Is there a worse time than May for a gardener to go on an almost three-week trip? Probably not. Therefore doubts kept creeping up on me as I was getting myself and the garden ready, covering the unplanted garden beds with black plastic so they would not turn into a weed patch, laying out soaker hoses, prepping seedlings, and writing to-do lists for the gardensitter – my husband.
He has been a gardener much longer than I am, and the garden is in good hands with him. Yet it is not easy to relinquish the care of one’s tender plants to someone else. I am sure my husband would have much more serious concerns if he were the one being away that long during this time of the year. He would find hay instead of a lawn upon his return because I have never touched a lawnmower in my life.
The division of yard work between us somehow fell into place without us ever talking about it, and it works perfectly. When we take visitors on a garden tour my husband always tells them that I handle everything under three feet tall: the flower and perennial beds, the vegetable garden, and the berry patch. He takes care of the lawn, trees, shrubs, and the many other tasks of a groundskeeper. Right now he needs to work double shift, rain or shine.
It is not only the logistics of the garden that made me second-guess the timing of my trip. It is also all the “events” that I will be missing. The crabapple blossom had just started when I left. I will be away when the alliums and the lilac bloom, and when the two new quince trees we planted will develop their first leaves. The day of my departure I saw the first fava beans, a premiere in my garden this year, breaking through the soil. I also saw a third seedling of the blue false indigo emerging, which thrilled me because coaxing the seeds into germination was a patience test. And, I noticed tiny yellow buds on the kale plants that I left in the garden from last year to collect the seeds, and I would love to see them fully open.
My precious gardensitter sends me email alerts about late frosts, usually a screenshot of the local weather report with the subject line, “What needs covers?”. And he does something else that is not in his job description: he takes a camera along on his daily maintenance rounds.
Photos by Ted Rosen