Sunday, March 21, 2010

Whole New Year

I'm very excited about the garden this year. In fact, this is going to be a stellar year for gardening. For one thing, I've shaken off the desire to grow vegetables in my small city plot, which -sorry all, is liberating. I've got this whole new arena now to work on in the side yard with the yew tree down after the heavy snowfall. I was thinking this evening as I pruned the roses about my commitment to this garden. It's the longest I've tended one place. Over the last 20 years I relentlessly read books, worked for landscapers and Manhattan rooftop designers, and even worked at a retail nursery. But, for all that -I've never really had a garden, not for more than a year. And that's what it takes -many years, to settle in to it, know it deeply, and grow.

This evening, pruning roses, I thought about the toughness of that act. I thought about pulling out two of the roses, maybe. I remembered the sensation of working late on busy spring days. I smelled the neighbor's barbecue -so good. I heard the children playing in the street and the chatter of Shenanigans. Pruning the roses is about attention -to avoid thorns, to untangle branches, to shape or imagine shaping, and finally, to wear the garden like an article of spring clothing.

I've pruned the 'Knockout' rose hard. Should it be knocked out of the garden?

'New Dawn' will live to see another, tangled as it is with two plants: honeysuckle and clematis.

It and the clematis were spared the diesel shovel when I pulled them from their first home and plunked them in my front yard. The clematis is showing more impressive growth this year than the last three, but has never flowered in its new home. 'New Dawn', however, is built like a tank.

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If I do not respond to your comment right away, it is only because I am busy pulling out buckthorn, creeping charlie, and garlic mustard...