Darlusz Zabagaiski, the Polish frog who lives with me, outside to watch as I worked outdoors on a glorious October day, the chilliest so far this fall.
Darlusz checks my progress filling in an area behind my stone wall. The area will eventually be a flower garden.
“You dig so much. You go to China? You tink gold dare in dat dirt,”
“No, I’m thinking about spring,”
“You sick da cold already. Winter long way off. You not survive if you tink like that,” Darlusz said.
“No, I’ll survive the cold alright. If I want to keep making the yard more beautiful, I’ve got to think about spring now. That means transplanting, getting areas ready for spring planting, and planning what I’m going to do come April and May,” I said.
Darlusz wishes Rhoda, the long-suffering rhododendron, luck growing in her new home not far from the shed.
“So what you do now,?” he asked, as I started digging behind the stone wall, which I’m almost done building.
“Digging up the rhododendron,” I said.
It is a struggling ragged, barely living rhododendron, It’s been there, near death, at least since I bought the house in November, 2007.
But the thing keeps hanging on. It’s a plucky little thing I’ve named Rhoda, for obvious reasons, and because it’s a tough, tenacious thing, like Rhoda Morgenstern on the old ’70 sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
Darlusz sits among some peony plants, thinking about where I should transplant them to.
Anyway, I dug it out today because even if it lives, it just won’t do where it was. I tranplanted it in a barren area near the shed. As I planted Rhoda, I fed her a little plant food and compost.
She’s bruised, battered and vulnerable to deer. So her future is in doubt.
“I think Rhoda survive. Not pretty at first, but she be nice some day. I know,” Darlusz said.
There’s some peonies in an overgrown area up above the house. “Day nize, doze peonies. Day just need da sun in da summer,” Darlusz said.
“True, they can’t stay there, but I haven’t figured out where to transplant them. That’s a consideration for the winter,” I said.
Speaking of winter, Jeff bought me three excellent flower gardening books. My eventual goal is to have lots of flowers, with plants staged so there’s plenty fo blooms in the yard from April until October.
Darlusz checks out the books Jeff bought. All three publications will be instrumental in helping me plan my gardens.
“You read doze books in da winter, right,?” Darlusz asked.
“Yep, they’ll help me plan my next moves,” I replied.
By March 1, all three books will likely bristle with dozens of yellow Post-It notes sticking out of interesting pages.
It will take years before my yard looks the way I want it to. But the only way to progress toward a beautiful property is think spring in October, even if a frost and freeze is forecast for tonight.
“You have nize ogrod some day,” Darlusz said, using the Polish word for “garden.”
“I know, it will just take time. Every year will get better,” I said.
To that end, my sister Lynn and I jointly ordered LOTS of daffodil bulbs and today she announced they arrived in the mail. I’ll need to arrange to go to her house and pick them up, and make sure they’ll all planted this month. The more daffodils, the better, in my view.
They’ll bloom nicely in April, which seems so long into the future. That will be part of my reward for planting now, and planning over a long, cold winter.
“I dream tonight I catch da bugs in da garden az I hide in da beautiful kwiaty,” Darlusz said.
“Kwaity” is Polish for flowers, for those who are curious.