March 13, 2006

Hail the Mud Season

I sometimes imagine that the gardeners calendar is not that of twelve months, but that of fifteen. Fifteen distinct seasons. Someday I'll either design my own calendar or write a book based around that concept. Plant people are closely connected to nature, and can sense the slightest change in both spirit and growth,that the difference between November and December is not nearly as distinct at that moment between first heavy frost, and the day after.

I can think of many ways to creatively divide summer itself. Maybe breaking it down to at least five or six seasons, : Peak solstice in mid June when here, in New England, the gardens have turned into a high-deff vision of early summer bloom that rivals no other: bloomy moss roses, floppy peonies, phalanxes of German bearded Iris in curious shades of cocoa, liver and mauve and, and spires of foxgloves. Yet the seasons can change practically overnight. High Summer is quite different, those last two weeks of July and the first two weeks of August, where the humidity can approach 100 percent, and the air is as thick with the tooth-pasty creamy scent of trumpet lilies and Asiatic lilies. Barechested, and barefooted, one can walk blindfolded through these summer seasons and know exactly what week it may be.

But it is now, in early March, the beginning of not only the classic Mud season, but indeed the outdoor gardening season here in Zone 5b. The snow has melted, the early shrubs are blooming and the crocus seiberi are up with the galanthus. And even though it may snow again, we know that since the morning chorus has started ( a week ago here, with a confirmed migratory Robin sighted and heard last Sunday), spring is on it's way.

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