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Fruitless Steps

“If we are to describe the gardener’s March according to truth and old tradition we must carefully take note of two things: (a) what the gardener is supposed to do and wishes to do, and (b) what in fact he does, not being able to do more!”

So spake Karel Capek in his delightful book The Gardener’s Year published in 1931. No less true today.

Seduced by the brilliant sun and the mild temperatures we’ve had for the past few days, melting the snow, I told my husband we had to go down and look at the vegetable garden and discuss the plans I have for arranging the new cold frame and some new plantings. We trudged along, sometimes sinking up to our knees in the icy drifts, but to no purpose. There is no way to see the borders of the garden as they are and what space new elements might take. There is still nothing to do outside.

As Capek continues his March lament he says, “Yes, only when he becomes a gardener does a man appreciate those threadbare sayings like “the bitter cold,” and “the merciless North wind,” “the harsh frost,” and other such poetic cursings; he even himself uses expressions still more poetic, saying that the cold this year is rotten, damned, devilish, cursed, beastly, and blasted; in contrast to the poets he does not only swear at the North wind, but also at the evil-minded East winds, and he curses the driving sleet less than the feline and insidious black frost.”

Alas, as he says, “Yes, nothing can be done; it is the middle of March, and snow lies on the frozen ground. Lord be merciful to the little flowers of the gardeners.

Thank you Carolyn Gail for instituting and hosting Gardener’s Muse Day.

4 comments to Fruitless Steps

  • Mr. McGregor's Daughter

    Oh, my, you need spring badly! Your area really got blasted in that nasty storm, but think how quickly it’s going to melt in the strong March sunlight.

  • Pat Leuchtman

    MMD- I’m holding the thought that it will melt quickly – even after the additional 5 inches of snow we got after I took that photo, but the temperature is 2 (as in TWO) degrees this am. The sun is shining, though.

  • sweet bay

    Zone 4 — I have to admit that zone 4 conjurs images of blank whiteness, like a refridgerator. You have my heartfelt sympathy on the continued cold. But I bet the summers where you live are glorious. We tend to broil down here in July and August in the middle of NC.

  • Pat Leuchtman

    Sweetbay- the summers and falls are indeed glorious – roses and the famous (for those in the know) Heath Fair.

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