I stand, hands on hip, deciding where to start. I take one step and crouch down.
“Well, hello, Golden Pineapple double tulips!” I smile. “Look at you, starting spring so green and healthy!”
Reflecting beside the tiny wooden stake that announces their presence, I feel like I’m greeting an old friend, someone I have the pleasure of hanging out with for a precious few weeks each year.
I tenderly brush away the crispy brown oak leaves that surround my soon-to-be golden girls. “There you go,” I whisper. “A bit more room for sunshine, my friends.”
I linger for a moment, my heart full of exhilaration. I’m so grateful they’re here again. In a few weeks, they’ll be showing off this year’s splendid attire, but for now, their pointed ears have poked through the mulch and that’s more than enough to fascinate me.
Another step, another crouch. There’s a crowd of slender daffodil leaves, their delicate greenery strengthened by numbers. One daffodil may find it difficult to stand alone; a choir of them gather to support each other’s gangly stalks.
“I’ve missed you,” I say. “It looks like winter has been good to you.”
This time, one exhale—a whispered puff—and like magic, winter’s bits are blown from between their leaves; they are ready for the gentle spring sun that reflects their saffron hue.
I move slightly and lose my balance. One knee lands on a tiny lupine, and its wee finger-like leaves disappear underneath me.
“I’m sorry!” I cry, “I didn’t hurt you, did I?” I’m careful to roll back on my heel, causing as little stress as possible. Thankfully, the lupine is intact, and I whisper, “Good on you, my friend. Gee whiz, I’m sorry. Whew…that was a close one.”
I regularly find myself apologizing to various garden beings for my clumsiness. I tiptoe with care and good intention because I’m acutely aware that one misplaced step can smother a life.
I step—infinitely more careful this time—to peek behind a fallen log, the log that was home to a small winter hibernator. I notice the remnants of stored sustenance—dried apple bits and peanut shells will melt into the soil as the seasons turn—and that which was once food to an animal will now nourish the earth. Now, I discover a chatter of lilies that grow wild behind this log cabin. Their lemon-lime hued leaves scatter further afield each year, but they congregate in their shady shelter come spring.
“WOW!” I squeal, barely keeping myself from jumping for joy. “OMG, I’m SO GLAD to see you!” Last year the globe thistle didn’t thrive, and I didn’t expect it to survive the winter, but there it is! Spiky and impossibly kelly-green, it’s looking healthy and even perky.
“I love you!” I declare, loud enough that passers-by can hear me. I smile, realizing I’m likely seen to be a neighborhood crazy garden lady, but I don’t care. In fact, I revel in it. I’m ecstatic that my prickly pals are back again. Soon their periwinkle globes will be swarming with bees and butterflies, but for now, their tender leaves are growing strong.
A foot or so away, the garlic army is marching along in almost-perfect formation; almost perfect, I admit, because there are stragglers at the end of the parade, probably from last fall when I realized I had a few too many cloves and tossed them willy-nilly into a couple of holes. I imagine the cloves turning to heads, and I’m dumfounded. All that enigmatic action, just below the surface. Cool.
Spring in the garden feels like the happiest Christmas ever, welcoming beloved friends and family we haven’t seen for a year. Each day delivers new gifts. Poppies start to pop. Succulents expand their little families and are happy to show off their newest offspring. Their juicy new blossoms poke through the last vestiges of snow, seemingly racing the hyacinths and snowdrops to be the first to join the party.
It’s only April…and my garden is already a miracle. Once I enter it, time stops and flies by simultaneously.
I turn my focus to the boulevard garden. “Chives!” I exclaim. “Where did those come from?” They’re wild and tall and tangly already, and how could I not have noticed them before?
That’s the magic of a garden…walk around it 10 times and you’ll run into different friends each time. It’s a party, it’s Christmas, it’s timeless time spent, and it’s home for endless pollinators and other creatures that are nurtured by its growth and beauty. I’m just one of those creatures…and the others? I’m pleased to tell you they’re my astonishing friends.
About the Creator
I live with a broken brain and PTSD--but that doesn't stop me! I'm an author, artist, and qualified mediator who loves life's detours.
I co-authored NOT CANCELLED: Canadian Kindness in the Face of COVID-19. I also publish horror stories.
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