It’s July. We’ve passed through what local naturalist Mary Holland calls the “awakenings” of March, the “transformations” of April, the “intensifying vitality” of May, into the “possibilities” of June. Through mating calls, courtship rituals, nesting, hatching, fledging, flushing.
July, she says, is “maturation.” Is it any wonder gardens go wild now? How boring comparing to “stirrings” and “explosions.” Now is maintenance. Now is continuing. In July, you commit to your garden. You say, I am not going anywhere. I am here. I’ll always be here. And you hoe.
You hoe and you find the cucumbers after two weeks of rain. You liberate the onions. You groom the hot peppers. You tidy the squash. You pull radishes gone punky.
Then you give up the thyme and the basil that never caught on. Turn away from the marigolds planted too late. Sacrifice lavender and nasturtiums. Window boxes will do. And the perennials and shrubs and wildflowers that bloom whenever they want to on the front lawn.
Then you notice that the rose you planted this year has its first bud. You slash the wild hollyhocks horning in so this little rose can breathe. So you can see its very redness. Its tiny fist of color. Its packed heat. You need this little rose. It’s July. You need hope.