After a long winter of freezing temperatures the smells of spring and life in the garden are welcome. Before I even see the flowers I can always tell what’s in bloom by the smell. The hyacinths are always the first to appear each year. They have a heavy smell that makes me sneeze, but I love the scent all the same. The lilacs follow shortly after and, last week when weeding the front garden bed, I inhaled the sweet fragrance of lily of the valley. I picked fresh bouquets to bring indoors. I opened up the window this morning and the scent of lady’s mantle drifted up from below. I don’t know how to describe the smell of lady’s mantle, it has its own unique fragrance. I do know I love it. I look forward to the season when it blooms each year. Bouquets are always full of it. It is a short season but maybe that is what makes it so special.
After I hung the laundry up this morning, I took a walk around the yard to see how everything was doing. We’ve had rain for the last few days and everything has sprouted. The strawberry plants have berries on them, the first ones of the season should be ready to eat soon. The rhubarb is growing well, and most of the lavender I transplanted seems to have survived. In the herb bed, I was excited to find a small sprig of catmint that must have seeded itself and survived the chickens. The catmint is probably one of my most favorites. It’s not the flowers of the catmint that smell, it is the foliage. Last year my husband trimmed one of the plants when mowing the law and the smell was heavenly.
We have just over an acre of land. In 2006, we took down a number of large trees. I hate cutting down the trees, and we argued for months over the old oak in the front yard. Finally I conceded that, yes, it was too close to the house and it probably would be best to take it down. I still question whether it was the right decision, but after ice storms and hurricanes I suppose it was. We’ve planted new trees to take the place of the ones we removed. Over the years we’ve added six peach trees, six apple trees, a plum, an apricot, two pears, three cherries and eight blueberry bushes. I’m a big fan of edible landscapes. The raspberry bush got moved around to a couple of spots until we moved it back by the driveway, and it now threatens to take over the entire front bed with the lily of the valley. Food and fragrance, I guess I can live with that.
I used to have nice, neat, weed-free garden beds. Then I got pregnant and Katie was born. Now I’m lucky if I get one bucket full of weeds picked before she’s thirsty, or hungry, or bored, or needs something. The weeds are there. They multiply rapidly. I do what I can. I’ve learned to let it go and just accept that my yard is not going to be the lovely manicured picture it once was. Fortunately the plants don’t seem to mind too much and still reward us each season. This is the time of year that I can still look at the yard and picture how nice it will look when everything fills in. I still have hope. Come August when reality and the crab grass settle in, well, that is another story. For now I enjoy the season.