You could say, Anchorage had a spring that lasted for a couple of days at the most. May 18th we had snow falling and the 19th it was still on the ground. By May 23rd, it was downright hot. Today, May 28th, we celebrate our fifth day in a row of temperatures over 70°F (21°C). After months and months of sweaters, long sleeve shirts, and pants; I had to scramble to get cooler clothes not just because I wanted to, it got swampy in every piece of clothing that I have. The warm weather meant much of the yard was coming to life. When I moved into the house, all the trees were bare, snow was nearly here, and much of grass was already dormant. While I’ve lived in this house for 7 months, I hadn’t seen what I can do and wasn’t really sure what the Alaskan gardens would look like. Now the trees are budding, I can throw myself into bringing it all to life.
Of course, my house in Kansas had gardens, but they would be dying just about this time from the Kansas droughts and heat. When I first moved into that house, I planted bushes and trees all with the concept of long term growth. Then of course, those bushes, trees, grass, and flowers died. The last couple of years, I still put in gardens, but they were always plants I didn’t care if they died or not. It was about a couple of months of growth and that’s it. The only plants I could grow routinely and deftly was crabgrass (that’s a weed for you renters).
It should have been a couple hours of work, but turned into a fight. The grassy bushes were dead and the root balls went deep. The garden edge needed work, and when I called it good its still not clear where the garden ends and the lawn begins. There was a rock mulch down below, that wasn’t such a bad thing, but it meant lots of kneeling on unsuspected stones. If that wasn’t enough I found an awful lot of that green thumb’s nemesis — crabgrass. This was going to be a battle.
But after all that work, I put in seven lilac bushes, eighteen marigolds, four snapdragons, six cubic feet of mulch. Add to that, five pounds of grass seed, four front porch plants, one inside plant, and a massive compost pile of dried leaves. I wouldn’t say the yard is transformed, more or less it is started. There’s going to be a lot more to do, especially if some of the bushes in the front yard are actually dead and not just “slow to start” like they look.
But the lilacs are what intrigued me. They grow to be over six feet tall and three feet wide, but right now the biggest one isn’t over three feet. I made the conscious decision to buy lilacs, because I always wanted lilac bushes since I was a kid. What I did unconsciously was I bought lilac bushes that will have to grow into themselves. Sure, they are much more likely to grow faster and easier here than back in Kansas, but that won’t just be this year. It will be next spring at the earliest before I can enjoy it, and more likely years in the future.
I bought these lilacs for the long haul.
So I guess I better settle in and make a life for myself here.
Happy Summer Everyone.