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Mystery garden, part 2 (04/30/2014)
By Sarah Squires
I love to garden. People who were fortunate enough to visit my home the summer before last will tell you tales about tomato plants that were taller than my husband (6í7Ē), even when the fruit became heavy and the long arms began pointing downward. That being said, Iím not necessarily that good at it. That year, we got some really good composted horse manure, threw it in our new beds, and let the magic work itself. Last year, some of the magic had worn off, my back was holding me back from tender tending, and I thought of our tomato plants as wild, small, free-range little creatures.

Having decided that I will try my hardest exactly every other year, this one is it. If it ever stops snowing and raining, Iíll get right on that. What has already started, despite the snow, are the abundant perennials in my flower beds, the colorful, curious plants whose names I forget as soon as I learn them and who poke their little heads out of the ground even when the groundhog has the sense to go back to bed.

I have a very large flower garden that runs the course of the yard, with dozens and dozens of tiger lilies (that nameís easy), irises, and a bunch of other things that I donít know what to call. Every year I try to plant more, because they are beautiful and manage to fend off some of the grass I have trouble pulling because of my back. And every year I lose track of them, forget what I planted, and then I (usually) never see it again.

Last fall I planted 75 tiny bulbs of something, something that comes up in the spring, in two locations that I proudly remember. The trouble is, although a few of them worked their way up to the surface as dead bulbs, I am pretty certain most became mole food. In their place, however, are some curious little, might I guess, tulips, poking up through the ground. Now, wait a minute. Two years ago I planted tulips that never came back up, surely mole snacks, as well, but I planted them on the other side. Didnít I? Itís possible that three years ago I planted tulips there, and I know two years ago I planted some exotic, forget-what-itís-called little cone flowers, but they were wishful warmer-zoned things that wouldnít stand a chance over this last (current?) winter. Or could they?

Suffice to say, Iím a stumbling gardener, quite literally most of the time, eyes wide with amazement, making up names for the fiery red ones and my favorite, the tiny brown irises with the flashy purple hair. (Irises have hair, didnít you know?) I might not be a master, but I have a hefty dose of wonder and awe, watching tiny leaves unfurl and grow into who-knows-what, recalling those that like a little pruning, learning quickly those that donít.

Ahhh, spring. Itís coming. I promise. 


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