Humble pie

I have always understood gardening as a practice that keeps a person humble. Wise gardeners are not control freaks, as Nature has its own inconsistent methods to which climate change has added further randomness and unpredictability. The latest in my region is a winter/spring period of “abnormally dry” weather–not quite the same as a drought. In an area that averages about 46″ of rain annually (71″ in the amazingly wet year 2011), we’re now about 2″ below normal for the month and 10″ below normal for the past 12 months, even though we had a month’s worth of rain during three days in April. On May 2, a local news source reported:

…during a wet well draw down, workers at Lehigh County Authority’s wastewater treatment plant fished something unusual out of the water.
A baby American alligator was found embedded in a clump of material screened out before entering the plant along the Lehigh River…“This alligator was embedded with only its tail sticking out [of] a boulder of …horrible grease and motor oil and diapers and fat,” said Barbara Miller,
who was involved in the rescue.

Stephanie Sigafoos, WLVR

Poor alligator! [No, alligators are NOT native to Pennsylvania!] Meanwhile, this May I have been watering my vegetable garden and some of my perennials for days on end; we’ve had no appreciable rain since the first of May, and there’s no rain forecast for another week or more. It’s tough when there’s no rain during the time we sow seeds. Seeds need moisture to germinate. Climate weirding, as my friend Bill calls it, takes its toll randomly. For example, my daughter in New Mexico is experiencing a wetter-than-usual springtime in the desert that is not a direct result of the snow pack in the Rockies and Sierras. It’s just…rainy.

What all of this amounts to is that no matter how long you’ve been gardening or how much education you have acquired about gardening in your region, you’re going to be surprised sometimes. Like, maybe every year. Or many times in a year. So one also acquires a bit of humility. This year, my tomato seedlings, started from seed as I do every year, haven’t thrived (why? dunno) though I am attempting to keep them alive in the garden. And the spinach has been inconsistent, though it was fabulous the past three years: Viroflay, same seed, same supplier.

But then there is this iris, which needed no assistance from the gardener to achieve peak beauty in spite of weird weather. I didn’t even water this bed.

Random beauty.

This entry was posted in Poetry.

One comment on “Humble pie

  1. marmcc says:

    My usually abundant iris are all leaf and no glory this year, one of my usual flashy rhodies has no blossoms at all. The other is an embarrassment of riches. As with my writing life, I always wonder at the failures: “is it me?” and at the successes: “oh, nice random gift.”

    Liked by 1 person


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