In tune...

This spring, my second since retirement, has been the best gardening year since I first planted my cottage gardens two decades ago. Maybe it's the slower pace, knowing that I can work anywhere in the yard, wanting to make each garden space perfect, having all the time I need. If I need to walk away before I'm done, and move to a different task, it doesn't stress me.

Each day I walk out onto the front porch, where I can see all my perennial gardens. And each day, something new is in bloom.

This single clematis bud caught my eye, standing proud in the morning sun. There would have been more, but an incautious shifting of the container broke a stem.

This clematis stirs so many memories in me. It's the variety we chose to plant in our yard in West Richland, our first house together. We planted clematis at the top of a retaining wall in the front yard, so the vines would spill over the wall and show their blooms to the street. But instead, the silly vines grew toward the only vertical surface in sight: the front of the house. 

When we bought this house and acreage, the first spring I was thrilled to find the same clematis, trained to grow up the downspout at the end of the garage. It was so laden with blooms, it started to pull the gutter off the building. So Dave cut it down. The next year, it grew from nothing to a blossom-laden vine that grew along the sidewalk, all the way to the end of the garage... nearly 70 feet long. I wish I'd taken pictures of it. I pruned it back each year, and it died one winter in a bitterly cold ice storm.

I replaced it a few years later with the same variety, the only one I considered. Why mess with a good thing?

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