Garden of E


My Info

Austin, Texas
I've lived and gardened in urban Austin for the past 8 years, after retiring from the last of my several careers. BR (before retirement), most of my life was spent in colder places like Michigan, Missouri, Oregon, Montana, Alaska, and Boston MA. Best thing I've done AR-- becoming a Master Gardener. Other passions-- Austin Farmers' Market, grandchildren, and travel.

photo by Elsa, age 7

Saturday, April 11, 2009

April is the cruelest month...

How easy it is to forget what spring is like elsewhere, when we've been basking in warm weather, reveling in emerging greens and bursts of color here at home. Now, I grew up in Michigan, so I should know better, but I went off to visit my mother the day after April Fools (how apt) optimistically taking my gardening shoes, gloves and pruners with me. I could help Mom out by getting a start on cleaning up the garden from the ravages of winter. The day I arrived was warm and sunny (Michigan definition of 'warm'- 65 degrees). The next day (this is where the cruel part comes in) it rained all day and stayed around 45, as it did on Saturday and Sunday without the rain but with high winds. Then Sunday night a dire forecast. This is what we woke up to Monday morning:

No, I didn't take these shots in black and white.
The next day we drove through the last flurries to the airport, and I arrived home feeling as though I had just clicked my ruby slippers together three times. The garden had continued on in my absence.

Iris and larkspur play off against the three new pots in the shade corner.

Bluebonnets and zexmenia are spilling onto the sidewalk.

This Texas yellowstar must have hitched a ride when I dug up my first two bluebonnet rosettes from my daughter's farm a couple of years ago.
By the way, Eliot didn't really mean that April is cruel because it can snow when you don't want it to; he was lamenting that spring awakens too many conflicting emotions about life and death and thus is disturbing.
"April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers."
Maybe this is a deliberate turning-upside-down of Chaucer's more joyful lines:

"When that April with his showers fragrant
The dryness of March has pierced to the root,
And bathed every vein in such liquid
By which power engendered is the flower,
When Zephyrus also with his sweet breath
Inspired has in every woodland and heath
The tender crops, and the young sun
Hath in the Ram has his half course run
And small fowls make melody,
That sleep all the night with open eye...."

I could add, "and Monarch caterpillars munch and dream of May."


  1. How lucky we are...and then comes summer!

  2. You are quite a photographer! Have you ever thought of writing a gardening book with accompanying photos?

  3. Andrea- Thanks for the compliment! We have garden bloggers in Austin that are far better photographers than I. Will work on the book when I have enough money to buy one of those fancy SLR cameras w/multiple lenses. Could rob a bank or hope for inheritance (ha!).