In gardening, timing is everything

Janice Wells
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Remember last spring when I declared I was going to plant lots of new bulbs come fall so I’d have a nicer spring garden?

Crocuses and scilla didn’t seem to last any time in my garden this year.

Well, fall came and went with nary a bulb going in the ground and here I am again, wishing I had more cheerful spring flowers to make me smile.

Even the ones I have are letting me down. The scilla and crocuses that were so pretty last week seem to have given up early and there’s not a daffodil blooming, which makes me wonder if there were any blooming in Grand Bank for the “Come Pick a Daffodil” Mother’s Day fundraiser at Abbie’s Garden B&B.

I hope there were, but can Grand Bank gardens be that far ahead of St. John’s? Does anyone have daffodils yet?

I was going to take a drive around last weekend to find out and to see if I could find someone else’s spring flowers to take pictures of.

Saturday would have been a lovely day to do it, but I had to pick up flooring and take it to Heart’s Content.

Not that the cottage is ready for flooring, but this was on sale and I really liked it and there were only 42 boxes left and I needed 40, and they won’t hold it forever, so Saturday was the day.

While I’m out there, I thought, I’ll take the spade and dig in a few places to check out how friable the soil is, and maybe move a few rocks, you know, just putter around for a while on the first good Saturday we’ve had.

It took four young men from Kent about a half an hour to load 40 boxes of flooring in around the cabinet that I thought there was also lots of room for in Newman’s new-to-him truck. (Newman has been talking about getting a truck for years and in the same “life is too short” spirit in which I decided I should build my cottage, I encouraged Newman to get his truck. The fact that it is coming in handy for the cottage is just a happy coincidence.)

Those boxes were much heavier than I expected and the nice young men from Kent didn’t come with us to unload it. Poor Newman did most of the work, but even so, by the time we were finished stashing them away in the already crowded shed, digging holes and moving rocks had assumed far greater proportions than mere puttering.

So there it was; the first decent Saturday for a fair weather gardener, gone, with not a tap of gardening done.

Apparently the weather stayed nice in Heart’s Content, but we had obligations back here, and Sunday and Monday made me want to curl up on the couch, and I didn’t even drive around looking for spring flowers to photograph.

I know, for you May 24th diehards, at least it didn’t snow, and it was reportedly lovely in central and I’m very happy for them, but it doesn’t keep me from being cranky.

A spring like this is particularly hard on fair weather gardeners like me with perennials to clean up and divide and shrubs to prune and clematis to set straight and everything whispering “feed me feed me.”

You’re itching to get at it but it’s too miserable out, and then, if circumstances make you miss the first nice day or two, things start to pop and then it seems like it’s almost too late, so you are in a constant state of frustration.

So far, my personal/gardening/weather timing has been way off. I have managed to clean up the old perennial stalks in the backyard, but have not made it outside the fence or to the side or front. I hope you’re doing better.

I hope I’m doing better by the time you read this.

Janice Wells lives in St. John’s. Her latest book, “Newfoundland and Labrador Book of Musts,” was published in October 2010 by

MacIntyre Purcell Publishing Inc. You can reach her at Note to readers: please do not send thumbnail-size photographs, as they are too small to publish.

Organizations: Grand Bank, MacIntyre Purcell Publishing

Geographic location: Kent

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