I WAS VERY CONTENT in my Prospect Heights pied-a-terre this past winter and felt I had made the right move in taking the Brooklyn apartment. But when I went out to Springs, which I did occasionally from November through March, though the house was cozy and the atmosphere relaxing, I wasn’t particularly inspired, and wondered why I had so badly wanted a country home. Now it’s spring, and I remember.
After six long months, I’m back at work in the garden. Things are popping up all over, and it’s like greeting old friends. Hakonechloa, right on schedule! Yay, brunnera, you made it through the winter! Irises, don’t you look nice! Good to see you…thing that begins with L!
I spent much of the past week adding compost to my beds (making two trips to the East Hampton dump to load up on free compost and mulch), holding my breath and cutting back things that ‘flower on new wood,’ like the books say (Rose of Sharon, now reduced to sticks, below), worrying over deer-devoured hollies that don’t seem to be regenerating, and attempting damage control by spraying, spraying, spraying Deer-Out in the absence, so far, of a fence.
Most of all, I’ve been appreciating the changes unfolding daily and just observing — the unfurling ferns, daffodils blooming even under the new deck, a hummingbird nest in a tree, below. I thought it was garbage, longtime NYC dweller that I am — forgive me, hummingbird — but a knowledgeable friend said it’s a hummingbird’s nest (and it may even be good luck).
I’m also taking in what’s happening locally: the creative window boxes at stores and restaurants in town, lawns filled with daffodils, the pink-purple plum trees flowering in my next-door neighbor’s backyard.
Below, the biggest, prettiest cherry tree on my road
Whitmore’s Nursery made good on its word and replaced an enormous round ilex crennata they planted for me in December ’09. It started to fail last year and by this spring was dead. Poof — it’s like getting a new car, same model as the one that was totaled.
New ilex, below
I thought my abelia ‘Little Richard’ was dead, too. In fact, I dug it up, put it in a bucket, and drove to Spielberg’s Nursery in Amagansett. I didn’t expect them to refund my money or replace it, just wanted to ask what they thought had gone wrong. The woman looked at me in horror. “It’s in your car? Let me have a look…” And don’t ya know, she said it wasn’t dead, just late to leaf out, and that I should hurry home and stick it back in the ground pronto with fertilizer and water. So I did; it was out of the ground less than an hour and I’ve coddled it since. But does this look right to you?
Somehow the question of how long I’m going to stay in this house, and consequently how much I should invest, has faded from consciousness. I’m here for as long as I’m here, and I’m gardening.