Walk over their dead bodies

As to say ‘everything does mulch’.

After 60mm of rainfall (nearly 2,5 inches) in less than two days and a night of strong wind, yesterday morning I woke up with a bright sun breaking into the room through the curtains and warming my face. Although I couldn’t  dig on that soaked soil I wanted to spend the day outside, so I decided it was about time for cutting the grasses and perennials in the grass garden. At the beginning I used the hedge trimmer that I usually (once a year) use for this purpose but unfortunately after a while it just stopped working. Another buzzing thing to bring back to dad for fixing… Nevermind, I decided to go on just using garden scissors.

Now some of my fingers ache and there are blisters here and there but the most disheartening thing is that the garden doesn’t look better than before, in fact it looks rather like a Ground Zero now. I knew I wasn’t improving the garden look but it’s a necessary stage to close the circle and start with brand new growth for the year. I mulched everything in loco to protect the ground from summer heat and drought and to somehow amend the soil. It was kind of interesting finding some of the previous year’s mulch was still there… I’m glad the plants are going to meet their grandparents this year…

Winter is definitely over, here, if what we had could be called winter, and I need to get the garden clean for the bulbs and the iris that are already peeping over the ground. Indeed this shall be a moment when I’m supposed to look forward with a heart full of expectations; instead I couldn’t help but thinking back to last summer’s old glories. That was what I was actually cutting and mulching and scattering around: their dead bodies. I felt a little sad and empty… and yeah, guilty, somehow…

How long now before I could observe bees crowded over veronicastrum spikes, how long before I could caress my feathery grasses, how long before I could stare at the simply perfect shape of echinacea’s flowers?

Watching last year’s pics gave a rough answer to the little version of myself that is always chatting inside my head and the answer was ‘months, little man‘.

Months. Oh my God! Seriously?? But I can’t wait any longer now, what can I do? Shall I pull up some daffodils holding those little taps they prepared just over the soil? Shall I disguise some finch like a swallow? Shall I paint some pop corn with yellow and black stripes and pretend they are bees buzzing around?

…All this waiting is killing me. Just when it seems to be almost there, Spring never arrives and this is really killing me.

Please somebody turn me into a bumble bee (I couldn’t bee skinny even as a bee, could I?) and send me somewhere South, far from this limbo, far from rain and far from mud.

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27 thoughts on “Walk over their dead bodies

  1. Cutting back the grasses is the WORST thing, I did mine at the end of last week too, mine had lots of new growth already! that made the job even more difficult. Lovely images from last year, hang on in there Alberto, spring will come. Christina

    • Yeah I know. ‘Hang on’ this is what I repeat to myself all the time now…
      Last year we had a winter peak during February so I cut the grasses very late, in mid march I think and there was too much new growth already, it’s been kind of tricky. Now I still don’t see any green on the clumps.

  2. Your plants will come back even better this year with the mulch you have given them. Your pictures from last summer are delightful and it won’t be long before you see new growth again – honestly!! Patience Alberto, patience!!

    • Patience? There is no such word in my dictionary, sorry. 😉
      I keep telling to myself that getting older patience will grow inside of me: every year I get older but there are no signs of patience in me yet. Sigh.

  3. Hi Alberto,

    Just repeat to yourself that ‘it’s not as bad as England’. It’ll make you feel much better.
    Although perhaps you’ll be disappointed to hear my Iris are blooming now?? Considering it’s far warmer there, shouldn’t you have spring bulbs already??

    Thanks for the reminder about cutting grasses… I’ll have to do mine soon too! I’m loathe to though because they add some interest!

    Lovely photos, and can’t wait for summer. Not to worry, time will fly by and you’ll wonder where February went!

    • Hi Liz! I was talking about bearded iris, which are the only ones I have in the garden. Believe it or not there is a period from now until April/May during which England is going to be far behind Italy (well the north at least) with the bloomings. I think it’s because of sun radiation (you have much longer days than us).
      Except for I think some miscanthus you don’t have much grasses that need cutting… Stipas and carex don’t like being cut but I’m sure you know it.

