Every day, without hope and without despair

Can you believe that just one week ago we were scurrying to save our plants from the freeze? Now that freeze feels like a lot of hype. We didn’t lose anything in our garden, except we probably won’t have blueberries, which the birds eat anyway.

Blueberry blossoms, pre-freeze

I suspect the fear of returning to dull, brown colorlessness and wearing coats all the time contributed to my panic.  But building a tent city in the backyard and dragging all the pots out of the garage wasn’t that difficult. Like other small gestures we make to keep death at bay—switching to skim milk or trying turmeric—the effort didn’t harm anything, and may even have helped a little. 

So spring continues, as inexorable as water. Today is downright sultry. The season is so dynamic: as soon as one thing fades, another pops up to take its place. Today and yesterday I’ve started seeing a whole bunch of new flowers I don’t recognize.

About the white flower, PlantNet (plant identification app) says this:

I only have room in my brain for a few new plants each year. I’ll get interested in something and start seeing it everywhere. This year’s it’s golden groundsel.  I read about it, looked at a picture, and ordered a few plants without ever actually noticing it growing. Now I see more each day. Right now it’s flowering profusely. Here’s some I spied growing in the parking lot of a nearby office building.

Golden groundsel

I’ve talked about how I removed the ivy and spaded up the barren patch by our front door.  Afterwards, the ground hardened like concrete. Not even weeds have sprouted.

Bare patch of dirt with stump

Last week I planted the plugs I got from Prairie Nursery, and I was disappointed that they were so few. I wish I’d bought more. I just can’t look at this triangle of hardened mud all year, so I bought some sweet woodruff at Soil Service yesterday.  I hope it spreads. I felt like apologizing to the little plants for putting them in such an inhospitable place when I dropped them in their holes, but we’ll see how they do.

One downside to planting plugs is that they’re pretty puny the first year. I thought some of last year’s plantings had died completely, like the coreopsis. What a lovely surprise it is to see them return. They’re thriving and naturalizing, too.  At first the new growth was purplish, like it is on so many plants.  I once heard that at an earlier time in Earth’s history, all plants were red, and that ones we see today with purple or maroon foliage are descended from ancient species.  I have no way of knowing if that is true, although I suppose all of us have descended from some ancient species.

In any case, spring’s gloriousness continues.  Although the lilacs are fading, and next week we may be saying goodbye to the flowering dogwoods and redbud trees, the peonies and these azaleas are gathering force.  It’s my birthday next week, and they always feel like a special gift to me. Today’s title, originally intended to be about writing, comes from Danish author Isak Dineson, but to finish, I’m going to borrow this lovely thought from Walter Benjamin:

“For if, when we love, our existence runs through nature’s fingers like golden coins that she cannot hold and lets fall to purchase new birth thereby, she now throws us, without hoping or expecting anything, in ample handfuls to existence.”