May 11, 2013 @ 8:49 AM

 May 11 ~

It happens every year......this gut wrenching panic about how much there is to do to get the gardens ready and how little has been done and how time is running out. My deadline is always June 1st, because that is a few days before my summer classes start. Here it is the middle of May and my property looks HORRIBLE.

This is the general scenario: By mid- April, I feel somewhat in control...lots of ideas, rested from winter, the grass has not started growing yet, so everything "looks" manageable. The end of April/early May, we always go to DC to visit family. When we get back......everything has taken off, grass is several inches high, weeds everywhere (can't even keep up with them between eating and tincture making), garden unweeded, mostly unplanted, one or more of our garden machines is in the shop being fixed, I look outside and get overwhelmed, go drink some tea and wish I could hire somebody for one whole day to just come in and tidy up the grounds, mow and plant big stuff (like the shrubs I currently have sitting on my porch). On top of all this, of course, is totally uncooperative weather. When it is great, I am not here....when it is rainy and cold, I am sitting inside looking out...chomping at the bit (today, for example). Tilling has to be done when the soil is right--not too wet. What usually happens in our CNY climate is that we are always at least a little and sometimes very late planting, which is problematic in our rather short growing season.

As of today, part of the garden has been tilled once and my peas and a a bit of the salad garden are in and up since I rushed to plant before we left for DC last week. No grass has been cut, everything looks like a jungle, none of the herb beds have been weeded or planted with the 40-50 new plants that are waiting on my porch for their permanent homes. I have been annoyed, as I am every year, by the forgetful nature of people and the constant  rush to plant out annuals and relief for warm weather. I always hold back, knowing that winter is never done with us for good until at least mid/late May. Now, the weather report is for mild to hard frost the next three nights and the possibility of snow overnight tomorrow. So, on top of feeling behind in all work, I am also anxious for the wellbeing of my budding lilacs and fruit trees and the flowers I purchased for my front porch planter boxes and hanging baskets. I would love to put off even buying them until another week or so, but the Mother's Day plant nursery buying spree wipes out all the nice looking and healthy stock--so I buy and then rely on lots of hoarded old bed sheets to cover up everything, as needed. The weather is not drying out anytime soon, which means mowing will have to be put off almost another week. By this coming mid-week, will be when my husband has to deal with my yearly hyterics about "When will it all get done?? Call someone!!!"

I have no idea from year to year how it does it done---it totally escapes my memory----but it does and this panic will turn to delight sometime around June 1st, when instead of being inside looking out---in terror, I will be sitting outside in my gardens with a big pot of tea, feeling pretty satisfied. There is always a lot of work left to be done every gardening season, but after the initial rush of preparation, tasks can be tackled in more manageable portions---sometimes with urgency, but rarely with this early, spring, paralyzing panic.

*Word to the Wise~ in spite of all  the enticing gardening magazines---STOP reading them until you get your own garden under control. Looking at pics of tidy gardens only increases stress and panic!