Crowz Nest

Because it's time... as it was once before.

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Location: Port Murray, NJ

I'm a bit old to be starting out in life again, but that's where I am. Sadly. Or gladly. It's where I am. Come along. Watch the fun. Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

A true spring...

When I was a child, it was a ritual to get an Easter outfit - a new dress, new shoes and matching bag, and invariably, a new spring coat. A spring coat was a needed transitional item to carry one through the cool spring days that flowed from winter into summer. A winter coat was much too warm, but you needed something. It's been years since I needed a spring coat. We've seemed to go straight from winter into summer. But this year, for about the last three weeks, we've had the first real spring I can remember having in a long, long time. Mornings are crisp; the last few nights we've had frost warnings, and when I leave for work at 6:00 a.m., it's barely been above freezing. When I walk over to the UC to pick up lunch at 11:30, it's been in the high forties or low fifties. I'm glad to have a light jacket on. By 2:30, when I'm heading home, I'm carrying my jacket over my arm.
Today, it was frosty in the morning, but by mid-afternoon, when I was mowing the lawn, it had reached into the high sixties. The sky was cloudless, the air dry, the breeze gentle.

My back yard is inviting. The invading Lily of the Valley is everywhere, and beginning to bloom. I've decided I'll beat it back after the bloom is over, as the smell is so lovely. The lilacs came out in the last three days. They smell wonderful, too. There hasn't been an evening in the last two weeks, except for last weekend when it rained, when I haven't been able to sit outside after dinner, with either the newspaper or a book, sipping a cup of coffee, and simply enjoying watching the flowers bloom and the grass grow.

The dogs are enjoying the yard, too. Crow follows me while I work. As I went in and out of the house today, it became clear that she would have dearly loved it if I decided to stay indoors after a while. She'd stand inside the kitchen, and look at me as I headed back out through the utility shed - "You're not serious? We're going back out?" and she'd sigh and accompany me back outside. I put together a reel mower today - what the guy behind me in line at the Home Depot referred to as a "retro mower." I had to go inside a couple of times to get tools that I needed, and Crow was clearly puzzled. On the other hand, Hudson thinks this new turn of events is perfect. He's delighted to spend the entire day outdoors. He watches the traffic go by on the road. He monitors activities at the house across the street. He keeps our airspace free of crows and hawks. He patrols. Or he simply lies there and watches.

At the end of these two days, I've ridden my horse, I've mowed the lawn, I've weeded more and mulched more, I've pruned rosebushes, and chopped down more dead growth in the garden beds. I've shopped and chopped and trimmed and neatened. And I've sat out and watched the birds at the feeders. I've worked and taken the time to enjoy the results of that work. (Ok. There's still laundry to be done, but I don't remember ever feeling this satisfied, this gratified - this FULL - after having tackled and completed a pile of laundry.)

This is where I sit - this is what I see. The yard, untended for many years when I bought the house, is coming along. The dogs are tired at the end of a long day outdoors. So am I. We're all tired and happy. It has been, so far, a perfect spring.

I guess you could call this "settling in."


Blogger Knatolee said...

Your lilac bush is FANTASTIC!!!!

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Elizabeth (from Grass Run) said...

Ginny -- what you identified as a "cowslip" is Mertensia, sometimes called "Virginia bluebells" (and sometimes they are pink, rather than blue). And yes, it is phlox -- Phlox divaricata, sometimes called "woods phlox." I also have lily of the valley working its way up between the bricks of the walk along the side of the house.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Crowzma said...

Hey, thanks, Elizabeth. Yeah, the guide I went to called that plant Mertensia, sometimes called Virginia bluebells, or Virginia cowslip. So, I guess it's known as both. And is that phlox divaricata the money plant? I know I have some of those from late last summer - the field guide photographs show a flower that would seem to match what I'm seeing.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Crowzma said...

I just looked up phlox divaricata in one of the field guides here in the library - the blossoms are very similar, but the leaves aren't right. I'm pretty sure that we're looking at the Lunaria, or Money Plant, that Knatolee first suggested. The leaves and blossoms are both a match. I suppose late summer and those really specific seed pods will tell...

12:34 PM  
Anonymous elizabeth said...

I was going by the flower, because I wasn't sure from the photo which leaves belonged to the flower and which might be another plant. At my in-laws house in western Michigan, lunaria is a "garden escapee" that seeds all over their pine woodland. Where we are in southeast Ohio, there is another wildling with flowers similar to woodland phlox, called "dame's rocket" -- it's not native and considered a threat to native wildflower stands.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Crowzma said...

I don't know what lunaria is considered here - except beautiful. It's growing primarily in lightly wooded areas, and it makes a breathtaking undergrowth in the patchy shade and sunlight there. I'm not planning on getting rid of it unless it starts to take over.

11:04 AM  

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