It’s May!

     A character in something my brother reposted says – “I know why May is called May, because there may be frost, there may be heat, there may be rain, there may be sun!” Right, or, in the case of this particular May, all of the above!

     Still, day after day I’m bowled over by the flowering shrubs and trees. The whole tiny back yard out my workspace door would delight the gardener who planted here 30 years ago. The white lilac explodes with bloom and the gnarled crabapple tree and agreeable-pink rhododendron form a canopy over a corner of the tiny space. Two juncos rule this terrain – they burst from the canopy to hector me at my slightest intrusion.

     After winter walks of mostly unchanging green and gray, I relish the daily differences. I list the blooms (sometimes needing to look them up on PlantSnap). I’m not sure why I want the names – to tell you, to hold on to them, to make it all last longer by paying attention? I pass azalea, laurel, lilac, viburnum, wisteria, ribes, choisya – all ablossom – and often fragrant. And fruit trees, a thick layer of pink petals already carpets the ground beneath some cherry trees.

All that winter rain must have encouraged this year’s extravagant show. When preparing the mounds in the pumpkin patch, I dig down to move some of the self-seeded nigella and heartsease, and the soil is still cloggy and wet. To my delight I found a tree frog in a pile of black plastic pots next to the garage door. In the tiny “meadow,” bunnies have eaten the leaves but not the blossoms of bellis.

Perennials race ahead with their renewed lives – the rosemary is thick with blooms and bees, I’ve seen columbine, wallflower, forget-me-not, and the straggly clematis climbs high on the patio fence. In the neighborhood circle, delicate white blossoms cover the blueberry bushes. Hard rain, and then heat abruptly ended the tulip show, and daffodils shrivel – both reminders of the whirring rush of plant life and the inevitability of endings.

This article, Let the Post-Pandemic City Grow Wild, is a story of humans as accomplices to nature rather than enemies. It made me think about what I want from this small city garden space, what I need, what nature needs – flowers to please pollinators and to paint, to be able to watch the whole progression, and to enjoy every stage.

6 thoughts on “It’s May!

  1. I like the idea of an urban wild lands. But I wonder if, as Wally Hickel used to say, “You can’t just let Mother Nature run wild.” We still need to practice some sort of intelligent control over what we plant and what we just let “run wild.” I like your phrase that we should be human accomplices to these spaces that promote appreciation of something other than a nice lawn or a paved parking lot. Your painting is lovely. Such a sweet little junco. Thanks for posting and for keeping at painting and sharing the beauty around you. xoxo, Crump

  2. What a glorious month it is, indeed! Flowers wild and tame, trees in bloom–and the air sweetly scented with those invaders, honeysuckle and multiflora rose. We are losing the battle to keep certain areas clear, but we tell ourselves we are re-wilding.

    Your words and pictures are balm for the soul, as always. xox, V

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