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Garden time

LilacIt’s amazing how swiftly spring transforms a garden in this part of the world. Within two weeks, brown stubble becomes lush blooms. What Lucy Maud Montgomery called “the cold, capricious, reluctant Canadian spring” really is a magical thing. Right now, when I step outside my front door I’m greeted by the heady perfume of lilacs and the subtler scent of crabapple blossoms.

Our heavy, acid soil treats rhododendrons well. When I brought this one home from the nursery five years ago, it had four stalks and three blooms. It changes from pink to white as the flowers mature. I love it most at just this stage.

RhodoI come from gardening stock on both sides. My mother’s family ran a greenhouse and retail florist business in the Annapolis Valley for fifty years. I have fond memories of walking into the wonderful chill of the store cooler on blistering summer days, breathing in the scents of roses, carnations and chrysanthemums. My father loves to garden as well, as did his mother before him. Dad and I each have a old-fashioned peony from her garden, the timeless white Festiva Maxima with crimson streaks at the heart of the blossoms. I remember Gram every time I see it.

Though I’ve always loved flowers, I didn’t have much interest in growing them when I lived at home. However, blood will tell, and as soon as I had my own version of Mary Lennox’s ‘bit of earth’ the urge to start planting emerged. I’d love to have my own secret garden one day. Ours does have a sense of seclusion, as we’re surrounded by woods. There’s nothing I like better than sitting out there on a summer morning with my coffee.

I wonder if we really are the only beings on earth that have a concept of beauty. Who knows? I think about that sometimes on a gorgeous spring morning like this.

Happy June, everyone!