May 5, 2014

April Showers Bring May Flowers

We've lived through a winter that wanted to go on forever, followed by an unusually cool April, then five inches of rain last week. Now -- at last -- we have a beautiful spring weekend to celebrate the beginning of May.

On Friday, I spent a couple hours at the annual Flower Mart at the Washington National Cathedral. I returned home with two flats of flowers and spent several hours choosing what to put where -- the most fulfilling part of gardening for me.

My age and my Parkinson's keep me from planting big shrubs, spreading mulch and performing other heavier tasks. But I've found a great gardener to help with those chores. Still, I enjoy puttering around in the garden. Most of my work is done near a tree, a bird feeder pole, or a fence -- so I can hang on to something and get up without losing my balance.

In her wonderful memoir Somewhere Toward the End, Diana Athill describes the joy seniors can still find in their gardens:
I manage to do at least a little bit of work myself; tie something back, trim something off, clear some corner of weeds, plant three or four small plants, and however my bones ache when I've done it, I'm always deeply refreshed by it. Getting one's hands into the earth, spreading roots, making a plant comfortable -- it is a totally absorbing occupation, like painting or writing, so that you become what you are doing and are given a wonderful release from considerations of self. 
And so for that matter is simply sitting in your garden, taking it in.
That's exactly what I did a few hours ago as I finished my Saturday-Sunday plantings. Here's the secluded nook in the back of the garden where I sat and took it in:

Here are two views looking back at the house . . . and the screened, mosquito-free porch where I'll spend lots of pleasant time over the next six months:

Walking back to the house, I had the option of taking the new steps toward the garden on the side of the house:

I decided instead to head for the back porch by way of the fish pond and waterfall:

We end where we began -- with the young Buddha: 

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