Soul and soil

Like everyone else in Ontario, I apparently gave up leaving the house for Lent. Now, it’s not like I leave the house especially often when I have a newborn — ps I had the baby — but it’s strange not to have the option. We’re not quarantined but we’re certainly practicing social distancing, as evidenced by this moody photo Perpetua took a few days ago:

That’s Tertia, by the way. We like her lots.

Things are weird. It’s weird not going to the library or Anselm’s piano class. It’s weird not knowing if/when our awesome homeschool co-op will restart. It’s weird “going” to church via facebook live. Having my husband working from home is lovely — it’s like a super-extended paternity leave — but it also has its own strangeness.

There are solaces, however. Being more or less housebound has turned my attention to the one place outdoors I can easily go: the back yard. We have a lovely big back yard, and since this is our first spring in our new house, there all sorts of discoveries to be made. What’s going to come up in the gardens? We don’t know! But we are starting to find out; the first flowers, these little wee irises, came out last week:

They were followed by what I think might be some type of hyacinth?

I had thought at first glance that they might be grape hyacinths, but the colour is not quite right, not to mention the fact that the buds open up:

And there are these lovely little purple things. No idea what they are, but I like ’em:

Yesterday I started clearing the garden beds of some of their detritus. I let everything overwinter naturally, for the sake of any birdies and beasties who would be using the overgrowth for food or shelter — but winter is over and it’s time to make room for new growth. I’m leaving the dead leaves for the moment, since we’re still quite a few weeks out from our “last frost” date, but I’ve been cleaning out most of the rest.

This kind of work is good for my soul.

Along the way I’ve been able to see at least some of what’s coming up this year. We’re going to have lots of tulips and even more daffodils, as well as what I’m pretty sure are full-size irises. There will be black-eyes susans when the weather is hot. There’s a rose bush that desperately needs to be tied up or given a trellis or something. I found a patch of (invasive?) ivy and the place where the squirrels ditch their chestnut shells.

Most of my adult life I’ve been an apartment-dweller, and so all of this is particularly enchanting to me. A whole yard of our very own, with soil to tend and good work to do — it is a real comfort in these strange days. I’m looking forward to seeing what further secrets the garden beds reveal in the coming weeks.

3 thoughts on “Soul and soil

  1. The little Dutch iris is charming! And those certainly appear to be Muscari armeniacum – aka grape hyacinth. Muscari come in a variety of colors including white, pale blue, and even pink. However, they may turn out to be one of the many varieties of Scilla – if so, they will open and lose their ‘bunch of grapes’ appearance. And, lucky creature that you are, you have Anemone blanda – or Greek anemones. Maybe later you’ll have French or Japanese anemones…wouldn’t that be amazing? Lovely to see that Spring is springing! Here, too.
    😘😘😘from your gardening aunt.


  2. Might be a good time to re-read Frances Hodgeson Burnett’s “Secret Garden”! I think Perpetua and Anselm would love it.


  3. Ooooh how wonderful! I remember when we lived on Pine street we had similar surprises, and so much joy from them. Sounds like you’re in for lots of beautiful colour.


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