It could be really easy right now to get really down on myself.
In sunshine, dust and clutter are clearly visible.
Last week I was looking for something in the back of the refrigerator and made the grand realization that no one needs three half-full jars of pickles.
A similar scenario played out in the yard. I was admiring the blossoms on the aged almond tree and realized my yard looked like the resident gardener had died last year.
I’ll deflect some blame to Old Man Winter, because the previously-glorious plants have been brutalized by cold. But mostly I blame myself.
Saturday I became the powerful agent of change.
Fueled by sunshine, raw, pent-up energy emerged. Bedraggled lemon verbena was butchered to a stub. Crumbs of once-vibrant wallflower (Erysimum, Bowles mauve) were whisked away and the overgrown oregano was curtailed.
At one point, I noticed that a rivulet of blood was running down my arm.
There was still daylight, but I had to stop because the green waste can was full.
Now, the plants worth looking at are visible.
Gifts from space
Early-blooming bulbs tend to have a surreal appearance. When you look closely at daffodils, for example, you could easily mistake them for something manufactured from synthetic material in a factory in China.
Even the color seems more fitting for a package of Skittles candy than a bloom from the ground.
The shape is strange as well, with six petals forming a star, and a frilly bowl in the middle.
My friend Rochanah has hundreds of daffodils growing in her yard, and for the past several years graciously invited me over to pick bouquets.
Thanks to Rochanah, many reporters now have small vases of yellow flowers at their desks.
Other bulbs are similarly outstanding. Tulips look like they are made of wax and hyacinth could be crafted by Crayola. Come to think of it, if you smell cyclamen, a winter bloomer, it even smells like crayons.
Perhaps there are biological reasons why early spring bulbs seem like they come from outer space. Likely the journey from soil to sunlight, while still at risk of winter mayhem, has caused these plants to evolve in a less fragile way.
Also, some of the overwhelming smells are no doubt created to lure bees from their cold slumber.
Inspired by these re-discoveries, I asked my Facebook friends to look out for early signs of spring.
The aforementioned Rochanah said her flowering plum tree went “poof” over the weekend, and looks like a pink balloon.
Vickie also posted a photo of a tulip/magnolia tree (I can never tell the difference) now blooming on East First Avenue and Magnolia, by Bidwell Perk.
Recently I also spotted the earliest (and smallest) of yellow wildflowers and blue dicks at Horseshoe Lake.
After a day working in the yard, I felt empowered by sunshine. As the mosquitoes were emerging to feast, I toiled on.
Holes where I had buried kitchen scraps over the past few years were located and rich, wormy compost was found. This was piled into the raised bed, where I turned the soil until my deltoids ached.
It might be too early, but some spinach and carrot seeds were scratched into the soil. And for fun, I planted several rows of freesia bulbs.
Goodbye, garden neglect.