Spring is flitting among my thoughts, a butterfly alighting here and there, only to whisk away again on gossamer wings. I just came in from snow-shoeing; the warm caressing breezes are more akin to early April than February 13. I could have managed with a robust sweatshirt rather than my ancient ski jacket, and the lake that I circled shimmers with puddles lying on its icy surface.
The arrival of the Prairie Moon Nursery catalog (specializing in native seeds and plants for gardening and restoration) goosed my Spring daydream, and prompted an eye-roll from the Spousal Unit. With more than 30 years of marriage under his belt, he (wisely) said not a word. Trying not to salivate on the glossy pictures of pollinator gardens, mix and match trays and host plants, it occurred to me that my garden will be waking up while we travel to the UK and to Grand Cayman. My mind raced ahead. What will happen without me here? Can I put protection in place before we go? Will it be too cold to install our sprinkler defense system?
I finally found a few stolen moments to study my garden journal, and I have formulated the beginning of a plan. The last two weeks of April will find us in the UK; in 2019, the first notes in my journal are from April 21. On April 8, 2020, I wrote "Planted columbine seeds in front driveway flower bed and several other places in front of the house." Judging from two years of data, ground squirrels can emerge from hibernation (ravenously hungry, mind you!) anywhere from mid-April to early May.
Weather permitting, the following tasks need to be completed before our UK trip: 1. Guard Strawberries, Stonecrop, Columbine, Nodding Onion, Chives and Goldenrod with chicken wire 2. Plant Columbine seeds
We will be home for two and a half weeks before we fly to Grand Cayman mid-May. This will be perfect timing to: 1. Install sprinkler defense system 2. Remove dead stalks from plants 3. Fertilize trees and shrubs 4. Guard Penstemon, Aspen Fleabane, Paintbrush, Poppy and Aster with chicken wire 5. Plant Blanketflower seeds.
By the time we return from Cayman, the garden could look like this.
All the while I am in this daydream, reality keeps tugging me back, like gravity pulls the moon toward Earth. I am not ready to let go of winter - the window to enjoy winter sports is already short enough (and getting briefer). So, for now, you will still find me on the slopes with Spousal Unit and cross-country skiing in the meadow with Dear Neighbor Friend and her dog. Pray for snow!