The Spring that Refreshes

A blogger friend’s post this morning, about her back yard in Sweden, got me thinking about Spring and flowers and plants and such. She wrote about feeding the birds and putting in plants that feed birds and butterflies and the like. And she mentioned reading a book about a family in the U.K. that let their farm revert to a natural state. Her post served to jog my memory of a garden I planted many years ago. It was in the back yard of our first house, a white brick ranch in western suburban Houston, Texas. At the time, my brother worked for the railroad and had access to old used railroad ties. He arranged for me to get some of those ties, which I used as the perimeter of the garden. I then bought a truckload or two (or more?) of topsoil and filled in the railroad tie outline, creating a slightly raised garden. I grew tomatoes and corn and squash and beans and radishes and who knows what else. But I didn’t keep it up for long. I didn’t have the patience for gardening. Eventually, I let it revert to an almost natural state. The flowering weeds did, indeed, attract butterflies and birds.

Without a great deal of expense and backbreaking labor, a garden of the kind I made would be impossible here. Living in a house on the side of a mountain, with an extremely steep and dangerously rocky back yard, is not conducive to vegetable gardening. But I suspect I could get enough flowering plants to grow in the little available soil to make for a feast for butterflies. Some of the weedy vines that take over parts of the land behind the house flower in the Spring. I suspect I could add to the color of Spring by planting butterfly bushes and paintbrushes and evening primrose. The latter two are weeds that grew…like weeds…in Texas. They were all over the roadsides in Springtime.

Even though February is not even half over, I’m feeling a longing for Spring this morning. I blame Liz and her blog for it, but that’s not fair. I felt that longing even before I read her post. Of course, my lack of patience, coupled with my uncooperative lungs and declining strength in my arms and legs, could impact any plans I might have to garden. Even to garden with flowering shrubs that take care of themselves.

But I should be able to muster the energy to feed birds. And, really, I just need to get back in shape. Go to the gym. Get back in the habit of walking, even if it’s in small bits. It’s the bloody hills that get to me; I can walk on a flat surface, but the damn inclines leave me breathless.  It’s a problem that cries out for a solution. And I should just solve it. And so I will make it my mission to do so. And I’ll plant a few flowers and such to make sure Spring is as renewing and refreshing as it is meant to be.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes "Intimacy is never wrong. It can be awkward, it can be unsettling, it can feel dangerous, it can seem out of place, but it’s never wrong."― John Swinburn
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