The Unique Month of May

The month of May can be both bliss for the gardener and a nightmare challenge. To say May is a busy month is an understatement. To bring this point home let me just say that I think of April as a preparation for May. If it is snowing and the ground is still frozen in April, I hack through the dirt to plant peas because I KNOW there just won’t be time in May.

When I was young, a hoary old lady gardener with a mustache told me to never ask any questions at a plant nursery in May. This stuck with me as did the concern that I too would have a mustache in my eighties. Not only do I not ask any other gardeners questions in May, I don’t have any answers to offer in May. I barely have any thoughts. I am just a fast moving basket of tools trotting from task to task with a list in my head which the Angels and Elementals constantly edit.

Thank goodness my Angelic and Elemental support team is not in overworked bodies like the folks at plant nurseries. Unhampered by physical constraints, they can take all my questions in May. And a good thing too, as May is entirely about me asking them questions.

This morning for example. Mild mannered Jim asked me what I was going to do today. It was a gentle question meant to engage us in gentle breakfast banter. Instead it lit up my brain like pinball machine. Would I prune more Roses ? Or mulch them? Or fertilize those Roses that haven’t gotten their compost and amendments yet? Or would I mulch the asparagus? Or the blueberries? Or fix that pesky leak in the Sacred Feminine pond (again)? Or would it be weeding? Were the weeds in the herb garden or the perennial beds or the vegetable garden or any garden on the property calling my name this morning? Or would there be time to deadhead the Daffodils? My pea brain exploded with possibilities to the point of meltdown. How to even pluck a possible job from the barrel of tasks in order to give Jim a civil friendly response? I was flummoxed.

So I croaked out a random answer. “The raspberries. I’m weeding the second row of raspberries this morning.”

Is this likely to be what I do? Doubtful as 100% NO. What will actually happen is I will water all the seedlings in the hoop house and greenhouse, and then my upstairs crew will alert me that something much more urgent timely than crabgrass in the raspberries has cropped up. I will then be off to do the first task on their rota.

All my marching orders come from the Angels and Elementals, and thank God for that. They actually know the weather conditions ahead and which plants and gardens need care the most. Once they give me my first assignment for the day, I will enjoy a dizzying day of bouncing from task to task as chosen by them. I do love it that as I get older, they adamantly include the task of rest. Apparently sometimes I am the Flower in the garden most in need of water and a weed job.

May is a month in which my mind could go into a crazed state, but with the help of the Angels and Elementals, it becomes a month in which I just go mindlessly from task to task and leave all the deciding and agonizing to my upstairs staff.

This leaves me free to glory in the beautiful May. Every glance up from weeding or watering or pruning is sensational. So many old Flower friends are there to savor as they spring back to life after our long winter. I love how these old friends move around the garden and have a life (and mind) of their own. They often are NOT where I planted them but have launched themselves into surprise places where they thrive. I love that. This place is a big four decade conversation in which all my plans for the gardens get tossed by the plants and my dear friends the Angels and Elementals. And because of this, the gardens are much more amazing than anything I could have ever imagined. I love this.