I love lilacs. No, listen. Lilacs, for me, are right up there with Christmas and the Fourth of July. Sure the crocuses show up early and are shocking with how colorful and alive they are. And then the delightful parade of tulips and daffodils assure us that warm and calm is just around the corner. But it is the lilac that stands at the threshold of Spring and Summer and usher us into the warm, into the slow, fluid rhythm beyond.
When I was a kid my mom would send me back to the lilac bush with a pair of old scissors and I would hack off several branches and then carry it the short walk to school with the stems wrapped in a damp paper towel to help keep them beautiful. I spent every step of that trip with my nose buried in those flowers. And for those few days, when the lilacs were open and alive, all of my backyard play centered on the lilac bush as I came back again and again to take in that perfect smell.
I still believe that lilacs smell best in the cool of the morning. I think that today I'll run out back before I leave and gather a bunch of lilacs for my own desk, so that this week will last a little longer, and be a little sweeter, until they are gone.
licensed under a Creative Commons License.
I don't really believe in omens, unless they are good ones and ladies and gentlemen, this afternoon I found two very good omens indeed. Not only are these good omens for our garden but also a sure sign that we are on our way to summer with no more backtracking. I was happy to be able to get these pictures without disturbing them. I don't know if they are mother and baby or just two buddies hanging out. They were sure cute though, and very aware of my presence.
Now all I need to find are some bees and some of the grandchildren and great grandchildren of our Mantises.
licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Wow, it's been awhile since I've ventured into the virtual lushness that makes up all the garden blogs I use to love. I won't lie, last summer ended up in the crapper. With terrible weather that squelched the yield of even the most experienced gardeners, hail, hurricane storms that found us in the midwest, all my seedlings destroyed by a storm, black spot on my tomatoes . . . well that was enough to demoralize even the most avid gardener. At the end of the summer I broke my foot and that was really the last straw for me and without any sort of formal decision, I decided to put Grandpa's Garden on the shelf for awhile and come back to it again.
I won't lie, I was a little worried that I wouldn't make it back. I've certainly killed my fair share of blogs and witnessed the carnage of many others. However, spring is a very reliable temptress (although a bit lazy this year) and in addition to the slow turn of brown and white to green and wild, was what I found in the boxes on my porch. My lettuce from last spring, probably the only thing I could call a success, had reseeded and was, very admirably growing along without my prodding or assistance.
Spring has come. The catalogs are well thumbed. The little master is just the right age to bring into the backyard as an apprentice. The trees are budding out, the robins and sparrows are singing ("When You're a Jet"), and once again I begin thinking of those cold spring mornings standing next to grandpa, before school, in my thin windbreaker, with the wet grass soaking through my shoes. He was thinking, planning, pondering. I find myself looking out the windows and feel that same expression on my face. And I'm glad, because it was an important time to be in the garden, to be anticipating spring, to be standing in the sunshine in the hour before school, thinking about the future.
The little master came running pellmell into the living room on Sunday exclaiming about a praying mantis on the screen door. He was agitated to say the least. His plans involved stingers, pinchers, a preemptive strike, and total insecticide. Sitting in my chair I was pretty skeptical. It would be odd for a mantis to make its way onto our porch. The other factor that added to my skepticism was the fact that, to be polite, the boy makes stuff up . . . a lot.
He's got a wild imagination which we encourage but in the same 10 minute stretch he could be shouting about spaceships on the lawn and snakes in the toilet. On the other hand he can be particularly observant. I forgot about the praying mantis plan until The Husband emerged from the kitchen and said. "You know, there really IS a praying mantis on the screen."
No matter how you slice it, that's pretty cool. I know it wasn't the mantis from spring, but it was probably one of the ones that I released into the yard. That also means that the likelihood that we have naturally placed egg casings outside are quite good. There is hope for next year and for that I am thankful.