Spring has been a reluctant visitor to Denver this year and a hint of summer has yet to make itself known. Garden planting has been postponed more than once when a sunny morning ends with a prediction of evening snow. The poor plants sat in the warm garage grasping at any ray of sunlight that found its way through a window to the concrete floor.
Our flag stone patio is large enough to allow our life to extend into the outdoors as much as possible. Growing up in Texas and living for a while in Scottsdale had made something of an outdoor living addict of me. Like an unwanted houseguest, a cold snowy winter that gives way to a cold wet and snowy semi-spring is as close to hell on earth as I hope to find.
The patio when planted and in full bloom is a sanctuary overlooking a golf course with starry night views of city lights provided by the Denver Tech Center and downtown. Snow capped mountains to the northwest provide a beautiful backdrop but also a sense of relief that all that snow is not under my feet.
Weekend before last, I ventured out to do my first planting. Cleaning out the dead plants from the beds is always an excellent way to kick my allergies into full gear. Thank God for Claritin. After a run to Home Depot , the first plants and flowers were in and the apple tree and peach trees were in bloom with their beautiful pink and while blossoms. We bundled up enough to stand the breezy 50 degree evening and sat in the wicker chairs with a nice glass of Cabernet and contemplated the upcoming week. It didn’t take long before a cold wind drove us inside. Contemplation and meditation are my two favorite patio activities and those activities are often enhanced by a fine wine with enough evocative structure to get lost dreaming in the glass.
So it appeared that spring, if not summer, might be on its way. But alas, the Sunday night forecast had changed from rain mid-week to heavy snow. “When will it ever end,” I said. With the new planting covered we waited for the snow and worried about the unprotected fruit trees. The first night of snow was lighter than forecasted but the second was heavier, much heavier. So in the middle of May I’m bundled up at 5AM, big broom in hand gently sweeping snow off the apple and peach blossoms praying that this snow did not rob the trees of their fruit as it did the year before.
This last week was cool, windy and wet but slowly warmed after the snow. By Thursday (May 13th) it was warm enough uncover the new flowers. In a bold move to ward off any further freezes I set up the patio fountains on Friday. So far that plan has worked. Saturday, up and out to Home Depot again for another round of plants for both the patio beds and the front beds. It was still a bit cool with temps in the 50’s, but I was not deterred. My fingers love the feel of a trowel in hand and soil between my fingers.
Sunday was the day I’d been waiting for. A trip to my favorite small nursery to buy four rose bushes to replace those that had not made through the tough rocky mountain winter. Of course only the new rose bushes are budding and blooming because the cold weather has slowed the bud break on the surviving roses. But as they say, a little bud is better that none (all puns intended).
So late yesterday afternoon I finally got what I’d been dreaming about for six months. A couple of hours to sit with my wife and daughter over a glass of 2004 Cline Bridgehead Zinfandel (still too cold for patiowhites), take in our garden handy-work, chat and day-dream a bit about how the warm sun on my face, the flowers in the garden, the Zin in my glass and my family to share it all with, is about the closest thing to Nirvana I’ll get to in this life. Come on summer, I’m ready!
P.S. If you get a chance, put in a good word for the peach and apple trees…The blossoms may have survived the snow. I can smell the cobbler already.