Spring in New England can test a gardener. She begins her slow unfolding on March 20 and proceeds at a slow pace. Spring will not rush, no matter how much we’d like her to.
Be patient, she whispers. It will all happen in due time. Patience has never been my thing, but I have learned to accept the futility of picking a fight with nature.
April tends to be the month of slow marching through warmer days, cool nights, frosty mornings, and unpredictable weather. The daffodils, slightly confused by this year’s erratic temperatures, have been attempting to bloom for a while now. The landscape is still bare, but there are swelling leaf buds on the cherry tree, the quince, and the maples.
Early spring is the time to be patient and do the prep work. First comes clearing, then comes planting and blooming.
Last week we had some warm, sunny days. I started walking around the garden and taking inventory of what will need to be done. Now is the time to prune, remove dead stems, leaves, and debris, and put a new layer of compost in the garden.
A couple of days ago, I finally started the cleanup. I pruned the spireas and cleared the perennial border in front of the house. It felt good to get my hands dirty again. The daffodils are in full bloom, and tulips, iris, and daylilies are just coming through. I have learned to count on these old friends. They hardly ever let me down.
The rose bushes are a whole other story.
I have tried my hand at growing roses for many years. They can be finicky, and I don’t always do well with finicky. Roses have taught me how to cope with disappointment and not give up. After many attempts, I figured out which roses do best in my garden and which ones suit my temperament.
At this time of the season, the rose bushes are slowly coming out of dormancy. Some canes look dry and dark, but I can see they are green near their base, and some leaf buds are already swelling. Life is gradually rising through the roots. Roses are slow to wake up but, once they do, there is no holding them back.
Below you can see how one of the rose bushes looks now vs. how it will look in June.
Looking at the bare rose bushes makes me realize how uncertain but full of possibilities new beginnings can be.
We begin without knowing how our hopes and plans will grow and unfold. Some of what we hope for will come to fruition, but some may not. Knowing this does not diminish the sense of awe, wonder, and curiosity we experience at the beginning of something new.
On the contrary, this sense of endless possibilities can give us wings and helps us stay focused on our vision.
As we prepare to embark on a new relationship, a project, or a life chapter, we are filled with excitement but also apprehension. We have an idea or a plan but don’t have all the answers. There are no guarantees. Yet, we begin again and again! Isn’t that what life is all about? A string of endings and new beginnings, and through it all, we grow and become transformed.
How are you feeling this time of the year?
Are there changes coming your way, and how do you feel about them?
How comfortable are you with uncertainty? What helps you get past your apprehension?
My garden is a constant source of inspiration and support. Together, we have been through many seasons. We have continued to evolve and adapt to the elements. Although I have stood here many times before, I don’t know how it will all unfold this season. I can’t predict the weather or what storms may come our way. For now, I’ll go on with the clearing and prep work. I have some ideas about introducing new plants to the garden this year. We’ll see how it goes.
At this point, I am willing to allow the excitement of spring and the possibilities it brings with her to take over.
What about you?