A Very Late Spring
It has been a week since I returned from my annual spring clean-up trip home to work in my Maine garden. When I planned this trip for the last weekend in April, I was imagining sunshine and mild temperatures. What I got instead were temperatures mostly in the 30s and 40s (F) and a little bit of sun mixed with lots of clouds and rain.
I was amazed to see just how late spring is this year. There were still patches of snow here and there along the side of the driveway and the forsythia had not yet begun to bloom. The only signs of flowers were the buds beginning to open on the maple trees, and a few crocus blooms and one brave hellebore bloom in the serenity garden.
But although it wasn’t quite the spring scene I had imagined, once Saturday’s heavy rain stopped, it turned out to be a good weekend for spring clean-up. The fact that so little had come up yet in the garden made it much easier to clean away the remains of last year’s garden season. One of Lucy Simon’s lyrics from the musical version of The Secret Garden kept running through my head:
We clear away the dead parts so the tender buds can form; loosen up the earth and let the roots get warm.
After just a few hours work on Sunday, some flower beds looked like this.
But others still looked like this.
A full day on Monday and another few hours on Tuesday allowed me to finish the job. Even the back slope, which seldom gets a good spring cleaning, had all its old growth cleared out.
One of my favorite sights in the spring garden is the new pleated foliage of Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis). By the time I see the garden again in a few weeks, lots of new green growth will be up and spring flowers will be blooming.