Sunday, April 8, 2007

And BRRRRR again....

Hmmm. No wonder New Englanders have a reputation for being taciturn and prickly. No other temperament could survive in this relentless cold, when spring is so eagerly, desperately anticipated and hoped for at every moment...Other years, this day might find 70-degree weather, buds popping everywhere you turn. This year, when global warming is in the headlines nearly every day (as it certainly should be), we have night after sub-freezing night, annoying last-minute snowstorms, leaving behind small seemingly unmeltable icebergs to remind us for as long as possible, you live in New England - You must forestall joy. "Don't get your hopes up." That describes us.

But we do, nonetheless. Hope springs eternal in the New England gardener's heart. I have been very busy, working at the garden center where I manage the perennial and nursery departments. While Philip and I are down south during the winters, we of course visit garden centers and nurseries and I often wonder if the staff there could endure the insanity that is spring at a cold-region retail garden center. The window of opportunity is quite small, so the ramping-up process is absolutely hair-raising.

This year, our perennial customers particularly are desparate to get digging, but the ground that had begun to thaw has sealed up again, and planting must be delayed. They come around and see what we have to offer at this early date (more than our competition, we make a point of it though sometimes when I'm driving in to work at 6 in the morning to water off an early spring frost, I do wonder why...). But most will not yet buy, since we have put out signs warning them to protect their new purchases from these early spring nights. So, rather than take them home now, they choose to have us tend to them until the weather takes its inevitable turn - usually a 180 degree turn toward 80 degrees, so that flowers whose buds have been teasing you for what seems like a month or more, burst forth and blow by in a day and a half. New Englanders don't excite easily.