The weather is starting to get slightly warmer (even as I drove to work this morning through a snow shower), and I’m daydreaming about gardens. It’s one of the inescapable facts of my life, right up there with my inability to walk past a stack of books without picking one up and my deep and true love of all things silly. As soon (or even before) the first spiky bulb leaves start poking their way through the soil, without even realizing it, I start mulling over where I should plant lettuce, and rose varieties, and whether I should try planting garlic again. When I’m at the grocery store, the cardboard displays of seed packets start to develop an irresistible allure. I start thinking about how much ground I might have to dig up, and weighing the competing merits of amending the ground with worm castings (assuming I can find some for sale) vs. dried blood, and whether or not a judicious addition of a little sand (we do have very heavy clay soil) might not be wise, while trying to decide whether or not the compost at the bottom of the heap might not be ready in time for spring planting, and oh yes, when was the last time you turned it (that would be, um, never).
I haven’t had a real garden for some time, not since I left the house had shared with Johnsy. For a while I had a sort of psychological block about it. I’ve been slowly getting over that, and last year I made a small attempt at a garden. I had a rose bush planted in a large tub, some tomato plants by the back steps, and potatoes and garlic along the foundation. My results were mixed. Things were going swimmingly up until I tore the muscle in my calf, and was pretty much disabled for a large chunk of the summer. I wasn’t able to water the garden anymore, and my potato plants and garlic choked and died. My rose bush seemed to do just fine, and kept blooming even into December. The tomato plants were looking pretty sad, but rallied after I started being able to water them again, and I got what I consider a decent amount of fruit considering the quality of their care. Right now I’m thinking of putting in tomatoes again by the back steps, though I might use the trellises to grow an early crop of peas before it’s time to put the tomatoes in. My big plans, though, are for a rose garden.
You see, there is this lovely corner of the house, right at the end of the sun porch that forms my sewing/crafting room below, and my bedroom above. It gets nearly full sun, one of the few spots in the yard that does. Up until last summer, it had been occupied by two largely useless bushes. However, last summer the landlord had the bushes cut down, I think to facilitate painting the outside of the house. So now I have stumps where the bushes were. I want to replace those stumps with rose bushes, particularly climbing rose bushes. I have visions of training rose branches up and around the window of my sewing room. If I’m lucky, maybe they’d even reach up to my bedroom. I have this little daydream of waking up in the morning, and pulling aside my bedroom curtains to see roses encircling my window. (It’s kindof like this, but with roses instead of birds.) I could put other rose bushes in front of the climbing roses, and maybe some other vegetables and flowers to fill out the rest of the corner. It would be awfully pretty.
So far this plan hasn’t gone further than extracting a tentative promise from Atlas to maybe come grub those bush stumps out for me (I promised to feed him very well, but that doesn’t mean he’ll remember the promise when it comes time to actually dig), and spending some time browsing through online catalogs of roses and drooling over the options. The rose I currently have in its big tub is an Iceberg, which will grow to a pretty good size. The roses I particularly love are the subtly colored pale, creamy roses, with touches of pink and yellow that defy color classification. However, I also have a sentimental fondness for the pink climbing rose Zephirine Drouhin, which is famous for being a clue in an Agatha Christie mystery (the killer claims to have gotten scratched up by a rose bush, except the rose in question is a Zephirine Drouhin, which has no thorns). There’s also the exquisitely beautiful Aimee Vibert, or Eden, or The Impressionist. Where I really get lost, though, is when I start contemplating the roses to plant in front of the climbing rose along with my Iceberg. There is just too much loveliness to think about!
Good thing I’ve still got a couple of months to think about it!