In the Garden: Seedlings, Spring, and Sunlight

Progress in the little patch of garden in my backyard: I’d put in a couple varieties of poppies and a mix of cornflowers a couple weeks ago. I tried this last year with no success, but last year, I think I planted the seeds too early. Plus, the weather didn’t cooperate. Shortly after I planted the early spring seeds, strong rains washed the seeds down the slight slope of the bed, and what few seedlings came up did so in a row at the edge of the bed. An aggressive trumpet creeper vine–which I think I’ve finally removed after years of trying to do so–blocked the sun in that part of the bed, which meant nothing thrived beneath it.

seedling in soil
A seedling, about ten days after planting

I’m hoping the few seedlings will thrive this year with more light in the bed. Yesterday, I put in a few annual pin-cushion flowers among the sprouting cornflowers and poppies. I have a perennial in another part of the yard which has done well, but this year I’m not adding any new perennials, as I’m thinking the back bed needs more attention before I can put in place anything more permanent.

seedlings in soil
More seedlings elsewhere in the flower bed

As I’m marking the change in season (happy spring or fall or autumn to you, per your location and preferred terminology), and I’m going through the remaining seed packets, I questioned whether putting in annuals is a good use of my time, energy, and resources. When you know something will be so fleeting, and you’re not sure whether it will lead to anything in the first place–is it worth the effort?

This year, I have to say, yes. Part of the pleasure of gardening is the process, which obligates me to go outside, even if briefly. I’ve had a rough time this year with the time change–though don’t we all. Before we “sprang forward,” I had a good routine: up at 5:15 to write, up late to work on writing- and book-launch-related tasks. Getting up early to water the flowerbed and going out just before sunset to put in more seeds seems to have helped me make the transition. Maybe it’s a placebo or a coincidence. But my obligations outside my house and outside myself might be the motivation I need to settle back into a productive routine.

elm leaves and clouds
A view to high clouds and emerging elm leaves

What gets you up in the morning? Are you starting up a spring garden? Watching your summer blooms transition into fall?