The garlic is up and growing strong, a surety of the coming season. I was worried the harsh winter and wet spring would hinder it somehow, but I can see my fears were foolish. Soon enough, the stalks will send out long curlicued stems, called scapes, which make good pesto, among other things, and is one of the first delicacies of summer.
The rhubarb is up, too. This makes me especially happy. I grew this rhubarb from seed Shel bought me when we were in Alaska on vacation with my family a few years ago.
There’s a story behind the seeds: A farmer just outside Skagway, name of Henry Clark, grew acres of the stuff. In the long Alaskan summers, his rhubarb grew to folkloric size — leaves broad as a man’s arm span with stalks thick as his wrist. Henry Clark came to die, as all men do, and the townspeople, fearing for the future of this renowned rhubarb, came with their spades and wheelbarrows, and each took home a clump of the plant. To this day, when you walk the side streets of Skagway, you see rhubarb patches descended from Henry Clark’s.
I started a batch of seedlings a couple of years ago and have been looking for a home for them ever since. I am glad I have found one for them now.
And the daffodils have been up for some time now. These are my favorite spring flower. I especially like how they abide in the landscape. I know of a clearing in some woods south of here where they thickly cover the ground, the last persistence of someone’s will, flourishing long after the house and barn have slid back into the earth.