It is the HOMELIEST month of the year. Most of it is MUD, Every Imaginable Form of MUD, and what isn’t MUD in March is ugly late-season SNOW falling onto the ground in filthy muddy heaps that look like PILES of DIRTY LAUNDRY. ―
Well, I don’t agree. Especially now that almost everything becomes evergreen due to global warming no doubt. Even deciduous trees and plants somehow failed to shed their leaves entirely. The photo above and below I’ve taken both in February 2015 and look how beautiful they are. And there is no snow this year aside from occasional night frost which right away disappear in the morning. We had more foggy days and nights though that linger compared to other years. The temperature now is in most days double-digit which is on its own very alarming but who noticed? In my experience, December and January are the most depressing months of the year. Cold, wet, windy and dark. By February the days get longer and the garden is starting to wake up. No, March for me is okay. That is when I start pruning the roses and from then on, the work never stops.
“As my grandmother discovered long ago, the Japanese excel in cultivating nature. Their gardens come in numerous styles, including paradise gardens, dry-landscape gardens, stroll gardens, and tea gardens. Although each type has its own goal, tray all share the same principle: nature is manipulated to create a miniature symbolic landscape.
A paradise garden is meant to evoke the Buddhist paradise through the use of water dotted with stone “islands.” Dry-landscape gardens, usually tucked away in Zen temples, use dry pebbles and stones to create minimalist views for quiet contemplation. Stroll gardens offer changing scenes with every step, a pool of carp here, a mossy trail there, and a small bridge to link them both, while a tea garden provides a serene path to take you from the external world to the spiritual one of the teahouse.”
“There is a bench in the back of my garden shaded by Virginia creeper, climbing roses, and a white pine where I sit early in the morning and watch the action. Light blue bells of a dwarf campanula drift over the rock garden just before my eyes. Behind it, a three-foot stand of aconite is flowering now, each dark blue cowl-like corolla bowed for worship or intrigue: thus its common name, monkshood. Next to the aconite, black madonna lilies with their seductive Easter scent are just coming into bloom. At the back of the garden, a hollow log, used in its glory days for a base to split kindling, now spills white cascade petunias and lobelia.
I can’t get enough of watching the bees and trying to imagine how they experience the abundance of, say, a blue campanula blossom, the dizzy light pulsing, every fiber of being immersed in the flower. …
Last night, after a day in the garden, I asked Robin to explain (again) photosynthesis to me. I can’t take in this business of _eating light_ and turning it into stem and thorn and flower…
I would not call this meditation, sitting in the back garden. Maybe I would call it eating light.
I’m going to sit here every day the sun shines and eat this light. Hung in the bell of desire.”
A poor old Widow in her weeds
Sowed her garden with wild-flower seeds;
Not too shallow, and not too deep,
And down came April — drip — drip — drip.
Up shone May, like gold, and soon
Green as an arbour grew leafy June.
And now all summer she sits and sews
Where willow herb, comfrey, bugloss blows,
Teasle and pansy, meadowsweet,
Campion, toadflax, and rough hawksbit;
Brown bee orchis, and Peals of Bells;
Clover, burnet, and thyme she smells;
Like Oberon’s meadows her garden is
Drowsy from dawn to dusk with bees.
Weeps she never, but sometimes sighs,
And peeps at her garden with bright brown eyes;
And all she has is all she needs —
A poor Old Widow in her weeds.
Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden – in all the places. ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett
For me, it’s the restlessness. I can hardly sit still. I keep fidgeting, crossing one leg and then the other. I feel like I could throw off sparks, or break a window–maybe rearrange all the furniture. Or dig the whole garden and starts anew. Yesterday I killed five giant Choisya Ternata (Mexican orange blossom) for no reasons other than boredom and wanting something new. The other day I killed three Great Maple trees and planning to dig up two more when I came from vacation. They are in the wrong place for God’s sakes! I put them there because I wanted shadow for my Hydrangea Macrophilia but I’ve read somewhere that their roots are shallow depriving other plants around them of moisture and hydrangea is hydrangea for the obvious reason so they have to go. See? I have some pretty valid excuses. I will replace them with trees with purple leaves like Acer or Sambucus Nigra Black Lace or Catalpa x erubescens ‘Purpurea’ to break up all the homogenous green that seems to be dominating my garden. I will buy a few Azaleas also to replace the ones that died from drought last year. And a couple of Nepeta and Peonies. Oh, God, It’s so easy to break the bank when it comes to buying plants for the garden. I think I will dress up now for my appointment with the doctor at six. You see, I’m feeling quite queasy lately, especially when I lie down or turn my head left right up down. So much so that I gave over in bed first time in history. And I’m losing my vision ever so often. That or there are these zigzaggy flickering patterns floating around. Sometimes black dots or multi-colored blinking stripes dominating my view. I wonder if it’s normal. Okay, Have a wonderful weekend and see you next time.
In the deepening spring of May, I had no choice but to recognize the trembling of my heart. It usually happened as the sun was going down. In the pale evening gloom, when the soft fragrance of magnolias hung in the air, my heart would swell without warning, and tremble, and lurch with a stab of pain. I would try clamping my eyes shut and gritting my teeth, and wait for it to pass. And it would pass –but slowly, taking its own time, and leaving a dull ache behind.
“April is the cruelest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.”
Why it reminds me of a May-December love affair? Or a gigolo manipulating and conning older women for personal gain? Or the grandmother of D. who fell in love with her nurse and holds onto her unshakable faith in his innocence and integrity even after he was convicted and found guilty of cheating his patients out of their money and valuables. Or my mother falling head over heels with one of my boyfriends she was inconsolable and remained in bed for three weeks on ends when he and I broke up. She refused to cook since then till the day she died. Funny people.
“Now is the time of fresh starts
This is the season that makes everything new.
There is a longstanding rumor that Spring is the time
of renewal, but that’s only if you ignore the depressing
clutter and din of the season. All that flowering
and budding and birthing— the messy youthfulness
of Spring actually verge on squalor. Spring is too busy,
too full of itself, too much like a 20-year-old to be the best time for reflection, re-grouping, and starting fresh.
For that you need December. You need to have lived
through the mindless biological imperatives of your life (to bud, and flower, and show off) before you can see that a landscape of newly fallen snow is THE REAL YOU.
December has the clarity, the simplicity, and the silence you need for the best FRESH START of your life.”