Pink Moons and Spring Diversions

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Acer sikkimense

Flowers of an Asian maple species, Acer sikkimense, grown from seed collected in Vietnam in 2008. Note the two arching white styles in each flower; even at this point in flower development, you can see the ‘wings’ or samara at the base of each style familiar to all of us in our playful youths.

The Garden, at Last, Through the Lens

As we all are quite aware, trying to get from point A to point B and then on to C in a garden during the spring takes herculean efforts. In a span of 75′ or 150′, we leave behind a ludicrous degree of carnage. You were, after all, just walking back to the kitchen for a quick cup of coffee. Behind you lay piles of weeds you had no intention of pulling (they were going to seed), scattered branches from two shrubs you had never before considered pruning (but man, do they look better now), a clump of Galanthus lifted to divide (you have absolutely no idea where you will plant the divisions) and a pocketful of 13 broken faded plant labels you have carried inside in an attempt to decipher and rewrite them. (They, along with a 1/4 cup of soil, are now sitting on your kitchen table next to your computer; you decided to check your email while sipping on a cup of freshly poured brew.)

That is the modus operandi of the prototypic gardener on a normal spring day, madly dusting nooks and crannies in a house before the guests arrive. The nooks and crannies, I might note, that the guests will never approach, let alone swipe with white gloves. (They will instead use, without asking, the guest powder room. The guest powder room where that unfortunate accident had occurred the night before.)

Yet this is a spring unlike any other spring we might ever experience in our gardens in our lifetimes. This is a prolonged moment we can pause and simply never mind the numerous undone chores for a tiny bit of every day. It has provided the permission to do those nothings that are in truth profound somethings. Have many of us not been guilty of sitting at a table with splendid friends for much of our lives while looking only at the food on our plates? At last is this spring when we can look each in their eyes and ask with genuine curiosity how precisely they do what they do.

Today, tomorrow and the next day, I implore you to leave your dirt-clogged trowel next to the kitchen sink (yeh, that’s where you left it…), carry your mug of choice out into the garden and inspect something, anything, more closely, in a way you never have.

– Dan