Saturday, March 17, 2007

From Grime to Green

Just a few weeks ago I was on the road to Longmont, and the next day to Wellington (just past Fort Collins). For anyone who doesn't know, Wellington is about 140 miles each way--that's a lot of highway for one day. The entire world seemed the color of sludge--a blackish, graying brown. The sides of the roads, the medians...well, even the highway signs were all the same color, thanks to a coating that could only come from the gravel and salt mix the highway and street departments have been using to cover the roads to make them passable this very snowy icy winter. Even piles of snow left here and there are barely recognizable with their top layer being black. It was a truly depressing world. Everything, even the cars on the roads were all muted by this same dirty film.

Then came the rain. Oh, was I in heaven. Real rain. The colors have begun to return. My lawn is greening up, tulips are poking their heads out of the soil and the grime is beginning to disappear from the roadsides and medians. Even our cars seem to be losing their coating as more and more of us run through the carwashes, wanting to believe that this long winter is over.

Color and brightness have returned. It's strange for me to have such a keen appreciation for spring, for I love winter and snow, but I hate the grime. Spring does cheer me up as I see which of my plants have decided to return, and I long to plant more. With the spring is a burst of pollen which clogs me up on the inside as all the road crews sand mix does to the outside during winter. I feel full of sludge. This year I'm fighting back with Claritin, Sudafed and Mucinex. Between the three I feel nearly human.

I couldn't help myself the other day, and went around to my planter beds and spread bags of 50/50 mix to feed the soil. I also spread handfuls under each of the bushes and flowers I planted on the perimiters, as well as a bit for my poor cherry tree.

I bought one of those small indoor greenhouses with 32 peat pellets inside that expand with water and allow you the perfect spot to germinate seed for later planting in the garden. Tomatoes (two kinds), broccoli, green onions, and lavendar are sitting on a bench in the dining room. The broccoli and green onions are the first to sprout, peeking up within just days.

I need to build a bed in the back for a vegetable garden. Perhaps this year I will go and dig up goat manure for the garden.

I went to pick up scrap wood for firewood the other day and part of it was a beautiful but slightly broken crib. The two sides are perfect for trellises for clematis or morning glory, and I plan to plant the one good end in the back for shoring up...well, I haven't decided yet, but isn't that part of the fun? Slowly...oh, so slowly the yard will become what I had hoped for. I want two more raised beds in the side yard and one large vegetable garden in the back, with who knows what growing around the edges. Fences aren't that attractive to look at when you could plant espalleired apple trees or grapevines along them. The fence becomes the canvas for your imagination to paint with life!

Will this be the year I get the pond in? Who knows. Perhaps I can figure it out once we are out of this terrible financial crisis. Maybe this year I will find a few outdoor seats to spread throughout the yard to enjoy the parklike atmosphere I am trying to create. I'm looking forward to the raspberries, red and black, taking off and perhaps starting some grapes and french lilacs. We'll see.

I can't wait to get my zinnia seed in the ground and perhaps finding some more perinnial or self-seeding flowers to fill up my beds. I love to bring fresh-from-my-garden bouquets to bring when a guest for dinner or when visiting the sick or infirm. It lightens my heart to see it. I also love to tuck in a freshly cut bloom in the ribbon of a gift for a shower or birthday party I'm attending.

What do you like to do in spring?