Spring is such a great time of year and yet it can be so frustrating as well. I have my pots all ready and it rains. I go out and yank out the old foliage from last year and scrape around and it rains some more. I wait inside for some sun to warm things up so I can begin my gardening season. One day is warm and perfect and the next three are full of clouds and rain. Each year near spring I turn into my grandmother – needing a geranium fix.
My grandmother always wintered her flowers inside. She had pots of leggy geraniums on every ledge, table, and surface. She would go into her garage and put paper over the windows before relocating all of the geraniums and other plants inside. I think she wintered them because if you could winter a flower then you would not have to re-purchase in the spring! My grandmother did not spend money on matching pots or cutesy pots. She had flowers coming out of old aluminum coffee pots and wooden ice cream makers. If it could hold a bit of dirt and a flower, then it was filled.
I have tried to run my life along those lines as well. Tried is the key word here. Every winter I faithfully drag in plants and find them sunny locations for the winter. At first they are so pleasant looking in the house but eventually they begin to sag. Some of the leaves turn crispy and decorate the floor. Then inevitably I overwater and the stems begin to droop and turn the whole enterprise into a soggy mess.
I don’t remember if grandmother had problems when wintering her plants or not. I do know that once spring hit her yard was covered with pots of flowers and her flower borders were edged in rolled up newspapers. Sometimes I would help her lay out the newspaper in rows. Once I helped her shred and wet down paper to use as mulch. At the time, I was a little embarrassed because no one else’s yard was covered in old pots filled with flowers and wet newspaper. Now, the shredded newspaper makes total sense.
I remember that she had a nice, large tree in the front yard and one of the branches was a little bit low. Without fail, come spring, that low branch sported dozens of hanging baskets full of geraniums. Her front yard looked like a farmer’s market and each year I try to make my yard just a full of flowers as I remember hers being.
Last year I started a “Bee Garden.” It is a large corner bed with a stone border. On a day last week when it was warm I headed out to my Farmer’s Market and purchased my first geraniums of the year. I really would like to have several of every color of the geraniums. And the verbena. And the petunias. And, well, just a few of everything would be nice but reality sets in. It would cost a fortune AND someone has to plant all of those flowers.
I like to plant and work out in the garden so it works out for us. Last week, I talked hubs into taking his pickup truck to the dirt place and getting me a load of dirt mixed with compost. He was very compliant and brought the dirt home. The youngest and the young teen helped shovel it into my beds. The day was warm and beautiful. The boys worked hard and then slid away as soon as possible. I planted the few vegetable plants I had and then I began to work in earnest on the Bee Garden.
One young adviser instructed me that we needed ONLY flowers in there that would attract pollinators. I informed him that EVERY flower in my Bee Garden was chosen specifically for that reason. He sniffed and slunk back to the deck, not even offering to help plant.
I am a bend-over gardener. My knees don’t work so well, and I am so close to the ground that it is easier to bend over to weed and to plant my flowers. On this beautiful day I was bent over working ever so hard when I felt a hand on my rumpus. I thought hubs must have come into the garden area so I gave it a wiggle and a giggle and kept on working. I thought that I must look OK upside down or he wouldn’t have patted me so. In just a moment, I felt the hand begin to slide and I jerked myself up to tell someone to mind his own business.
When I did the shovel slid on down my rumpus and hit the ground at my feet.
Well, Good Grief! I don’t suppose I looked all that great after all!
At least I got some Bee flowers planted!