiations have entered the final phase.
(Due to the graphic nature of this photo, it has been removed by the editor.)
Every year I rope-a-dope Laura on the number of plants we have in the kitchen garden. Like Napoleon charging across the steppe, she slashes and burns, "Seven tomato plants, no five, make that three!" I just hunker down in St. Petersburg and wait until Spring. "Sure, and let's not plant any Zucchini this year, either!" I say with crossed fingers. At some point the utility and inconvenience of growing pumpkins will also come up, and I will acquiesce. Come June a funny thing happens. Rogue pumpkins start to pop up in the corner, and by some mistake, I will miscount the number of Brandywine's in the cart at Groff's. "Oh well," I say "Since we have them, we might as well grow them." It's usually about this time that Laura gets careless while weeding around my favorite peonies. But I'm sure there is no connection.