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I sat down to write and realized my pants are all splattered with mud. I smell pretty rank, too. I should be getting a shower before my husband comes home because I think we might have to go somewhere tonight. Oh well. I’m sure he won’t mind waiting for a couple of minutes while I get ready.

It was sunny all day, and judging by the new growth, time to cut back shrubs and do cleanup for spring. The garden looks a little bare now, but really quite tidy. Unlike me. I tried to sneak out to the front and photograph the hellebores which have become like bridal bouquets, perfectly compact floral arrangements, but a neighbor caught me and stopped to talk about the flowers. It is such a pleasure for me to know that people who walk by the house enjoy the garden, that it enriches their life. I’m glad she stopped. I just hope she doesn’t think I never bathe.

Getting all sweaty and dirty and being out in the weather all day is just the best thing ever. I cannot fathom why anyone would not enjoy it, or why they would consider it work. It is an absolute joy. Maybe I’m addicted to sunlight, or maybe I’m kind of unsocial and like being left alone with plants and bugs all day, but whatever it is, I’m completely satisfied. I love how my hair smells after working in the yard. I feel so proud of the strong healthy plants showing their new leaves and flower buds; they’ve done so well and made it through the winter! I delight in terraforming my little green space in the backyard. I thoroughly enjoy the deep relaxation that comes from using every muscle in my body all day.

I worked on the compost, helping it recover from too much “green” matter over the winter, i.e., kitchen scraps and the end of the vegetable garden. All the shrub prunings went into the compost, but needed to be chopped into small bits first. That took about two hours. I turned both bins thoroughly and saw some good decomposition happening. Last fall both bins were filled to the top; one has gone down by half, the other by two thirds! That’s a lot of microbial action for winter! Especially if you take into account I’m a very very lazy composter. I didn’t make a good ratio of green and brown, and I didn’t stir the compost regularly during the winter. And yet, compost happens.

I pruned down sedum in the Pink garden and divided the plants. Worms in the dirt were pervasive. The soil was moist under the leaf mulch, and the sedum roots were so massive I had to divide them with a serrated knife. I’m hoping for a solid row of sedum edging the front middle of the Pink garden this year. Sedums are such little troopers. They look good sprouting, leafing out, flowering, and dried up with snow capping their little heads. What fantastic plants.

I pruned the lavender by the patio, cleaned out the birdbath, and raked a few stray leaves off the lawn. I didn’t plan to prune the shrub roses so early, but they had already begun sprouting new growth, so it didn’t make sense to leave them all sloppy.

I shaped the “Fire Chief” arborvitae to try to hide the rabbit damage from this winter. You heard me, rabbit damage. I can’t believe the damn rabbit actually bit off chunks of my evergreens, but it is true, he bit off chunks of my Blue Star junipers and arborvitae. The “Fire Chief” has a wonderful orange color, and marks the transition from the Butterfly garden to an evergreen vignette that I hope will eventually mask some ugly meters on the side of the house. I suppose I’ll be eighty when the evergreens are big enough to accomplish my goal for them. For now they add some nice structure on the edge of the wacky unpredictable Butterfly garden.

Mt first butterfly of the year was of course the ubiquitous Cabbage White, although I’ve seen quite a few moths in the evening prior to him. Am I proud my yard is teeming with buzzing flying crawling things? You bet. I still have girlie moments when I get scared of a bug or think something is on me and it turns out to be my own hair tickling my arm, but by and large I have made my peace with insects and am proud to provide a habitat for them. Without insects, not only would our food chain would fall apart, our own waste would suffocate our world. Insects are hard at work day after day pollinating our crops, feeding our birds and mammals, and breaking down all the waste we humans produce.

Many more wonderful things happened in the garden today, because, of course, the garden is where wonderful things always happen, day after day. But I’m rambling.

Finally, the most wonderful thing of all happened: my husband came home, and it turned out we didn’t have to go anywhere after all. We had a drink outside on the patio, listened to the birds and squirrels chatter and chirp, languidly discussed what to have for dinner, decided unanimously to stay home for St. Patrick’s Day, and hunkered down for a lovely evening of domestic bliss.

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