10 March, 2009

Packing my bag.

Recovered from the smack-down that was stomach flu, I am out madly pruning and tidying the lavender, roses, and the Russian sage (Perovskia) that rivals and outlasts the lavender's blues. Another favorite in my garden is the elegantly swaying white bee-blossom (Gaura) tucked in between the shrubs. I'd show you photos, but all you'd see are clipped bits, with just the delicate promise of buds. I can assure you that for much of spring and summer the scent is intoxicating in parts of the garden, and I will do my best to show you some of this in the growing season.

I'm one in a line of care-takers of this old home, and that's quite clear in the garden, where primroses and all kinds of bulbs continue to pop up unexpectedly. I nurture the hydrangeas and the old, old roses that someone else planted and loved. The roses are an unknown variety with densely packed, unfashionably grandma-pink petals, a thick, thick scent that grabs you and does not let go, and a complete thicket of horrendous, differently-sized thorns; despite this quite forbidding armature, I won't let them go either.

The raspberries are trimmed and ready, but I had to cut back a bit of the exuberant gooseberry and black currant growth so you could walk by and get to the strawberries. They didn't make it through this winter so well, and it might be time for a little re-stocking. Just snipping the few black currant boughs released a pervasive and dark scent, seductive harbinger of the fruit to come. The grape vines are still sleeping.

No tomatoes this time. As much as I adore them, I am older and wiser in this one small regard (since last year). They seem to be a canine version of catnip for Dakar. I'm just not elegant when I howl about yet more lost tomatoes. (Insert visual here of silver dog slinking around corner.) So I will be buying tomatoes at the market, green ones, orange ones, pink ones and black, and placing them well out of dog reach. The children will find them in the kitchen, as children tend to do. They will look at me with dimpled, enquiring smiles and bite into them like apples. Just a few more weeks of waiting.

Oh the gardener's list of things to do, the definition of hope. All this is suddenly frenzied, because I lost focus and time being horizontal, and I'll soon be tucking the kids under each arm and taking the TGV to Paris. The day after tomorrow in fact. Thrilled as it is with the idea of rail travel, the small ones are also very happy to be spending time with Max's Parisian godmother and her similarly-aged brood.

I will be continuing onward for a family reunion in Prague; now there's a change from the garden. Never yet been, but am hope-hope-hoping for good weather, so as to be able to share what I see with you. Maybe we will feel spring there as well. If not, there's always the beer. And family. And kynute knedliky (raised fruit dumplings). Just maybe not in that order.

A Charles Rennie Mackintosh watercolour, found at Lark.

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