The Hermitage

The warm days are rushing me onwards, from first light of dawn I feel the same pulse and impulse of the ginger sprouting from winter-hidden roots, each day taller, flushing with urgent green to catch the gifts of the sun.

It is time to plant, and i have started earlier than in past years. The early hot weather perhaps has given me this feeling of impending summer. Long, long days i have been spending in the garden, from very early until after dark – the party cups i use for starting the plants with sensitive roots get temporarily strewn around, as though this tired in my bones is from days and days of heedless celebration. 

 It is an appallingly large space sometimes and there is so much to do…

Not without the usual help and companionship, of course. 

It is very quiet here in the garden, with only the reek of the freshly pulled weeds, the smell of soil and mulch, the slow shift of light and shadows in a quiet dance noticeable when you spend all day in a single place, subtle, and only realized in bursts of awareness, like watching the color fade from a sunset. 

My best-laid plans of a new summer garden space are not to be realized this year – the fencing to keep the goats away was not affordable at the moment.  At first this seemed very disappointing. I have had to tear out many winter plants that were still productive to make space for the new, and for the first time in many seasons i am hand weeding the garden. 

It wasn’t as bad as I had thought once I got started. The weedy beds were pleasant to plow through, tangled with Venus’s looking glass, sheep’s sorrel, toadflax and evening primrose. I felt like a part of a meadow while I worked, in the morning dew, the hot noon sun, the soft evening, and sometimes the rain.

Last season I worked in a lot of mushroom compost, and the soil has noticeably changed and become very loose and dark, so the weedy roots tore out easily.  Now that most of the hard work is finished, I love the way the two gardens are meshing together, flowing from season to season with flowers in between. 

The spring-planted potatoes look happy and are flushing out now that the nurse crop of rye grass was mulch down with old hay. 

The cabbages are heading, and onions are bulbing.

The lettuce is nearly done and has bolted up towards its last harvest of seeds for the fall. 

Beginning with the rose at the garden gate, flowers are everywhere, all colors and characters, the delicate and the bold, the frilly, the stately, the plain, and the lacy ones.  

The markers are all lost, so we are never sure what might bloom where, and when a new flower or color blooms, we all stop to admire it. 

 Someone said these are China asters. I don’t remember exactly what i planted here, but i love their cheerful pink. 

The carrots are blooming in the back of the garden in a long hedge of snowy white in the distance.

The crimson clover cover crop is attracting bees. 

The barley is getting fat and heavy, just passing the milk stage. We are working on building a grain cradle this year. There is too much to harvest by sickle, and a scythe will be very fast and make nice bundles for stooking.

Bit by bit the new garden is being created. I have been laughing to myself all week at the early delusions i had my first few years of gardening that this garden can be planted in a day or so. 

I am thinking, as i carry in buckets of mulch and compost, that it will be a good garden after all. 

3 Comments Add yours

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Four times annually, I must write about the grim task of removing what grew last season to relinquish space for the next; twice in spring, for both cool season flowering annuals, and cool season vegetables, and twice in autumn, for both warm season flowering annuals, and warm season vegetables.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol it is grim! I hope i haven’t complained about it too much but it’s such hard work and I’m used to letting the pigs in to do it all for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. tonytomeo says:

        Heck, I complain about it too. In the past, I even left the gate open for the deer, both in late winter and in late summer, but they were not interested by that time. Even the gophers who eat what they want all summer stop eating just in time to compel me to do the dirty work.


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