Day 30: The wind blusters and slams screen doors before dawn, and the tulips and hydrangeas I bought to cheer the house for Easter dinner sit huddled together in my living room for protection. The cold days drag on. But in that time, I do not stall hope and plants and green chores. So my new iris path to the barn is now in near dormant rows on a wire shelf in a cold shed behind my city kitchen. I have bought and employed a mechanical composter that efficiently turns my live kitchen scrap slime into pristine rich fertilizer in about three hours, thus nicely saving my two yard compost piles from overflow.
I have raked the front yard to allow the promise of spring to fool the neighbours. I’ve found two extra-large statement planters to replace the two that were crumbling with age.
I set up the two-shelf light stand my father gave me for Christmas thirty years ago, and another four, four-foot tubes set over work tables. I remember my father’s two short light trays propped up by bricks, a very small allowance amidst the bulky business of a family of six, growing just one or two tomatoes, and the odd bulb for Christmas display, and I wonder if its deep modesty frustrated him, though at the time, I paid no attention. For that reason, every year I take this on, it is an experiment with highly mixed results. This year I haven’t killed anything yet, but it’s early days yet. Upstairs, I’ve indulged in two beautifully fragrant topiaried myrtles, then re-potted my forty year old benji; planted and set under said lights seeds for kale, peppers, onions, peas, tomatoes and much else.
I’ve selected a safer basement space heater designed to be wall mounted close enough to this little light farm to counteract the chilly reality of an April Canadian cellar. And I linger over the spring smells I can manage to bring into my comfortably heated living areas.
I read a biography of another gardener, the sculptor Isamu Noguchi, called “Listening to Stone” as I listen for spring. I also watch the seven day weather forecasts like a person obsessed. Now for me, this is what early spring is all about in Canada, not any escape to Mexico.
The waiting itself brings poetry.