    • Well I wouldn’t say creepy, it’s just normal for them. Piet Oudolf once wrote that he doesn’t like a plant until he can appreciate it when dead in winter.

  4. Your pictures are beautiful. Your little bumblebee would only find more rain and mud here, I’m afraid. Winter, if we get any, tends to hit sporadically in January and February. I am seeing many signs of coming spring. I keep telling the buds, NOT YET, for a freeze will certainly get you. But they don’t listen to me!

    • The only winter we had in 2011/2012 started by mid January and lasted for about 40 days. Very cold and dry though. This year we didn’t have that either. Weathermen tell us that winter is over and this time I trust them (I usually don’t).

  5. What beautiful memories…mine are so far away…another 1.5 feet of snow Monday and they say another big storm is coming Friday…we are just about at 10 feet of snow and 3 inches of rain this winter…it will be one big puddle when it finally melts in late March I hope.

    • So apparently Mr. Winter is having a good time at yours! I’m not jealous, seriously! But at least you have your lettuce in the bags that gives you an impression of spring, don’t you? 🙂

  6. I’ve done all my grasses, Alberto (he said smugly) but then I’ve hardly any compared to you. And patience dear boy, patience. It’ll be Christmas again before you know it. Dave

  7. Its no wonder you are getting impatient Alberto, especially when I see your Summer display. Echinacea, I love, don’t do well in our garden, I am trying some in pots this year. Turn you into a bumble bee, I will have a word with Myra, she is good at that kinda stuff, gets confused with bees and wasps though.

    • Oh, well, I shall promise I won’t sting you in that case… 🙂
      I’ve never kept echinaceas in pots but I guess it could work. I have hundreds of seedlings around the garden, if I only could send you some…

  8. Hello Alberto, Now you have really put me off grasses! I have quite enough cutting back without all that extra work. After the disaster of last year’s ridiculously early Spring followed by hard, killing frosts in early May, I have absolutely no desire to see things bursting into growth, thank you. This year, I would like some apples, some vegetables, some azalea growth – I didn’t have any of those last year. So, if it stays cold until late March, that’s fine by me.

    • You saying all my summer efforts have been obliterated by a single winter post?!
      You provident and prudent (and a little grumpy) man, dig a hole and plant that poor grass you have been threatening for so long now and you will change your mind.
      You could try the power washer machine to cut the dried grasses then…

  9. It’s always very bittersweet, that time when you have to cut back and clear away everything from last season, to make room for the new. I content myself by constantly running around, checking for new growth…no, it’s not the same as wafting through a field of flowers and grasses in the height of summer…but it gets me by 🙂

    • You are right, a good technique is keeping oneself busy during the waiting and it’s what I’ve been doing lately. Although I dedicated myself to other stuff and I try to shut the garden thinking for a while…

    • Hi Casa Mariposa! you are right too, but my animal instinct is controlling me most of the times… I can’t be so resigned and calm…

  10. Hi Alberto
    I suffered a terrible conspiracy in the blogosphere and had no idea you’d done all this nice writing. Well nice except for the dead bodies part but you KNEW that. I hope you have calmed and matured in the last month and are enjoying the pathetically slow arrival of spring. Okay I am not calm and mature about it either. But at least I got my blog subcriptions functional again. So write something. (I will if you will.) –L

    • I had problems with comments lately (I left another ghost comment on your last post full of walking dead quotes that’s never been published and I guess it’s a bug on the iPad wordpress app that I used), and to be honest I just suspended all my gardening reading (and writing) because I just didnt want to think about gardening, so I could stay calm. At least until I got home the other day and found the latest issue of gardens illustrated by the door… S#*t!
      You will if I will sounds like a threat to me… Are you aware that if I’d stop writing the whole World is getting rid of all our bullshit altogether? Naaaaah!!!!! 🙂
      Let me enjoy this popeless time a little longer and then I’m coming back to my blog!

      • Well. The world needs us Alberto, that’s all. But know I have never blocked any of your comments, however outrageous etc etc. Perhaps your iPad has the flu. (Disregard that, I’m just jealous that you have an iPad.) I laughed so much at ‘popeless’ that I forgive you that thing you said about bullshit. —L

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