It starts early in the heart of winter. Those gardening catalogs make their way from the mail box to the night stand beside my bed.
The photographs are beguiling- lilac trees bursting with luscious flowers, rudbeckia, lavender, butterfly bushes as big as trees... Then the seed catalogs promise me hearty heirloom varieties that my southern great-great grandmother might have grown in her vegetable bed. I start making lists of seeds to purchase, even for vegetables I'm not fond of like broccoli and eggplant. I can't resist the copy.
I start searching around for my gardening books and start mentally planning my beds. I gaze out at the snow covered yard and think, "Yes, this will be the year I clear more land for gardening." It seems so easy from inside the house to contemplate growing, digging, watering, fertilizing, and weeding. It's all so rational and orderly while the ground is too cold to consider doing anything with.
Then the snow melts, the grass is beige and still sleeping but the robins and grackles return. I begin fantasizing about creating rooms in my yard. Over there will be the the reading area; here will be a children's garden and maze, that's where I'll start the orchard, this will be our entertaining area, my wine grapes will grow there. I start hoarding magazines that promise to transform my yard into a garden oasis in under $100.
Now the grass is green my butterfly bushes are coming to life, the forsythia is almost neon against the brown brush and I am deep in the seduction now. I look out the windows and I'm confronted by the possibilities all around me. I ache to rush out to my favorite gardening spot and grow my way into the poor house. (Sure we may not have money to buy food but damn my garden looks good.)
Every year spring entices me this way until summer slaps me into reality with blood, sweat, tears and mosquitoes. Intellectually I know this. I understand it would take a crew of over 3500 (like the workmen who tamed Central Park) to bring my nature fantasy to life but I don't care. I'm rushing in head-first because, this will be the year it happens.