Sometimes, in life, a month — or even a year — seems to bring no changes; it’s only in retrospect that we can look back and see the difference in our lives. In gardening, however, a month can bring dramatic changes. For example, in this photo, taken a month ago, spring is just making itself known. The lighter green along the right side of the path are larkspur that planted themselves where the grass died last year. The grass I planted (the blue seed) to start replacing some of the grass that died, hasn’t begun to sprout. The greengage plum (the tree in the foreground) is still dormant, and the lilacs (the bushes to the right of the path) are just beginning to green up.
A month later, things are completely different. As you can see from the following photo, many of the grass seeds took hold, and grass has greened up nicely. The tree has leafed out. The lilacs grew more in the past month than they have the past couple of years. And the larkspur have pretty much invaded not just along the path where the grass died, but the whole rest of the garden, too. I had to wade through the larkspur to find some of the plants I put in last fall, such as lilies and chrysanthemums, and clear a space around them to give them room to grow.
This is a sideview of the garden. Look at all those larkspur! To think that all that came from the half dozen or so plants I transplanted from my neighbor’s yard (with his permission, of course). I thought they were a low-growing flower, because that’s how they grew in his unkempt yard, but apparently, when given a bit of care, larkspur grow to monstrous heights. Some of these stalks are shoulder height. And such a lovely sight.
In another month, things will be different again. The larkspur will be gone — after they go to seed I pull up the dead stalks, leaving plenty of room in the garden for the perennials to grow. If there are big spaces left behind in the garden, I plant other annual seeds, such as zinnias. And since I will be able to get to the dead grass, I’ll start clearing the way for replanting the grass this fall. Or I might even plant some zinnias there, too. Since I have not yet learned how to take a photo of something that will happen in the future, obviously, I can’t show you what the area will look like then, but I imagine, at least for a while, it will look very similar to the way it looked a month ago.
And then a month after that, it will all be different again. Because when it comes to gardening, a month makes a huge difference.
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.