H OW TO CELEBRATE A JUNE BIRTHDAY IN THE GARDEN? By thinking back, and also looking ahead: two traits every gardener needs to cultivate. So what am I reflecting on and planning for on my happy birthday today?
Birthdays require flowers. Make mine peonies, one of the best perks of a June birthday. I am currently overrun by them, and the house actually smells too sweet; I had to put several vases outside. I even had the first-ever tree peony blossoms of my garden career (above) to cheer me this time around. That’s ‘Yellow Crown,’ which produced its first two flowers this year. Tada! Looks like a cupcake with lots of frosting, doesn’t it?
Birthdays require gifts, and Jack the Demon Cat took care of this one already. Yes, another weasel tail on the front doormat (above); making four in the last week. Wish he’d stick to chipmunks and mice and moles, but he dances (and hunts) to his own beat, my Jack does, and all night long.
Birthdays require music. I’m not singing “Happy Birthday” but instead “Combine Harvester,” a tractor song that seems much more in tune with my current life. It is my 2009 theme song, as I have mentioned. (Or maybe I should sing a chorus of “Get Happy” along with Judy Garland, who would have been 87 today, about my age.)
Birthdays require a toast, and I’m toasting myself by re-reading what I wrote 20 years ago this week, originally under the headline “Turning the Earth, and 35,” that sounds just like what I’d write today.
Birthdays require ceremony. I’m going to plant a shrub I’ve always wanted, Ribes odoratum, an intensely fragrant yellow-flowered currant and my birthday gift to myself, something I can watch grow up.
Birthdays require family. My sister and niece will arrive later with the usual assortment of gag gifts and good wishes. They’ll bring their homemade meatballs (I have vegetarian ones here for my plate) to slather in my red-sauce from last year’s garden, sauce I’ve had tucked in my freezer ever since (above). We’ll serve it up with sides of this year’s spinach and asparagus and a big homegrown salad and the first ‘Sugar Ann’ snap peas.
Things could be worse.