“And spring arose on the garden fair, like the spirit of love felt everywhere; and each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast rose from the dreams of it’s wintery rest.” Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Sensitive Plant
Spring has been popping up for several weeks now in my melodious garden. Daylilies that go dormant in winter have been emerging through the leaves I let blanket the garden. (Shown above.) Spring blooming shrubs are having their moment of glory, as are the bulbs – daffodils and leucojum. (Bridal’s wreath spirea, shown below.)
“She turned to the sunlight and shook her yellow head, and whispered to her neighbor: Winter is dead.” A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young
Winter is dead. Or so we can hope. The Dallas-Fort Worth area saw overnight low temperatures down to freezing over the weekend but the ten day forecast shows that winter weather may be gone now and spring weather here to stay. Happy Vernal Equinox, indeed. The sun is shining bright this morning and the garden and the gardener are basking in its rays. The gardener is, as usual on days like this, full of garden dreams.
The garden last year was plotted and planned out on the pages of an old school notebook. Late in the season, a downloadable, printable garden journal was purchased through Etsy, fully customizable, where I could add or subtract sections as needed. One section that was subtracted – The Garden Budget. Who has time for things like gardening within the constraints of a budget? Alas. Sometimes a garden budget may be necessary as one large purchase that kept getting tossed aside in favor of more plants was the acquisition of a new wheelbarrow.
Having not shopped for a wheelbarrow in 28 years, I was rather shocked that the entry level price for a decent one is around $150, which equals roughly three to four fruit trees or 37.5 four inch herb plants. Give or take a few. This gardener, you see, is always on team More Plants instead of New Wheelbarrow.
A good wheelbarrow is often one of the first major purchases a gardener will make, as it is handy for moving soil, mulch, rocks, plants and dreams. I don’t remember when or where I bought my first wheelbarrow – or how much it cost! – but I know it has been by my side in the garden for 28 years now. It has hauled a great many cubic yards of compost and mulch. It has hauled tons of rocks and bricks. It has hauled countless plants and garden tools and bags of fertilizer. But years of digging in with a shovel to scoop out its load and years of rocks and bricks jostling about have worn away at its metal. A few small holes here and there over the years gradually grew until – by last fall – the bottom was rusted through in large spots and talk of purchasing a new wheelbarrow ensued. (Just one of the large holes in the old wheelbarrow, shown in photograph above.)
“Talk of purchasing a new wheelbarrow…” generally went like this…
The non-gardener: What do you want for our anniversary? The gardener: A new wheelbarrow.
Which was followed a few weeks later by… The non-gardener: What do you want for Christmas? The gardener: A new wheelbarrow.
Which was immediately followed by… The non-gardener: What do you want for your birthday? The gardener: A new wheelbarrow.
Last month, the talks turned serious. Real serious. The gardener, to the non-gardener: Hey, I bought myself a new wheelbarrow today. Well. It is new to me. Technically, it is probably older than I am. But it doesn’t have any holes in it. Oh. And it is teal.
You see, sometimes the older things are the best things. Wheelbarrows being no exception. Especially when they happen to be teal.
“I love the first tingling of spring when sunlight lingers just a little bit longer and you can almost feel the whole world soften as birds chirp nearby, puddles take slowly to the sky and you gently wake up to what’s growing inside.” M.L. Cole
And so it is. The first tingling days of spring, when the sunlight lingers just a little bit longer, that my trusty old wheelbarrow will be carted off to the great wheelbarrow heaven in the sky. It lived a great, though laborious, life here at the melodious garden. I am forever in its gratitude for the burdens it carried to make my garden chores just a little bit lighter.
Oh. And did I mention the new-to-me wheelbarrow is teal?
I may well someday lead up a Gardeners Anonymous group with, “Hi. My name is Suzie Linn and I own a teal wheelbarrow.” Oh. And she only cost me 5.5 four inch herb plants. Give or take a few. Perhaps most importantly, I didn’t have to figure out a budget to buy myself a new wheelbarrow.
“All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar.” Helen Hayes
I am again at a crossroads in my life. I feel the energy of another spring, though don’t yet know which path to take from here. I long to spend my days puttering about my garden, blocking out the news of the world and the demands to make money. I long to dig my fingers deep into the soft earth and know that this is santosha, my contentment, right here in the garden. I am not yet sure where to go from here, but in the meantime I have bulbs to plant and seeds to sow, new garden gloves to wear out and dreams to dream and miles to go before I sleep.