Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Springtime in our new home is a constant journey of discovery. Each day brings another green sprout in the garden and new guesses as to what it could be. A handful of tiny purple and white flowers appeared first and I thought they were crocuses (one of the limited number of growing things I can actually identify) until I found them scattered over half the back yard, not just in garden clumps. Crocuses come from bulbs, I think, so they shouldn’t be propagating at will all across the lawn. I’m waiting for new buds to push aside the remaining golden brown leaves on the beech trees. That I learned from our last home. Their lingering blaze of color helps winter seem not quite so frozen.

The white bottle-brush buckeye bushes along the sidewalk are so bare and spindly it’s hard to believe they’ll soon be covered in thick green leaves that hide the house from the street. Hubby tells me there are two lilac bushes out front, too, along with the hostas and rhododendron. I have no idea how he can tell from those dry branches, but I trust him.

Next to the driveway there’s a cluster of delicate white bell-shaped blooms. Lily of the valley, I thought. Wrong, apparently. A friend identified them as snowdrops. From photographs left by the previous owner, we know the patch between the front yews and the boardwalk will be likely be filled with daffodils interspersed with a few tulips. I’m not sure if the flowers I planted in the boxes out front will come back. I never can remember whether perennials or annuals bloom every year; the naming logic escapes me.

Fast-growing green stalks around the koi pond have me baffled, as do the dark purple flowers scattered among the pachysandra (I learned a new one!) under the big beech tree. They weren’t there in the fall. I know as the season progresses we’ll have cyclamen, day lilies, and yucca, as well as a number of other late-bloomers whose names I’ve already forgotten. But there are still surprises.

And the pond – its profusion of water lilies and lotus blossoms were part of the original attraction to our backyard oasis. Now the water is dark and murky. The fish survived the winter, while it appears the bullfrogs were not so fortunate. We’re not sure yet about the turtles. But the lilies and lotus. How do we resurrect them? Hubby says we need to drain the pond, clean out the winter debris, and replant the potted blossoms. This fall we’ll protect the pond better, but for now, we’re still learning.

As is so often the case, my wider world is a macrocosm of my writing, or vice versa, I suppose. Each time I begin a new piece, I stumble over names and words, finding familiar friends and meeting new germs of ideas. I anticipate the joy that comes with crafting a well-turned phrase, and sometimes mourn when those ‘darlings’ must be killed off. So many rote lessons I think I’ve incorporated into my routine escape me when I try to put them into practice. I have to turn to trusted friends in my writers group or online forums for answers. And like hubby in the garden, they never let me down.

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