Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Paean to Green!

     Everyone has a favorite season of the year. For some people it may be Summer, for others Fall, and for a few crazies, even Winter has its appeal! Still, for me there is something about Spring – heck, there is LOTS about Spring – that ranks it highest in my seasonal preferences. 
     After this Winters record-breaking stormy weather, it is no surprise that warmer weather in general is to be welcomed. More than that, Spring embodies hope and renewal for us all, presented in a hundred (different) shades of green.
Beginning in April, bleak, colorless Winter is followed by Yellow-greens, and blue-greens, grey-greens and even green-greens! In the Northeast, it begins around Easter, as a cloud or mist of green, a smell as much as a color, which hovers over the still cold earth, enshrouding the barren branches of the trees and shrubs. Gradually, it settles down (or, does it, bubble up?), and begins to take the form of mosses, shoots and eventually leaves.
In a months time, maybe six weeks, what has been a lifeless, open expanse, is clothed in a variety of shimmering textures, fragrances and colors that cascade over the landscape. In the process, we encounter Snow Drops and Lily of the Valley, Ostrich Ferns and the first returning birds. Nature treats us to Asparagus and Rhubarb and if we stroll slowly, we may catch the scent trail of Lilacs. 

       Winter drives us indoors. Spring lures us outside, and into the garden, where we get to participate in this miracle of rejuvenation.  Clearing away the debris of last season’s growth, it is thrilling to discover that the Delphinium I nurtured from seed last year, has survived Winters onslaught.
 Yet, with each degree increase in warmth, a “weedy-green” begins to infiltrate the vegetable garden! So begins the age-old battle between one’s wishes for an orderly, bountiful garden, and Nature’s chaotic exuberance, which makes no distinction between the edible and the inedible.  It is time to retire the snow shovel and paint brushes that got us through the Winter;
“Hoes and rakes to the rescue!
Together, they extract the weeds,
and make the furrows for the seeds.”
                       Redeem your ski cap
for a sun hat.”
The imagination takes flight while occupied with the seemingly mundane. But, there is nothing mundane about the flavors and the nutrition that comes out of the garden. Nutrition, for body AND soul! So, plant on! And, don’t be afraid to thin your seedlings!
     Lucky readers in the New York area can get more gardening inspiration, when, on June 7 - 8, 2014, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is presenting Garden Day at The Cloisters, in Upper Manhattan. Members of the horticultural staff will be available to answer questions and talks will be given throughout each day on topics including The Medieval Garden, and Medieval Plants to  Delight the Senses. For more information, go to:

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