Jay Cronley: Grab a spade; it's spring planting time
BY JAY CRONLEY World Staff Columnist
Friday, March 16, 2012
3/16/12 at 4:21 AM
The trucks come by night, 18-wheelers bound for glory, big rigs packed wall to wall with treasures of the season, stuff that blooms and grows.
On the first official planting weekend of the year, which is the weekend when an unexpected snow would quickly melt, garden centers and nurseries are transformed overnight from cobwebs and leggy pansies to explosions of color and bright green pines that give off a better scent than air freshener.
Aisles turn into yellow brick roads.
Quick, get those rosebush trees at $26 per before somebody else does. Back the SUV up to the $20 ornamental grasses; they won't see sundown here.
For the first buying and planting weekend frenzy of the year, even after a mild season of global freshening, you expect the clerks and other workers at the plant and flower and shrub and tree places to gather at dawn and join hands and wish for a mid-morning thunderstorm to thin out the crowds.
Ramshackle dwellings have pots of bright flowers out front.
Gambling on greenery: What is it about a plant?
Who hasn't wondered if what's growing in the corner is a plant or a weed?
Some of what you put in the ground comes back, some doesn't; some takes a year off and then returns.
It's the watering by hand with a hose when it's 100 degrees out there, and it's the dragging of a cheap sprinkler from spot to spot, and it's a dog with sharp teeth making a soaker hose out of a regular hose, and it's trying to grow something, anything, in cavelike shade, that makes a person take seriously and personally that which he or she stuck in a yard.
This isn't California, where birds of paradise grow through cracks in the sidewalk.
Some people here buy so many things that grow the first big weekend of the planting season that their photos should be placed by the cash register, like problem gamblers at a casino.
Down and dirty: Here's what it is about plants and the like.
It's the way you've put them in the ground.
The way the sun finds them.
It's the way the birds and butterflies read them.
It's if and when they bloom.
It's what replaces the ones that bite the dirt.
Whatever you do with what you choose to plant, into the ground or in a pot, inexpensive or ridiculous, there's nothing in the world exactly like it.
Original Print Headline: Get a spade; it's time to plant things