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Early spring is an anxious time in the flower garden–particularly for a difficult urban garden like mine. The back yard faces north, which means the ground usually lies in shade or outright darkness. Despite a whole year’s worth of frenetic digging (to say nothing of all the fancy dirt I bought and carried up the hill from Lowes), the garden is still mostly pebbles and medical waste. I have excavated so many syringes, pill bottles, bones, and broken mirrors that I have almost conceived a comprehensive picture of the Clive Barker lifestyle of the previous renters.
Despite all of this, my spring bulbs did indeed survive their long wait in the frozen ground. My flowers peeped up weeks after those planted by lucky neighbors with loamy gardens (I drove my poor munificent otter to distraction by fretting about the bulbs before they made their tardy appearance). My crocuses were finally blooming this weekend. The muscari and tulips are getting ready for their big show. The hybrid tea-roses are back. Unlike the other flowers, these roses live on a fenced patch of concrete out front where it is sunny: they thrive despite the grabby multitudes passing by on the thoroughfare.
Sadly not everything has gone as I had hoped. There is no sign of the poison hellebores, the fiendish monkshoods, or the lovely toxic foxgloves. The black iris is also missing in action and presumed lost. Sigh. The underworld garden of dangerous plants which I laid out last year has failed—only the dark yew remains to commend me to the druids. In its place I have tiny white crocuses, happy lines of pink tulips, a pretty primrose, and a scattering of delicate little pansies.