Thursday, March 18, 2010

A crocus grows right through the grass

One of my favorite spots in The Berenstain Bears Almanac is when spring comes to Bear Country. Brother Bear alterts young readers of the tell-tale signs of the glorious world turned anew.

"How will you know it's spring? There's slush and mush from melting snow. Birds sing. Plants grow. A crocus grows right through the snow."

Typed from memory, hearing my mother's voice and her particular stressed and unstressed syllables, I see Brother kneeling near a slushy white glob of melting snow and the lovely yellow crocus popping up to greet him. There's a touch of relief and gratefulness to his expression, indicating that, had he to endure much longer the winter, he might have inched closer to the edge.

When my kind neighbors told me all kinds of cute little flowers pop up in my yard each spring, I didn't imagine crocuses. I more imagined Creeping Jenny or Creeping Charlie (a Minnesota thing -- as a Colorado/North Dakota native, I'm still not quite sure what it looks like). While not golden like Brother Bear's, my purple and white spring gems bursting through dormant grass weave brought me a kindred relief and renewed faith -- after the bleakness of winter, spring and rejuvenation follow.

Later, when sitting around the campfire with my backdoor neighbors (the friendliest neighborhood in which I have ever lived), I learn that the people I bought my house from planted the now-bursting bulbs about eight or nine years ago, and they've continued to flourish and spread over time. I learned as well that the couple stood on the front porch, launched the bulbs into the yard, and planted them where they fell.

Kooky and sweet from other stories I've heard and evidence left behind in my home (they ceremoniously left me two bottles of wine in the fridge when I moved in), I thank the sellers for the wine and my delightful lawn crocus blooms.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Fever

I recently returned from a Mexican vacation. After sunning on the beach and sniffing lush jungle flowers ‘round every corner, returning to Minnesota was a blow. Stripped black-eyed Susan spines poke their knobby dried heads through the two-foot snowdrifts surrounding my yard. I want to sit in the almost-warm grass and clip them down to prepare for August blooms. I want spring.

What a great time to start a gardening blog.

A February treat: Tropical flowers in Mexico.

A little introduction: I love gardening and I love writing. When I was ten years old, I wrote a cute poem lavishly describing the New Mexican sunset spreading thick citrus sherbet over my family’s campsite, and I’ve considered myself a writer ever since. After college I was so obsessed with landing a fulltime writing job that once I did, I spent the next ten years of my life ignoring my own writing. I forgot I even had my own writing.

This blog is to help jog my memory. It’s also to chronicle my experiences with vegetable and flower gardening in the Twin Cities. No doubt it will also include a bushel of other things about gardening like cooking, eating, canning, composting, and the like. We’ll see where it goes. I’m an organic hobby gardener and – here comes the first disclaimer of this blog – I am not an expert. I learned all that I know about the joys from my dear mom, reading, experimentation, and chit-chatting with my fellow earth diggers.

Last summer, near the end of gardening season, I bought my first house. I tended what beautiful plants existed (and there were many), and planted nothing. This will be my first year of gardening in my new home, which means I have plans and expectations, but naturally, no idea how things will turn out.

So, let the garden blogging journey begin! The red tails of the ceremoniously cut ribbon are slapping the wind. The wine is slip-sticking down the sides of the massive ship’s bow. Gardening Plots is formally set a-sail.

Many thanks for joining me, dear reader. I look forward to comments, questions and shared experiences. Of course, any and all errors are my very own. I regret them, but only a little.