One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."


The violets of our old house are not numbered amongst the plants who made the trip with us. I was just starting to feel a little badly that I hadn’t brought at least a single clump of them…when these pretty little things suddenly began blooming out in front of this house.

As the Full Frog or Planter’s Moon made our evenings glisten and gleam this weekend, grape hyacinths have begun springing up along the outer edges of the front garden. Here, a pair of them frame a columbine plant and one of the pink Dutch hyacinths.

In fact, all of the Dutch hyacinths I planted in the fall have turned out to be pink, which makes me grin. I’m a bigger fan of the purple/blue ones, but these smell as lovely.

This weekend, Somewhere Joe pointed out that spring has made me prolific, and the season is certainly inspiring. Not only are new green things appearing in the border daily–old friends like moonbeam coreopsis and purple coneflower and assorted phloxes–but I also have a lot to get done when spring arrives. It’s the nature of my job that I’ll be busy at work when June begins busting out, and I like to head off to work in the mornings then knowing that all’s well in the garden.

Toward that end, each morning this weekend I’ve been working on finishing off a little more of the front garden bed. Particularly, the far end where I wanted to get a nice big birdbath installed. We have so many birds around that I know it’ll be popular…and it’s always fun to watch them.

I had dug out this bed and broken all the sod into squares back in the fall, but had run short to finish the project then, with the moving and winter bearing down on us. So at least that tough part of the job was done…all I had to do was seperate all the dirt from the clumps of grass, which were just beginning to green up again.

By late this morning, I’d finished off the bed and was ready to embed some stepping stones and also the birdbath itself. Yah, I know the path of stones isn’t exactly level, but they are reasonably secure, and water won’t pool on them on very rainy days.

Here’s a close-up of the birdbath, which you’ll recognize from last summer in the old orchard garden. The stones in front are mica-flecked or have crystals in them, so they really catch and play with the sunlight.

They look a little stark here, but I hope soon to have them planted with some dianthus and creeping phlox, which ought to thrive on the spillover water from the birdbath and the full sun.

I’m glad to have this section finished off. It will be at least partially a vegetable bed, with some tomatoes and another go at the Three Sisters Garden.

Here’s my next target: the section around the lamp-post. It will be slower work here, owing to both underground electric (danger Midnight Gardener, danger…)and an overgrown clematis vine I don’t want to damage. But I imagine about the time I’ve finished that, the lilies should have begun to emerge, and then it will be safe to install the soaker hose throughout the whole layout.

Not all of us were hard at work this weekend. Em just loves to lie in the sun and bake her head, occasionally looking up as I dash past to the shed for some tool or other. It takes quite a bit of coaxing to convince her to come inside when its time to head off to work.

Owen’s also been busy around the house, not only scraping off old exterior paint and re-glazing windows, but also replacing the old landscape timbers that line the backyard gardens with some of the new rocks we recently acquired.


It was while he was on a ladder working on the former project Friday afternoon, when he overheard two of the neighbors talking about us…one of them’s a bit deaf, so it wasn’t difficult. The reviews are good, though: sounds like they are very impressed with the work we’re doing to clean up the place…but he also heard one of them refer to me as “the young one.”

It’s not untrue, four years seperate us in my favor, so I got a bit of a giggle from it all. He, on the other hand, is taking it a little more seriously. Meanwhile, Em’s trying to convince him that they might think he’s younger if he also took her for a walk around the block every day.

I was out examining newly sprouted things when this robin came bobbing along to inspect the new garden. I was happy to watch him try out the vantage point from each of the taller rocks in the edging, before hopping up to survey things from the fence. The sun was already sinking, so I wasn’t disappointed that he didn’t visit the birdbath. I imagine it was a little chilly. But I’ll be watching for him in the morning sun.

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