Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Spring Unfolding is Happiness

happy cows and calves in an open field

Hello fellow readers; I often start chats with you by dictating thoughts on a morning walk with Jolee. And today, I am embracing spring unfolding, which we enjoy from year to year. The patterns in nature are familiar, bringing happiness and responsibility.

A pussy willow in bloom next to a white barn

Patterns of Spring Unfolding is Happiness
maroon tinged leaves of a tree peony unfurling.

Tree Peony leaves unfurling.

We marvel at how trees wake up at different times but always in sequence. Tiny leaves are emerging from the trees— often miniatures of what they will come to be. Sometimes they look alien until they grow, like the leaves on the tree peony that start like a reddish knotty hand then unfurl to their glorious soft green, reminding me of a toy that inverts from a robot to a plush puppy or kitten.

Other trees and shrubs sprout puffs of pollen like the beloved pussy willows. Or, they grow puffs that turn into flowers. Some trees and shrubs have leaves and blooms emerging at the same time in early spring.

We walk past the pond on Cobblewood, where the snapping turtle was crossing the road — saved by a kind passerby last Fall. Now frogs and toads are singing their mating songs—a few different species all getting along; how I love the chorus.

an open field with happy cows and calves lounging in green grass. Nurture them as Mother Nature intends.

I glance to the left, where farmers raise cattle for beef, and see mothers nurturing young calves in the field. While it’s sad to consider their fate, they are cared for with dignity, with expansive fields to meander, and are nourished by food from the land. Contrary to other farms where cows live in fields of mud and feces with not much room to roam.

While raising livestock or poultry, or vegetables for that matter, nurturing them as Mother Nature intends is being kind to them and our dear Earth. The same is true in our yards and gardens or caring for pets.

By tampering with nature, the world is disrupted.

When we tamper with nature, the world is disrupted, which brings up a point from last week’s chat about No Mow May. If we use chemicals in our lawns, the concept of helping early pollinators does not work.

You can tell which properties are supercharged with unnatural chemicals because they need mowing far earlier. As a result, the lawn’s root structure is often shallow as it grows to rely on chemical boosts, adding another dilemma – the yard will not be as drought tolerant as those not super-juiced, creating a dependency on irrigation.

So for the pollinators and the planet and the safety of you and your furry family, please reconsider box stores’ multi-step programs and accept your lawn’s “imperfections” (and I put that in quotes as there is no such thing as perfect other than kindness and love).

The dilemma of managing invasive plants and insects. 
a no-mow May lawn with purple and white native violets and a dandelion.

My Happy No-Mow May Lawn

As we make our way home, there are emerging weeds like invasive mugwort and mustard weed. Amongst them sunny dandelions, which I know are not technically native here, bringing the question of what constitutes a native plant. At some point, after years and years, do they change the category to become native when they once were not?

We’ve often chatted about non-native species arriving here unintentionally (or with intent as biological controls) and then running amok. Invasives become pests that are tough to manage. Many remedies cause other things to become unbalanced. It’s a dilemma! Maybe at some point, they will integrate into our ecosystem. At least, I’d like to think so.

a black cherry tree with white flowers with the sun gleaming through.

Native Black Cherry

We are part of the whole. 

Walk amongst nature, witnessing its rhythm and how our world is tied together. Notice how the trees rely on the air in the sky and the rains for water as we do.

As we prepare our gardens for the new season of growth, consider it part of the whole, as are you, the caregiver of the plot. Our indigenous people celebrated the Earth and expressed gratitude for each harvest, giving a portion back to the Earth and wildlife. They thanked the earth and mother nature for the subsidence before each meal and did the same before harvesting an animal or fish for food.

And happiness is part of the oneness. 

See yourself in all that you encounter— people, plants, even those we call pests. The more you do, the more you live in a spirit of cooperation rather than competition. We are all one. And happiness is part of the oneness you’re here to enjoy.

Garden Dilemmas? and your favorite Podcast App.

There’s more to the story in the Garden Dilemmas Podcast:

Related stories you’ll enjoy:

Featuring the Snapping Turtle mentioned above: Winter Season of Growth

Beneficial Ladybugs versus Asian Lady Beetle

A fabulous book that relates to this story is Braiding Sweetgrass By Robin Wall Kimmerer

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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