After a few false starts and some hemming and hawing, it would seem that spring has finally arrived here in Charlottesville. The past weekend featured those perfect 70-something degree late April days that you wish would just last forever. The deep freeze of a few weeks ago seems to have done less damage than I first feared. There are little green cherries and blueberries forming and while the top of the tulip magnolia is brown, there appear to be new green shoots coming out, so we’re hopeful it will leaf back out. The blue hydrangea may not bloom this year – the entire top of the bush is black – but as soon as all fear of frost is over, I’ll cut it back hard and wait for next year. I spent some time gardening this weekend, reorganizing the stands of potted plants along the back of the house and the front porch. The hanging baskets on the front and back porches got fresh new liners, dirt and annuals in an attempt to actually do some of the things I write about for various publications. I’m still not entirely satisfied with my hanging baskets, but I did try some new things this year as a result of two articles I just turned in on the subject of annuals to be published later in the spring. I always feel like I shouldn’t just talk the talk, I should walk the walk too, although when it comes to hanging baskets, perhaps I should cut myself a break. I’m pretty content to just plant geraniums and begonias, attempt to successfully winter them in the basement and pull them back out the next spring. Actually this past winter, geranium and begonia slips were stuck in pots on windowsills in my bathroom and Edie’s bedroom and they all successfully bloomed in February, a joyous and welcome event. In the name of stretching, I planted snapdragons, allysum, coleus, lobeilla and verbena in my hanging baskets – all annuals I haven’t bothered with much in recent years. We’ll see how they hold up to my lax gardening skills come July.
I spent time wandering with my camera this weekend, but what I most wanted to capture was the fading pink dogwood blooms with green leaves springing out in their place against the blue April sky. I’m not sure there’s a color palate more gloriously spring than that, is there? After all, Lilly Pulitzer built a brand based on those colors (and a simple shift dress).
Of course, all this spring and garden talk means the inside of the house is finding itself somewhat neglected. I did a deep clean a few weekends ago (the same weekend of the deep freeze of course), so that will last at least a little bit, yes? Maybe one of these days I’ll spring for a cleaning service so I can spend more time outside digging. There might be a certain satisfaction in having a clean house, although it’s not as comforting as the act of digging in the dirt. I’m not sure if that’s because of the exercise involved or because what results from digging seems to last longer than the fleeting moment the house is clean. Because let’s face it, as long as you have a family, the house will never stay cleaner longer than a fleeting moment.
And I’m really okay with that.