Quite Contrary, That’s How My Garden Grows

This time of year, whenever I hop about visiting blogs, I frequently am greeted with lovely garden tours: colors, growth, renewal, dirt, brightness after months of grey. Here, for example, are a few glimpses:

Lime‘s Daffodils

Green Girl‘s Forsythia

Friko’s Quince

Citizen’s Pansies

Usually, I view fellow bloggers’ garden photos enviously, even wistfully, knowing that Spring is still far off for those of us in more northerly climes. However, this year, with the freakishly early and warm Spring, I was stunned to see the first of my several hundred bulbs popping through the dirt–more than a month earlier than I had any right to expect them. Last week, three crocuses reached enough maturity to flower. In MARCH. Unprecedented. And oh-so-delightful in the eyes of this flower lover! No longer would I have to rely on weekly bouquets bought at the store and placed strategically around the house to fill my vision with color and texture and life.

Instead, I could just go outside and see the pretty:

Jocelyn’s Crocus


Jocelyn’s Crocus the Next Day, After the Deer Came

I mean, I knew the deer would show up for the Bulb Buffet. They do it every year. But somehow this year’s munching of the very first purple felt like a very pointed indignity.

My strategy, in planting heaps of bulbs, was that the deer could have 2/3, but then they needed to leave me 1/3 to enjoy. Based on all evidence thus far, the paperwork outlining my terms and conditions got lost in the mail.

Fortunately, the deer eventually get their fill, and the gardens begin to thrive. Until that tipping point of “eventually” arrives, I’ll just enjoy what I’ve got.

I can fill my eyes with

the bright colors on the labeling cards of plantings past. O Tickseed, we hardly knew ye. Come again this July!


At the risk of inspiring covetousness in my garden-loving readers, I also have to point out that the creeping thyme shows every promise of one day not leading with full-on dead and brown:


In fact, the lush denseness of a Duluth garden this time of year once caused a Green Thumb in Georgia to remark, “Why, I’d like to have stuck a trowel in my eye if I had to live all the way up there in such a Godforsaken short growing season”:


Crafters worldwide fight for the opportunity to come to my back garden and practice their weaving on the remnant spokes of last year’s daisies:


Hark! There is color in the garden: it’s the store-bought bouquets from winter, dumped there to compost. Ain’t nothing lovelier than composting store boughts:


Even though my outdoor spaces are pretty much dirt and deadness, the beauty of Spring is that it’s a harbinger of summer fulfillment. For its sense of promise, of teetering on the edge of something beautiful, I love Spring.

Plus, as a crocus makes its way out of the earth, it looks rather like a sea monster, surfacing from the deep, and how is that not fun?

So the buds–backlit by a colorful canoe–are budding…

the daffodils and tulips are denying their fragility and playing strong…

the Bleeding Heart is casting its vote…

and the dandelions trump them all…

As an added measure, I spent some time today sprinkling coyote urine granules over the gardens. If that acrid scent doesn’t gag the deer, then the gentle beasts are entitled to a happy buffet.

As Nature tussles its way to balance, we can channel our outdoor impulses toward human-made delights:

Who needs flowers when we can be our own colorful characters and crazy poppies?

So there. All of you may have gorgeous gardens sproinging up around you,

but I’ve got the ability to fly, and Peter Panning about has proven the best way to cure Crocus Envy.








19 responses to “Quite Contrary, That’s How My Garden Grows”

  1. chlost Avatar

    Crocus envy, yes indeed! So far, the deer have only munched on Husband’s saplings. Flowers must be a second course.

  2. pam Avatar

    Oh god Jocelyn- your pelvic floor muscles must be stronger that mine to bounce around on that thing! Give me the more genteel art of gardening – dead sticks or otherwise, and yeah, I could weave a basket out of your dead twigs. I can always provide the happy arty-farty audience to other’s exhuberant outdoor activities, crafting on regardless. Great pics!

  3. Lil Avatar

    I wanna go to your house and play on your trampoline.

