Gettin’ the Itch..

Ooh, it’s that time of year again. That funny part of spring where I’m just itchin’ to tear up the ground and plant things.

I know it’s too early, waaay too early, even though this March is unseasonably green. The typical spring (which is a laughable adjective to use in NW Wisconsin, since we almost always seem to lie smack dap in the middle of the jet stream, and temps can have a range of 100 degrees difference in only three or four months) is a witch’s tit cold February, a wet, snowy March, and a muddy April until the frost heaves sometime around Easter. If we’re lucky, people up here can “tentatively” start planting after Mother’s day, but nothing “frost fragile” until after Memorial weekend.

I’ve worked at greenhouses before. It’s one of my favorite jobs because I love being around plants about as much as I love being around books. Greenhouse season in this neck of the woods is short. You start preparing the plants at the end of April. You start selling plants very slowly in May. You sell like crazy for the first two weeks in June. Everything goes on clearance for the last two weeks in June. By the Fourth of July, the season is done. That’s it. It gets too hot to keep a greenhouse open at that point. Everything that didn’t sell is so leggy, you can’t give it away. The rest goes in the compost bin.

The new house the husband and I purchased in January used to be a rental, so landscaping is minimal at best. It looks like the pile of leaves that take up half of the driveway (and finally just thawed out) have been there for so long, they have turned to soil underneath. I see a bunch of vines on a rickety fence that borders the neighbors that look suspiciously like Virginia Creeper. Yuck. If you want to hide from the neighbors, it’s perfect, but you better be committed. Virginia Creeper is so virulent that you can rip it out, leave it on the pavement in the hot sun with no water, and it will happily just sprout and grow where you left it. It scoffs (anthropomorphically speaking) at Round-up.

There are two huge cedar trees on either side of the house. They were probably cute little shrubs when the house was built 70 years ago. Now, they look like they’d be more at home in a cemetery. Everywhere else is fabric and river rock. This yard is just screaming (anthropomorphically again) for some color.

Funny thing is the garden and seed companies are fully aware of the mania to garden prematurely. That’s why all of the catalogs start showing up in February. It’s mean, really, because even if you jump the gun and order your stuff now, they won’t ship it until “your growing season” starts, which won’t be until May.

So, that means, I’m pretty much resided to pace the yard, and dream…or finish my book. What a novel idea.

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