Friday, June 19, 2009

in the garden

Memory of springtime travel in Paris and Italy is gone. For the moment. We have been pulled by the flurry of activity planning and traveling for our two new books, crisp black-jacketed beauties, one with a blue spine, the other with a red spine: Libation: A Bitter Alchemy ( and In Late Winter We Ate Pears: A Year of Hunger and Love ( Organizing. Scheduling. Driving. Flying. Teaching. Reading. Signing. Cooking. Pouring. Speaking. Inventorying. Serving. Washing. The restaurant is also full of the new season, and we go from one thing to another without much time to stop.

With all this motion, coming home roots us, and we find that we cannot keep away from the gardens or the vineyard which is a good thing because they need our attention the days we are here. There is the hoop house to clean out, the rose garden to weed, the peony hedge to mulch and stake before the big, fat blossoms sigh to the ground. The rain has been almost constant, and Caleb takes the temperature of the soil. The seedlings are slow because the earth has yet to warm up adequately. But the radicchios love the weather; the roses love the weather. The tomatoes, newly planted in their new bed, must be moved into the green house where it will be warmer.

It is a pleasure to be out in all this verdant work. The perennial garden is always at its best at this time of year. Everything is in bloom: the squadron of iris, the rugosa roses, the fragrant chive, the scented geranium, the clamoring veronica, the arching bridal wreath. Even the first of the lemon lilies which smell like citrus blossoms when you walk past. Here, we catch a fragment of memory, of walking in a springtime orange grove in Calabria, the bees from the nearby apiary buzzing amid all the perfume. But then the memory is gone, and our climbing grape vines catch the corner of my eye. It is time to trim the grass beneath their armature.


No comments: