Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Seedsower's Lament

Certain garden events stand out in my mind as clear markers of the seasonal changes. The arrival of seed catalogs is a midwinter benchmark. Swelling daphne buds give me hope that spring will arrive, despite atmospheric evidence to the contrary. And I always feel a little thrill at the first appearance of cool weather vegetable starts in the nursery. But nothing says spring quite like that moment when the gardener surveys her flats of seedlings, purchased and started from seed, and whispers ‘My God, what was I thinking?’

This year is no exception. The four varieties of coleus (Palisandra, Limelight, Wizard Rose and Kong Rose) are certainly lovely but did I need to sow with such reckless abandon? And what doppelgänger slipped into the greenhouse and planted all those Amaranthus.? I can only offer Seasonal Affective Disorder as a feeble excuse. In the middle of a gray and rainy January who can resist the clarion call of the seed catalogs, trumpeting names like Dreadlocks, Fat Spike, Pygmy Torch and the always-tempting Elephant Head?

You can be sure that my small herb garden cannot accommodate ten fernleaf lavender plants. But this irrefutable fact certainly didn’t stop me from planting the seed. And how could I not buy Lavandula ‘Goodwin Creek Grey’ from the very people who developed and introduced this cultivar. The Master Gardeners Spring Garden Fair is always a source of grave temptation.

The list goes on (and on). I haven't even mentioned the nightshade surplus and the bags of free Gladiolus corms. Who could say no to free?

I’m sure that I am not the only gardener pulling on some gloves and getting down to the serious business of planting. This morning dawned with perfect transplanting conditions. The air is cool, the skies cloudy. The weather report calls for a chance of showers. I’m sure I will find room for most of these seedlings. And my neighbor said she would love to have some coleus.