Nature won’t wait when there is work to be done. Think of the poor farmer mowing by moonlight before the rain, the fisherman chasing down a school of cod. We aren’t entirely different in our needs right here in Otsego County on Woodside Avenue. There is a bud marauder loose in the garden. It all began on the right side of the center terrace in a particularly lovely patch of early red lilies, just to the left of yellow flags. THEY like to say, Pride goeth before a fall, and I suppose that pride of mine set me up. I noticed at some point that the swollen lily buds did not seem to be hanging like little lit ornaments from their stems.In fact as I came closer, I saw that they were not hanging at all. In fact they were not to be seen, and their stems were as closely cut as if a human with garden clippers had just passed by.
I believe I shrugged, Oh well, I did notice that two single lilies had lost their buds, but that was all. I was still in the Share and share alike frame of mind. You can be sure I made the mistake of forgetting all about nature and continued to admire buds on lilies, even took credit for their good health and vibrant ways. Hosta buds were the next ones expected to bloom. Now hostas are not the finest flowers in the field, but when massed, as ours are, and in a few different formations. Hosta buds stick right straight up out of the middle of the plant and, as they whiten preparatory to opening, they are larger and more like lamps than ornaments. and they too are part of the lily family. As I said to Betsy, The hostas are going to be absolutely beautiful this year.
Betsy and I were busy with the vegetable garden. The soil still needs plenty of amending and there was the Bishop’s weed that needed discipline. (note: Why do you suppose it is called Bishop’s weed? Is it a general condemnation of Bishops, or does it refer to one despicable Bishop in particular?) Vegetables planted, job done, there was time to look around and pat ourselves on the back. I expected to see the hostas opening, but as it was with the lilies, there were no hosta buds to be seen. Only the neatly cut stems, as neatly cut as if it had been done with garden clippers, stuck from plant’s big variegated leaves. As many hostas as there were, they were all bitten (I say bitten, but I’m not sure) off ,and in many places where the other lilies could no longer bloom the day lilies were beginning to bud in their more delicate fashion. Did deer get over the fence? Did bunnies stand on their tiptoes?
For her part Betsy had chosen to keep track of some other problems that had bothered her in the past. Slugs kept up their nightly nibble in the vegetable garden. Squirrels ran up and down the trunks of the pear trees, no doubt making sure they didn’t miss that beautiful moment of perfection.
Betsy said, This is war.
At four-thirty in the afternoon, having dried off from the afternoon shower the new climate has brought us, Betsy picked up her credit card and drove off to Annutto’s where she conferred with Tony, and a couple of organically minded friends, about our many troubles. She learned that she could buy a product for every problem plaguing us. What would you have done? What would anyone have done? She is just barely strong enough to bring all those products into the house. It’s decision time and we are at war. First a glass of wine for courage, a pizza with mozzarrella cheese and puff pastry for power, and strawberries for a confident outlook. We will win.