The Gardening Year

I was browsing through past years’ gardening articles and I got overtaken by this feeling of certainty and permanence. It is extraordinary how consistent nature’s cycles are, almost down to day for the first bloom, the last frost, the unavoidable late freeze. Keeping a gardening journal makes this pattern obvious and somewhat discomforting, this truth that all things green abide by a gigantic cosmic timepiece of uncanny precision.

I suppose after almost twenty years of gardening I should be embarrassed to rediscover the elementary fact every experienced farmer takes for granted, but then the wonderment, the expectation, the joy of beholding the first shivering daffodil would be gone.

The garden only experiences one year, but it does so for decades, sometimes centuries. It gets established but it never gets old, it doesn’t carry its hurts and misfortunes from one year to the next: come winter the cycle is complete and the following spring brings with it another chance to start fresh, unencumbered by the past.

I guess I could, by now, anticipate that in about a month all the perennials will be fully grown and the flower beds will be covered in violets. I could guarantee that the beginning of June will see the first tomato, or that mid-May the roses will be flush with bloom. I could anticipate the veil of Heavenly Blue morning glories that always heralds the beginning of September, but just because I expect all of these things to happen, that doesn’t mean I don’t rejoice in them just the same.

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