  4. Meg Avatar

    Coyote urine crystals? Now that’s intriguing! My beautiful purple tulips, usually complimented by the creeping phlox at their knees, were chopped off before they even had a chance! I raised my fist and cursed those pregnant does! I shall have to shop for coyote urine…Hmmmm.

  5. Friko Avatar

    Guess what, we had snow yesterday, all day. Never mind about deer, the snows and frosts can get rid of whole fields of crocuses in one fell swoop. Everything that’s been sitting up, looking pretty and giving you garden envy, is now flopping over in a very sad way. Obviously, I am not going to be stupid enough to take photos of the sorry mess for the blog; I shall wait for the next, short-lived burst of spring and get out there, snapping away like a thing possessed and pretending that everything in the garden is lovely, always has been lovely, and always will be lovely.

    I have no trampoline, that would only encourage kids to come and visit.

    I have no coyote urine ( granules or otherwise) either, how do you milk them? Coyotes, I mean. I’ve stood by the dog, holding a jug under his willy and waiting for the doings to pour – for veterinary investigations, not personal use – but I’m not sure that coyotes would hold still long enough?

  6. Hilary Avatar

    Sorry you’re losing your colour as fast as it arrives but there’s colour in your cheeks from jumping on that trampoline.

  7. Secret Agent Woman Avatar

    This Georgia girl had the same thought. And I can’t believe the deer took that little hopeful crocus. But the buds show promise. Soon…

    But here’s a funny thing – as I was clicking on the link in my Reader, I saw the pansies, and thought, “Hey! those look just like my pansies!” Even the “Citizen’s pansies” didn’t clue me in – I thought that was just the name of that particular variety! Sad. So very, very sad.

    1. Jocelyn Avatar

      I’m glad you figured out those were your flowers! Heh-heh. I was trying to give you credit w/o leaving any sort of trail of crumbs that might ever impinge on your privacy…Apparently, I was entirely too clever about it, eh?

      1. Secret Agent Woman Avatar

        It doesn’t matter – even with a link to my blog, people have to email me for an invitation.

        1. Jocelyn Avatar

          Ahhh. Gotcha!

  8. Jenn @ Juggling Life Avatar

    Weight Watcher’s looks great on you, girl!

  9. SmitoniusAndSonata Avatar

    With such a splendid display of Jumping Jocelyn , who needs crocuses ?

  10. Green Girl in Wisconsin Avatar
    Green Girl in Wisconsin

    You are SO funny! A bulb buffet–you kill me!
    But hey, you’re WAY up north and there are some promising buds poking through.
    What I really like, however, is the No Trespassing sign on your trampoline. You use that to keep the deer off, right?

  11. Jeni Hill Ertmer Avatar

    Well, my daffodils are about finished blooming -and if they weren’t finished blooming then, the weather changes will knock ’em off since they are calling for snow showers for at least 3 days next week! Lovely. NOT! But unfortunately, the one plant I have no problems growing -good old dandelions -will survive all in spite of everything!

  12. Pearl Avatar

    Joce, you goofy woman you. 🙂 I recognize my own garden in yours. More’s the pity. 🙂

    Have greatly enjoyed the pics of you and your boy flying. You’re a natural.


    1. Jocelyn Avatar

      Yes, I is circus people, Pearl, and I have a feeling you and I could work up a duo-act for the ages.

  13. kmkat Avatar

    My school had a trampoline when I was in junior high (as it was known back in the Age of Dinosaurs) and it was soooo much fun! You look great!

  14. magpie Avatar

    I’ve always thought that the fleshy red plant shootss – like your bleeding heart, and my peonies and rhubarb – are thoroughly erotic and almost naughty.

  15. lime Avatar

    well, first i was kind of tickled to see my little daffodil on your page. then i was laughing like a loon over your sad garden pictures. you just have no idea the black thumb of death i possess so your pictures are more representative of my truth than my picture is. those daffodils thrive because my lime planted them right over the septic field….far out of my reach. i hope the granulated coyote pee does the trick. i also used to sprinkle cayenne pepper all over my gardne to keep the bunnies and deer fro munching all the tender buds. the leaping about on the trampoline though…oh yes…i shoudl go do that myself.

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