Waiting for Spring

Oh, for the love of a garden in bloom.

They arrive in the mailbox daily, their glossy pages tempting me, torturing me with pictures of smooth petals, thick stamens, pollen-laden anthers. My fingers begin itching to dig in the warm, soft earth. My nostrils fill with the scent of buds bursting into bloom. “Ohh, look at that,” I moan.

That’s right. The flower porn has arrived.

My mother still cannot understand it, but somehow, in my old age, I have become a gardener. When I was a child, she would beg, plead, order me to help with the garden. I was supposed to pick the dead blossoms out of the azaleas, or help rake the thatch out of the grass. But I was not interested. I didn’t want to get my nails dirty. I didn’t want to get my clothes dirty. Gardening was Boring with a capital B.

Then I bought my own house, complete with a tiny, just-right-for-gardening yard. Suddenly, I was Sally Green-Thumb. Where previously I had been unable to keep houseplants alive, I started planting seedlings, tending to them like children. I loved watching them poke their tiny green heads above the black dirt, struggling towards the light. I loved marking their progress every single day.

I dug up all but the tiniest patch of grass in our yard, making beautiful garden beds that I filled with peonies, roses, saliva and columbine. I have roses and lilacs and tomatoes. My garden borders on an obsession. I have flower lust.

This morning I knelt in the garden, the cold February wind biting at my cheeks. I could feel the ground humming beneath my fingers, just waiting to burst forth with color. January’s unusually warm weather brought the tips of the crocuses up through the dirt, and my honeysuckle already has leaves. My dreams are filled with arbors and roses and climbing vines, and I wait for spring.

Article © 2006 by Stacey Duck