An Exercise in Hope

I had a nice surprise today: snow! We haven’t had so much snow this winter that I’m sick of it, and anyway, it wasn’t much of a snow — just enough to cover the ground and my front ramp while leaving the sidewalks clear. But it was enough to make a day spent inside feel cozy, especially when accompanied by a book and a cup of lemony spiced tea.

More snow is expected for Thursday, along with frigid temperatures, but hopefully the intervening days will be warm enough for digging.

I’d planted three 6-foot- tall greengage plum trees at the beginning of last winter, which was supposed to be the optimum time for planting, so that’s when the nursery sent the trees. One of the trees did well, but two didn’t survive the winter, though sprouts did shoot out just above the graft mark. (I was hoping to get trees with greengage roots so the inevitable volunteers would turn the tree into a greengage forest, but I took what I could get.) I lopped off the trees just above the shoot, and one of truncated trees seems to be doing well, but still, the nursery said they’d replace both trees. (I had to pay shipping, which made those replacement trees rather expensive, but hopefully it will be worth it, especially since they won’t replace the replacement trees if there is a problem.)

They decided not to take a chance on the replacement trees not making it through the winter, so they promised to send them in March, which sounded good a year ago. Well, now it’s March. Those trees are slated to arrive tomorrow, which is why I’m hoping for decent digging weather. I can’t plant those trees by myself; even if I could dig the hole deep enough (which I can’t), I couldn’t hold the tree upright and fill in the hole at the same time. My contractor said he’d send someone to help, and I’m sure he will. Eventually.

Luckily, it will be cold enough that the trees shouldn’t come out of dormancy if they have to wait a bit. I suppose if worst comes to worst, I can do the planting myself over several days, but I doubt that will happen. I have been so patient with this contractor that generally when something is time-sensitive, he figures he owes me and he gets it done. (Oddly, these extra things he does so quickly for me are more in the line of favors since they are handyman jobs rather than typical contractor projects.)

As always, though, any gardening project is an exercise in hope. I hope the trees get here safely. I hope they get planted in time. I hope they grow. I hope they blossom. I hope someday to eat plums picked off my own trees.

A lot of hope!

But first, the snow.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Field of Hopes, Field of Dreams

A friend asked how many holes I’d dug, and what I planted. It was easier to answer here than as a comment, and besides, it brings me one day closer to my goal of 100 continuous days of blogging.

I must have dug a hundred holes. I had more than three hundred bulbs, and approximately three went into each hole (all properly spaced properly). In retrospect, it was silly doing it all in one day because I worked too hard and ended up with a bad cough that is preventing me from doing anything, especially not planting the last ten bulbs (lilies) that I’d planned to put along the fence in the backyard.

I really don’t see how I could have done it differently, though. I wanted the bulbs intermixed so that the yard will look less like a formal garden and more like a splurge of flowers in a field, and so it pretty much all had to be done at the same time.

I planted lots of tulips and daffodils. Anemones. Snowdrops. Crocuses. Dwarf iris. Larkspur. Grape hyacinth. Aconite. Bluebells.

And I planted hopes and dreams. Dreams of a lovely yard come spring. Hope that spring will in fact come, that the bulbs will flower, that I will still be here, that I will continue to find joy in the little (the best!) things of life.

(The photo was taken this morning and shows the frost on my field of hopes and dreams.)

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Holes!

I dug holes yesterday. Lots and lots of holes!

I’ve been told (and I’ve read) that one needs a plan when gardening, and my plan was to plant as many bulbs as I could as quickly and as easily as possible. There’s no real design to my holes — I just dug where it was easy to dig; if my shovel hit a hard spot where I planned to plant, I moved to another spot where the soil was softer. I don’t really care if there is any discernable design. I just want some color mixed in with the mostly brown grass. Also, once the flowers die and the leaves turn brown, the whole thing can be mowed, which seems like an interesting idea.

I’d gotten a bit carried away when ordering bulbs, and as it turned out, for the holes I dug, I got the right amount since the holes were big enough to house more than one bulb.

Of course, now my muscles are stiff and my throat sore, but it’s good to have it all done.

Now it’s a matter of waiting for spring to see what I have wrought!

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.