Two and a half weeks ago, winter had one last laugh, whipping us with a winter storm. This spring reminded me of a joke told in our small elementary school’s news letter:
`CANADA HAS FOUR SEASONS, ALMOST WINTER,WINTER, STILL WINTER AND CONSTRUCTION!
This kid joke always makes me laugh because it is true and the only thing I can do is laugh.
Today, though, it was 24 C and my daffodils are blooming and countless other shoots are breaking through the soil. There is nothing like the new, fresh green of spring. It feels like my eyes are drinking in green like a parched desert traveller stumbling upon an oasis just in time to save his life. This was a very late spring, it is already May 2 but I refuse to complain. I will delight in warm earth, green shoots and buds, birds singing.
I used to do most of my gardening surrounded by babies, toddlers and kids. I love to dig in the warm earth without gloves so that I am able to feel the moist earth as well as inhale its rich aroma. This love of dirt connected with my children’s fascination and even toddlers dug with a small plastic shovel in their own area near me while I was free to garden to my heart’s content. For me, the garden was always the children’s domain as well as mine because I wanted them in the garden, connecting with the earth.
As my kids participated in planting seeds, watering growing plants and picking fruit and vegetables, they became attuned to the rhythms of nature. They marveled at the power packed in a tiny seed because after planting one bean seed, they soon ate handfuls of green beans that they picked themselves. They had the freedom to pick and eat beans, snow peas, raspberries, strawberries and carrots straight from the garden as snacks because they were not banned from a perfect, show piece garden.
Our gardens were lush and colourful but not gorgeous show pieces The toughest perennial flowers were the only ones that survived at our house, ones that could withstand being yanked, stood on and sat on. The gardens were and are huge, containing many more fruit and veggies than we could eat because we grew enough to give away to our generous friends and family for bartering with. Our family even grows enough for the wild animals surrounding our little acreage because, in their opinion, our garden is their own personal restaurant.
Now my adult offspring come every Mother’s day with bedding plants and muscles to work for hours on the thing they know gives me the most pleasure, my meandering gardens.