My neighbors love lawns and I live on a street of small, tidy 1950's bungalows with manicured, pretty yards. I don't have a speck of lawn so right now the front garden looks twiggy, sparse and, well, kinda weedy (read: It badly needs weeding). We lovers of perennial borders know what lurks in our imaginations. The garden surprises me each season, even in winter when every year I get a new configuration of dormant twigs and stubs. What looks like weedy things now I see as various alcea, yarrow, penstmon, agastache, anagallis, centaurea; you get the picture. One winter morning a year or so ago I came home to an anonymous note posted to my front door which read, "Carolyn, would you mind terribly doing something about your front yard? PLEASE??" OK, anonymous writer, I recognize that handwriting.
Here are photos of the front garden in the blazing heat of July taken about three years ago and a recent photo (bottom) taken just a few days ago. It does look bad right now and I deserved the note, written by my truly dear neighbor. But there it is exposing all its unkempt truth: the perennial border of a novice and sometimes lazy gardener in late winter. It's been pouring down rain for way too long and I've worked several 16-hour shifts in a row, leaving me with my nose pressed solemnly against the window, staring out at soggy, too wet to dig earth (I like calling muddy garden soil earth - it sounds less muddy).
Promise of spring. It's like anticipating the arrival of a long-awaited lover, minus the disillusionment of inevitable flatulence. Chosen carefully, flowers smell better and will return.