Do you remember being a kid and going to the amusement park? It wasn’t just going, it was also waiting to go, remembering how much fun you had the year before, thinking about the new rides you might try this year, seeing all your old friends and maybe meeting some new ones. That’s how this garden season feels to me.
January and February – your parents tell you can go to the amusement park during spring break, so long as it doesn’t rain. You’re thinking ahead to the new plants you’ll try like Alnus glutinosa ‘Imperialis’ – if you can find it; plotting out a new annual combination that includes Zinnia ‘Benary’s Giant Lime’ and Salvia ‘Amistad’; being sooo organized that you’ll get everything done on time and the garden will be spectacular this year!
March – you are finally at the park and have lucked out and gotten a seat in the first car of the biggest roller coaster. The car begins its slow chug up that first big hill – tick tick tick tick tick tick. Slow and steady, by St. Paddy’s day you’re on track with your clean up, your pruning and fertilizing, you really have things in hand. Toward the end of the month you’re starting to feel a bit of pressure because instead of pruning the boxwood, you ripped it out in favor of Ilex crenata ‘Hoogandorn’ which took longer than you expected but looks really good and will be a lot less trouble, and it’s finally raining buckets which is great … except it’s on your day off and you can’t get outside.
April – you are at the top of the biggest hill on that roller coaster and you can see for miles. Your heart is in your throat, your eyes are wide open, you throw your hands into the air and dare yourself to keep them up the whole way! You are a masterful gardener, you are planting and weeding and fertilizing and watering and mulching. Day after day you get another job done well and you can see all the way to the date in June when your garden will be open for a tour and you’ll be cool and collected and everything will be perfect including the weather!
May – you’ve crested the hill and you are flying down at top speed, whipping around curves, zinging through tunnels then back out into bright light and up another steep climb. You’re scrambling now to hit all of the important plant sales, squeezing in a terrific seminar, visiting your friend’s garden because her Enkianthus is blooming like never before and another friend’s native Azaleas are simply stunning. You’re still pretty much on track, but the plants are starting to stack up on the driveway if you could just get one full day in the garden you could get them all in the ground.
June – hands still in the air, you are grinning from ear to ear, eyes watering, you see ahead one final loop-de-loop before you come screeching to a halt, hair looking like Einstein’s, laughing and gasping for breath! All your big jobs are done, you are grooming and tending this gorgeous creation, the rain has been enough but not too much, the other gardeners who will be on tour the same day are feeling great and the tour volunteers are thrilled that they’ve sold all the tickets. You’ve just got this one important conference at which you’ll be presenting your new business, arriving home only one day before the tour but it’s all good! The tour day arrives and wonder of wonders … the sun is shining and you’re having a good hair day!
July – Hey, there’s no line for the Tea Cups!