It is another May. The grass is finally green, the air mild, the pollen flying and choking my poor friends and family who suffer from seasonal allergies. I am fortunate to not suffer from such allergies, but each May, without fail, I come under the influence of….the flower frenzy. There is no holding it back; some time after the first mild week when the tulips and daffodils are beginning to fade, I am gripped by an overwhelming need….Must…..Plant…Flowers. The Flenzy. It will not abate until I have visited every nursery in the vicinity and feverishly planted flowers in every dirt covered patch that could conceivably be termed a flower bed. The Flenzy generally ends soon after Memorial Day, because then it gets hot and I retreat to my cave.
I don’t care for heat, and the experience of harvesting green beans on a 95 degree July day while immensely pregnant with our second son convinced me that any type of gardening that required effort during high summer was not for me.
With flowers, it’s all the month of May – you weed, you dig, you plant, you fertilize, and then May and the Flenzy come to an end and you merely enjoy the fruits of your labor. In short bursts, when it’s not too hot.
I am not a conscientious gardener who plans, measures, tests soil, contemplates color and size gradations. No – I go to a nursery, see pretty flowers, and put them in holes. Occasionally I toss in some fertilizer, and notice whether or not full sun is recommended. And I will water them when necessary.
Beyond the basics it’s all pretty haphazard. After the beds have been weeded and the flowers planted here and there, wherever an unclothed area needs filling, then comes the joy of the “morning flower inspection.” In the cool of the morning I will walk about the yard, seeing how my colorful little charges have weathered the night. There may be a puzzling perennial poking tentatively through the ground, and I monitor its progress and wonder what it will turn out to be.
I smile confidently at the old standbys I recognize from previous years, knowing they will thrive no matter what I do. I ponder the newcomers, monitoring each one’s progress to see if it will hold its own among its random neighbors. In those 6-packs you buy there are inevitably one or two scrawny, spindly little things whose continued existence is far from assured. I pay special attention to these poor little fellas, and hope they pull through.
It’s heading into late May now, and the Flenzy is beginning to wind down. I have visited all the nurseries and picked out any flower that calls to me with color, shape and/or unusual characteristic.
I have dug my holes and someday soon may actually be able to grow my fingernails back without having them broken and begrimed by dirt. The Boris and Flash Memorial Garden, final resting place of 2 much loved cats who lost the battle with the state road nearby, is beginning to be ablaze with a mishmash of bright and showy flowers.
The sandbox garden, created when the young owners of the sandbox hit middle school, is more muted, because it’s in the shade of a huge honey locust.
All around the house are haphazard and odd sized flower beds, joyously vibrant with mismatched and odd sized flowers struggling to reach maturity. Much as I admire the formal gardens I have seen, the results of the annual Flenzy are more my style. Work really hard for a while, and then sit back and see what comes of it. Make adjustments as needed. Enjoy the results. Somewhat like raising two excellent sons, but much quicker.