5 Yesterday was a day of good conversation and good food, including this Key Lime Pie.

There was also more gardening.

There are three seasons of gardening. If you agreed with that right off, you are probably thinking of planting, care of the plants, and harvest. Those are the objective three seasons of gardening.

The subjective three seasons of gardening are not the same.

First, there is yearning. That is the season of reading seed catalogs and gardening books, gazing longingly at plants in the garden center, and wishing it were time to plant.

You can get your soil ready at that time, but you must resist the temptation to plant things. It is during this time that I think of all sorts of new and special plants that I could add to my shade garden. I think that Good King Henry and brussels sprouts would go well in my vegetable garden.  If Formerprincess had suggested bleeding hearts to5 me at that stage, I would have been off like a shot looking for some.

However, we are now in the stage of garden love. This is more realistic than the stage of garden longing. The garden can be planted now, and therefore it becomes obvious that there is a limit to the number of plants that will fit.  In the pictured vegetable garden, the mop-like bushes are lavender and thyme and lemon balm and mint at the feet of the roses, and they form a natural border. I snuck in some lemon verbena and a new variety of lavender this season, but those baby vegetables need their space.

But now we cannot keep our hands off the garden.

When I got to church and found that the kids in my Sunday School class were practicing for Youth Sunday during the Sunday School hour, I dashed home to put in some zucchini and lemon verbena. When the guests left, I went and pulled some weeds and watered. As soon as the sun comes up, I will be tucking a few beans into the extreme edge of the vegetable garden and planting a couple of pots.

5This is a good time in the garden. It is, admittedly, a time when I am usually speckled with dirt and often have some little rash or reaction to some plant I have incautiously touched, but it is a time when we can spend many hours inhaling the lush scents of the gardens and pottering happily among the plants.

It is followed all too soon by the season of trying to keep up. The mint marches across the bed. The lavender scents every room with an open window. The zucchini gets away from us and we find enormous boat-like specimens where we thought there was nothing at all. Not to mention zucchini bread in the freezer.

 The weeds fill in all the empty spaces, the roses lose their petals before we have a chance to pick them, the peppers go from green to red to purple while I try to find time to can them, and the woodland glade becomes a little jungle.

Right now, though, the gardens are freshly planted and full of promise.  I had better go plant those beans.