Monday, April 14, 2008

Goodbye to Florida Garden

Every time you watch the sun go down on a garden, you know that the next time you see it, it won't be the same. Usually its only a little bit different: new flowers open, new fragrances, the partial unfurling of buds. Maybe it rains, maybe it snows, maybe there is horrible wind damage. I won't see this garden tomorrow; it will be four months! It'll have changed significantly. There will be weeds. But there will be good growth too. It was already hot this time, days in the upper 80s, but by July it will be far hotter and more humid with higher nighttime temperatures.

It will be exciting to see how the Proteas do. We were only there a week but it was warm and things moved along a bit. Often when you observe a newly planted plant you can see fairly quickly whether conditions agree with it or not. The new leaves forming either flow seamlessly from the existing growth or they show stress by being misshapen, off color, or too small. The Proteas look good so far though it has only been a week. Of course in Florida the life of plants is measured in "dog years" every week equals at least 3 weeks in a more temperate climate.

One of the underrated functions of Gardens is their ability to keep us anticipating; we know good things re coming and looking forward to them can keep us motivated. Even the simplest garden has spring bulbs, or azaleas, a cherry tree, or lilacs, or summer bedding plants, crape myrtles, or fall color; every garden has some exciting recurring features. In a complex garden it can be overwhelming; the cavalcade of spring in our diverse Maryland garden leaves me light-headed. But it is good to have things to look forward too; it keeps us pointed in the right direction! The thought of seeing Adelphi and Fern Valley after being gone for a whole week in the Spring is enough to carry me through the long ride north!??!, but I'm also anticipating a return to Florida in the summer.

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