Friday, June 1, 2012

Say it with flowers

“Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men or animals,” wrote Henry Ward Beecher in “Star Papers: A Discourse of Flowers.” “Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression; some are pensive and diffident; others again are plain, honest, and upright.”

I think our rhododendrons are laughing. In brilliant hues of hot pinks and purples, they even light up the front yard at dawn and twilight.

Nature is wearing her happy face these days. There is greenery cropping up everywhere, and if the natural vegetation is not enough, we add our own garden brand variety.

This week my husband’s friend dumped a truckload of topsoil near the raised bed, which is filled with strawberry plants, chives and parsley. Another raised bed will be constructed to house a season’s worth of tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, beans, peas and herbs.

I draw the kitchen garden in my journal, moving the vegetables around like furniture in a room; and I envision the plants heavy laden in August, the air perfumed by the scent of basil and thyme. 

“I used to visit and revisit (my garden) a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation,” wrote Nathaniel Hawthorne in “Mosses from an Old Manse.” “It was one of the most bewitching signs in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a row of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green.”

A perfect balance of sun and rain this spring is responsible for the incredible growth spurt of the lawn. Verdant and as thick as a carpet, it seems to change overnight into a meadow of weeds if it is not consistently trimmed.

So my husband cuts our grass yet again, and then cuts our neighbor’s whose mower is in need of repair.

Last week, we loaded the old mower onto our trailer and headed to the summer house. Forty-five minutes later, my husband turned the key to back the mower onto the grass, and it would not start. For an hour he toiled over the engine, giving the battery a boost, cleaning the sparkplug and checking wires but to no avail.

Dejected, we went home with the foot-long grasses and wildflowers waving in the wind.

Later that afternoon, we drove to my parents’ house and hoisted their new lawnmower onto the trailer.

The next day my husband headed back to the summer house, but when he arrived, the lawn had already been cut. A neighbor had seen the drama enfold the day before, and when we left, he mowed our lawn.

Surprised, my husband surveyed our neighbor’s handiwork, and the blades of grass chuckled.

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