Several days past Valentines’ the last vestiges of snow have only just melted. The yard is a desolation of toppled grasses, black and sorrowful Hebes, and forlorn conceits like the warm weather Acacia, now a mere stick. I post these images above to remember how beautiful it was for four hours when the sun came out during the snow siege of December 2009. I took a walk with my camera and boarded a sleigh to fairyland.
Now I must confront the ruins. The gargoyle’s smokey powers were no match for the long freeze, which destroyed the liner for the pond. The pond must be rebuilt from scratch or filled in– and I feel obligated to feed the heron his goldfish, so I’m going to take a deep breath and commit all over again to this garden, and making it the oasis it wants to be.
Last month I dug up the last carrots underneath a snowdrift and made carrot bean soup. I felt like Laura Ingalls Wilder in her little house in the big woods. Carrots really came through, as did my beloved baby pak choy. So this summer I will plant more and harvest more, and take inspiration from the effervescent tendrils that twine from sugar snap peas, and the sun-baked scents of old fashioned rosa rugosa and lemonleaf geranium. Farewell tropical wonders, Acacias, flax, I’ll be looking for hardy natives that will last the fiercest ice age and burn with color in winter.
And now I’m going to oil my pruning shears, put on my boots, and test the tentative warmth of February.