The month of March in Michigan always manages to test the good nature of the most graceful and exuberantly positive gardener. The bitter last of the winter is still firmly entrenched. It is 20 degrees, with snow flurries today. It will be 14 degrees over night. I don’t know why these buckets of cheerfully fake red poinsettias irritate me so much. If I didn’t know it was March, I would think it was Christmas time.
The north side of every cranny on my property has dirty snow and dead leaves on top of ice. The night temperatures regularly sink below freezing. Dead tree branches litter the garden. The cold winds come and bring paper and plastic trash. Burned orange evergreen needles jump out at me. The south side of every Alberta spruce in my neighborhood is burned.
Tree trunks of espaliers whose bark has been gnawed off by rabbits-I fear for the lives of these plants.
Boxwood tips turning from cream to tan-I see the signs that signal winter kill. Never mind the bare boxwood branches courtesy of the winter of 2014.
My snowdrops that have just emerged will be subjected to 14 degree temperature over night. These should be named frozen through and through drops. I do not see any signs of the crocus-that is a good thing.
The dead fern heads and cold singed European ginger laid flat out-I am more than ready for this phase of the year to be over. If you are a gardener, this is what March Madness really means.
My yard is dirty. I have a big love for dirt-but not this kind of dead grass and compacted muck dirt. The dirt just outside the doorways is salt saturated. This dirt is in my car, and on my kitchen floor. When it dries, it dries white. A dirty white, that is.
Potholes, gaping and deep potholes, open up in the neighborhood streets. I believe a neighbor, out of desperation, filled this with dirt. A water main broke here in late January. A huge disk of ice sat here until a few weeks ago, when the pavement seemed to disintegrate over night. The skies are the same color as this road.
I have talked to Buck at great length about all of this. On a number of occasions. Finally last night he advises me to go to the grumpery, and leave him be. I do not fault him for his exasperation. We have an understanding about the grumpery. The grumpery is a place for any gardener who is so over the winter that they need to be quarantined. I am hoping I do not need to spend too many more days there.