Happy Garlic Ready for the Snow

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Drunken Plum Blossoms

Southern Californians have to be careful when we hear old gardening sayings; they usually originate in the Eastern United States, and their relevance to our distinct climate can be marginal. That said, March came in like a lion and appears to be going out like a lamb. Early in the month we were hammered by cold wind, snow, sleet, and rain. Now, on the eve of the vernal equinox, with the days lengthening and temperatures gradually warming, it is official: spring is in full effect! Here in the mountains and in our orchard it is magical... the honey scent of native manzanita blossoms mix with those of our plums, crocus appear like the spring elves that they are, and daffodils dominate the forest and orchard stage alike.

Yesterday as I balanced on a beautiful wooden orchard ladder finishing up my stone fruit pruning in the late light of a real spring day, I felt drunk on the smell and feel of it all. Standing in a sea of small, delicate plum blossoms with the courtings of all woodland wildlife drifting on a desert breeze I felt that Julian in Springtime is heaven. I felt lucky, and grateful.

Good gardening is about gratitude and humility above all. Most of what we need is already here: sun, soil, water, air, diversity, and all the associated processes of growth and decay. It is too easy to become confused by the complexity of it all and by the feelings that we are, or need to be, in control. In this confusion, we forget that nature provides for not just the woodland wildlife, but for all creatures, including gardeners. It is in forgetting gratitude and humility, and interfering with healthy, natural systems that we encounter most problems.

Thanks for reading,
Ryan Wanamaker