What Marks the Arrival of Spring for you?
Is it one thing in particular? Perhaps the classic sighting of the first robin, spotting the first snowdrops or crocuses, or seeing bags of grass seed stacked outside the hardware store? Maybe, like me, it is simply something in the air—the moist, rich smell of soil readying to nurture its emerging plant life for another season.
Gardening has become a national pastime of huge proportions—there is even a National Dandelion Day. (Incidentally, World Naked Gardening Day is May 5th). We have become a nation of gardeners for whom Spring is perhaps the most anticipated time of the year.
Of course, plants aren’t the only life form that point the way to Spring’s arrival. Starting in early March, young turkeys descend on our lawn, the goldfinches flying around our birdfeeders regain their yellow plumage and swarms of tiny insects appear out of nowhere, buzz about for brief moments, then vanish with the wind.
Another indicator is the beginning of the greatest national pastime—baseball. That sport’s Opening Day celebration is possibly the most-anticipated event in our country. For weeks before, we follow the players through their pre-season warm-ups, watching them stretch, run and throw while working out the kinks in their bodies and long-dormant skills. These weeks of practice remind their muscles how to prepare for the grind of the long campaign ahead.
Gardeners don’t get Spring Training, nothing to ease them into the season. Our first days count, and are typically followed by calluses, sore muscles and stints on our own Disabled List. And unfortunately, we don’t have a bullpen or extra players on a bench to replace us.
Like baseball players, gardeners get to work outside and roll around on the grass, and we don’t work in the rain. Our seasons last only during warm weather, and, as baseball teams go from city to city, gardeners will travel during the season to other gardens near and far.
As with the occasional mid-season trading of players, gardeners have been known to trade plants, even in the intense heat of summer, when an opening develops or something we already have just isn’t working out.
I love visiting other gardener’s gardens, always learning by listening to someone else’s ideas and walking through their inspired creations.
But, as much as I appreciate the novelty in visiting new gardens, I feel no greater comfort than while surrounded by the familiar, deep-rooted affection I have for my own.
A clear home-field advantage.
Jon Feldman is the owner of G. biloba Garden Environments. Reach him at 353-3448 or www.gbiloba.com