When I moved to Connecticut almost 12 years ago, I came from Crested Butte, Colorado, a western slope former mining town turned fancy with a ski area. It was at 8800 feet in elevation. I had a garden, but in it I grew mostly grass. And I didn’t even mind so much, because it was green. I did manage some carrots, peas
and some herbs most years, but that was the sum total that my high altitude green thumb could manage. I tried for 10 years to get a serviceable tomato, but nary a cherry could I produce in that elevated locale.
Then I moved to Connecticut, and the sheer amount of vegetation astonished me. In fact, by mid summer I was entirely overwhelmed. I had to cut the grass ALL the time. And weeding? Forget it! I couldn’t stop things from growing, and that first year my cherry tomato vines grew to be over 11 feet long. I chuckle to remember how delighted I was with my first garden and the 12 or so varieties of vegetable I planted. Now I have over 12 varieties of tomatoes alone.
Springtime in Connecticut is both a magical and alarming time for me. The new life clawing up out of the ground and unfolding everywhere happens so fast and forceful that it is almost frightening. Each year in the early spring I wait expectantly for the growth to start. It begins with the greening of the grass, and gently blooms into a haze of green on the tips of the trees. Then I feel as if I’m rushing to catch and appreciate every last brilliant daffodil before the outrageous yellow of the forsythia emerges, but it all too soon blends in with the pinks and whites of the dogwoods and magnolia which give way to the purples and violets of the heavenly scented lilacs. Before I know it spring turns to summer and the business of hacking back the vegetation that grows uncontrollably everywhere, blocking my view of the oncoming cars at the end of the drive, threatening to overwhelm my perennials. And then the nasty posion ivy, the multiflora, the nettles.
There is usually a period of ease between these times, a period of calm wherein there is just enough vegetation to feel the world is a gentle place but not enough to feel as if things are out of control. For me, that time is now. Onions are beginning to poke out of the moist rich soil, and the first blossoms begin to open on the tomatoes. The last frost was last night, and tomorrow I relocate my delicate seedlings into their permanent homes. The lawn looks green, healthy and not too long. I have to remember to take a deep breath and savor every moment before the deluge of verdancy I know will be coming. Everything is a mixed blessing in this delicate balance we call life.