Missing the Boat

The problem with being a teacher and a gardener is that summer is your only opportunity to take vacations.  Thus, Rob and I tend to have summers where we're away more than home; we cram in the fun stuff for three frantic months.  Long weekends at his parents' beach house, trips to see family and friends, and of course travel study programs, a.k.a. A Sneaky Way to Get Paid for Traveling.

One of the tenants at my friend Julie's community garden recently poked fun at people like me:
They come out here in April, and they work so hard getting everything in the ground, and then come July, they go to Cape May for a couple of weeks. They come back and are like, 'Oh NO, where did all these weeds come from?!'

As I was reading that, I was thinking, yep, that's me.  We missed the radishes because of final exams and graduations -- just forgot they were there, growing tougher and more fibrous with every day.  As we left for Florida I thought, "I wonder if I should pick the peas before we go?  Naaaah."  When we got back I discovered they were good for nothing but next year's seed.  And so on. This is to say nothing of the weeds that accumulate in our absence; I often resent our neighbors and housesitter because they get to enjoy the fruits of our labor, in the form of nice, neat beds.  By the time we get back, they're weedy and overgrown again.

Most heartbreaking to me, however, is our hydrangea bush.  We bought it four years ago, just after it had bloomed; I fell in love with the blue lacecap flowers and variegated leaves.    Every spring, we'd get excited as the buds swelled on the dead-looking branches, but then we'd get a late freeze and no blooms, though the bush continued to grow.

We were beginning to give up hope, but that huge snowstorm seems to have called everything into action.  This year, it's huge and laden with blooms.  They were just starting to bloom when we left:

Today, I'm willing to bet they're gorgeous.  I'm also willing to bet they'll be well past their peak by the time we return in a few days.  Sigh.  I hope the people walking their dogs by our driveway right now will stop to admire them.