This (above) is what I saw when I looked out the window this morning, and I suspect many others across the Northeast, Midwest, and even points southerly might be seeing something similar. Or something equally unpleasant.
Winter has a tough time letting go; in Western New York we can always count on some April snows or freezes, and it looks like we’re not alone. What did I do to prepare for it? Not a damn thing. I figure any plant that expects to survive in my garden from year to year had better be able to do it without early spring babying. The sunrise show guys on TV this morning confirmed it, advising me to expect a little browning on the tulip foliage, but that the only things to worry about were food crops.
I believe them, having seen incredible comebacks on the part of such early bloomers as hellebores, which would one day be lying flat on their faces, looking all but dead, and then 2 days later bounce back in peak condition. These late, pathetic attempts to discourage me only make me smile; they are reminders of how close the outdoor gardening season is.
Speaking of high anxiety, I also had to smile at a recent series in the New York Times about vegetable gardening for beginners. It was filled with worried talk about soil samples, possible screw-ups, and over-ordering of seeds. I particularly remember the phrase “Growing vegetables as a major part of your life requires major sacrifices”.
It’s a nice article and a nice idea, but how did everything get so difficult? I don’t have a veggie garden, but my parents and both sets of grandparents did. My grandmother managed hers in between raising 7 kids and working fulltime as a housekeeper. My grandfather on the other side worked at a factory, grew tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and so on, and also made wine in the basement. Any one of them would have looked perplexed at being told what a sacrifice they were making by growing vegetables.
There were certainly plenty of things to worry about then, but I don’t think gardening was one of them. Maybe we can get back there.