"April is the cruelest month . . . Winter kept us warm, Covering earth in forgetful snow, feeding a little life with dried tubers."
Standing in the doorway that leads to my urban terrace garden and looking at my plants, herbs, trees, and shrubs, I am reminded of this T.S. Eliot's quote because the bleakness of this year's April, in New York City, has ruled (weather wise) — evidenced in the photograph at the top of this blog entry — where one can see that the things which I grow in my terrace garden, in New York's Upper Westside, are beginning to "pop out" of hibernation.
In certain instances, some of them show a few buds (as mentioned in this past Saturday's blog entry), but they are all still 'wearing' the 'winter-gear' that they were 'dressed' in a few months ago, and most of the things that I grow are not nearly at the stage where they were last year. In fact, I had 'undressed' everything by this time last year, and my Paeonia suffruitcosa (Tree Peony), showed its first buds last April, and this can be seen below in a photograph taken last year on April 13th — exactly one year ago today.
These beautiful green "bud-shells" seen in the photograph posted above quickly became a white bud, a bud, that inspired a blog entry, that you can refer to by clicking here. Last spring, my peony went on to fill my April with joy and anticipation, and to inspire a few blog entries that were reminiscent of a baby book that my mother kept when I was born, and where she logged my first steps, words, lock of hair etc. My peony is one of my many children, and you can refer to the progress it made last year by clicking here, as well as here, and here .
I am looking forward to what it will bring this season, but it is making its 2011 debut — where it appears to be either waving or applauding — as captured in the photographs posted below:
And I write this, we are nearly at the midpoint of April, and my Paeonia suffriyicosa still is not quite ready to shed its 'winter-gear' and is still huddled in the southeast corner of my terrace garden with its friends, including the ornamental grass, Ophipogon planiscapus (Black Mondo Grass) as seen below.
Of course, we all know that Mr. Eliot was talking about something more profound than protecting garden treasures, in his poetic work, The Wasteland, from which the quote (used for today's blog post title) is taken. However, it is rather eerie, at least to me, that while this poem was published in 1922, its lines ring just as true today (with all the war and devastation that continues to occur in many parts of the world). According to the CSS Forum), The Wasteland refers to "the degraded mess that Eliot considered modern culture to constitute, particularly after the first world war ravaged Europe. A sign of pessimism which Eliot approaches his subject is the poem's epigraph. Eliot lives in a culture that has decayed and withered but will not expire."
But despite Eliot's supposed focus of decay, he does (as CSS points out) live "in a culture that will not expire", and it is the value of persevering that has inspired my blog post today, on a dreary April Wednesday.
No, dear reader, I have not suddenly been blessed with newfound vim and vigor. Rather, this morning, after I checked on my garden, and pondered how my garden looked last April, I wondered what my urban gardener followers are experiencing in their gardens and how they feel about the month of April. Please don't say "April in Paris" as I gave up being envious for Lent (which is almost over) and may not be that be able to stick with my intent.
And also please don't remind me that April's deadline for tax filing is approaching, which could be the very reason that April is called the "cruelest month" and a subconscious reason for my writing this week's "extra" posting, writing it provides an excuse for not following up with my accountant.
Wishing you a Happy (almost) Mid-April. Now on with those taxes, although, there is still plenty of time — this year we do have those extra three days . . .