Perhaps, it's the week I wait for all summer: when the gardens are settled-mulched, weeded, and in bloom. I relish the peaceful retreat provided simply by the presence of the lupines, petunias, bleeding hearts, lavender, potentilla, nasturtiums, roses, green peas, and raspberries finally coming into their summer maturity. The work and growth in the gardens of late spring and early summer makes itself evident.
I do labor freely in my gardens and at times to physical exhaustion. And I admit to feeling addicted to the process of tending the soil and imagining a perennial grouping or color combination for an annual pot coming to fruition. Our summers are precious and the work of gardening must happen in what I think of as "prime time." Depending upon where one lives in our county, the average growing season is ninety days. I usually think of it here at the ranch as sixty-five to eighty days. In order to maximize the growing season, I do find myself in a kind of hyper-mania for a few weeks in June. But it is joy-filled with color wheels in my head, dirty fingers and toes, a tired body at night, and the greeting from a friend at the nursery with same knowing smile, "Well, what are you after today?"
I feel in good company though. It's commonly know in this part of Colorado that those of us who love gardening are a little bit crazy. We wait so long for the opportunity in the spring that we go berserk when the annual flats arrive and new perennial possibilities surface at the local nursery. We justify our expenditures by saying, "It's a short summer, we deserve it, and we persevered through six months of snow and cold and ice." And we fill our carts to the brim and know that we may repeat our visit to the nursery many times in June in order to set the season in motion. We may even return in July to buy replacement plants to fill in where others already failed in our overall plan for a pot or window box.
So, I guess it's easy now in the bloom of the season to look back and happily confess to my addiction. I understand each July the comfort I feel in my partnering with all those plants-the annuals, the vegetables, and the perennials. I understand the fulfillment of that yearning in the spring to grow and nourish life: to feel the soil, to cradle the young plant, to fill the canvas of a pot or a garden bed with my own design, and watch life take shape. No wonder I come back to the soil after winter's deep sleep. I am unfailingly offered comfort and joy from both the labor and the relationship I find within those various pots and garden beds.