Curing what seasonally ails me requires botanical intervention, so I check myself into the homeopathic garden clinic and nod to the head nurse who today resembles a frumpy Foster’s holly.
A light wind teases at my hair as I lean over to inspect Dutch iris foliage peeking through the semi-moist soil. All week the temperatures flirted like a marauding March or antagonistic April, making my soul yearn for sweet-lipped hyacinths and shimmering-gold forsythia. This tiny shred of iris greenery reaching out for acknowledgement soothes my impatience. Spring is an elusive fritillary, slightly flittering just out of grasp each New Year. The head nurse motions for me to come closer then barks orders for me to follow.
“Double check the moisture level in those raised planters,” she says, pointing with her red-berried chin. She’s busy checking our supplies of pesticides and posting labels for proper mixture rates for quick reference. “Did you treat the young pines for tip borers in November?” she asks. Her waxy green face puckers in a near frown.
Casting a quick glance downward toward my feet, I stammer out the truth. “I meant to, but I got busy.” Her stare chills me even with the sun’s rays tiptoeing upon my slumping shoulders.
“You have to do it before March. You know that!” she huffs. “I bet you forgot about controlling overwintering insects as well!” she accuses me as she pauses from inspecting gardening tools. She’s been sharpening, painting and repairing the mowers, edgers and sprayers.
“No, I remembered.” I answer her, shaking my head at her question. “I remembered to spray dormant neem oil on the deciduous trees and shrubs,” I say tilting my head back and crossing my arms over my chest. Before she can ask anything else I stop her with a raised hand that I push toward her - palm first with a warning. “Don’t insult me!”
Then I lower my hand to my hip sharply, my eyes narrow with agitation. “You know good and well I didn’t put any dormant oil on the evergreen trees or shrubs because it would likely kill them.”
She dismisses me with a smirk, leaving me to my duties. Inspecting my lawn irrigation system, I replace worn or broken parts. Lastly, I spray glyphosate, (Roundup, Rodeo or Pondmaster) plus a post-emergent broadleaf herbicide on the winter weeds coming up in the Bermuda. Having regained my mental well-being by performing gardening tasks, I take a last look around my January garden. Exiting the botanical treatment facility I curtsey to Holly, who discharges me with a prickly farewell.