Saturday, April 17, 2010

Learning to love gardening in Connecticut when you have a southern soul

I'm a frustrated southern gardener digging in the dirt in Connecticut. I've lived here for over 20 years now and I've grown to love our relatively short summers and all the glorious plants that thrill me every year that I never would have known about had I stayed in Georgia where I grew up. In my early years learning to garden in the extremely rocky and usually acidic soil here, I hated the late Springs and the early Falls, with only a couple of months of hot weather in between. I missed the tomatoes ripening in July and the long growing season in Georgia. I resented not getting good local tomatoes until August and bragged relentlessly about "the tomatoes I grew up with" to anyone who would listen. Although I have to admit that Jersey corn isn't an urban myth -- that stuff is just plain crazy good. But now I cherish every Summer day, and I've learned to love the (to me) late blooming of the Redbuds, Lilacs, Cherry trees and Dogwoods. And I think I enjoy all the plants and trees here even more because I know Fall comes all too soon.

In Georgia, we see daffodils in late February, and here they come in late March or early April. But now when the snowdrops show themselves when there is snow on the ground and the hellebores show their beautiful blooms in late winter, I am more thankful than ever for the coming Spring. Now I look forward to Memorial Day when I can safely get my new plants in the ground (some I sneak in earlier during those inevitable early Spring warm spells and pray for a few weeks that they will survive!) And I cherish every gentle and warm late spring and early summer day and watch the plants thrive in our glorious summers.

Gardening by the Long Island Sound has proved to be a challenge that has rewarded me with joy and wonder every day I am digging in the rocky but fertile dirt.

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