From having it on the TV each night, or playing it in the backyard or trekking from little league field to little league field with the kids, April through September is all things baseball. We friggin love it.
While I was pitching to my son in the backyard this weekend, I was slyly mapping out a plan to move some shrubs to a new location. As soon as he needed a break, I grabbed my shovel, a pair of gloves and without hesitation, moved two arborvitaes to their new home. Truthfully, this was only step 1 and 2 of a 15 step plan, but it was still progress.
As I dropped the shovel and picked the glove back up, it hit me. Gardening and baseball are very similar. I'm a deep thinker like that. Seriously, it's true and I'm here today to prove it to you.
Shall we begin?
When baseball spring training commences in the middle of February each year, every team has an incredibly positive outlook on the upcoming season. Each team has a record of 0-0 and anything can happen:
I love all that positivity near the end of winter. Who knows, maybe this is the year the Mets surprise the world and win their division? ... OK, usually by July reality sets in and we realize it is another lost year:
But we're building towards a better season next year, right?
Late winter/early spring is also a time when a gardener imagines all things will work out as planned. Those plants we stuck in the ground last fall will survive the winter and thrive come spring. That newly designed bed is the perfect mix of evergreens, deciduous shrubs and flowering perennials, right?
The new foliage that emerges in March/April always looks so clean and healthy:
And we can't wait for the blooms to show up in the upcoming months:
And then the reality of dealing with weather conditions, pests or having enough time to water hits and you end up with this:
Or certain plants that continually tease us, show their true colors once again:
Maybe next year.
Both write a new story each and every day
A lot of people complain that the baseball season is too long and each game doesn't have the drama of say a regular season NFL game (162 games vs 16 games). That may be true to an extent, but that is exactly why I love baseball. There is always another game the next day. A new story is waiting to unfold and we can read about in the local paper each morning:
Hell, baseball is part of our birthday parties:
And we'll go to watch our son play at night:
Only to come home and flip the TV on immediately after we set foot in the house.
The slow development and growth of a garden feels the same way to me. As I walk the kids out to the bus each morning, I make sure to observe any overnight changes with the plants:
And it is a long season that never fails to provide you with an interesting development:
The "Dog Days" of summer
A baseball season starts to drag during the peak of summer in August and the conditions can be brutal. It requires some serious stamina and focus:
Plants go through the exact same thing and struggle mightily without our influence:
A garden truly peaks in late summer/early fall
This one may not apply for some of you, but too bad.
As the baseball season winds down, each game feels more important than the next and the emotions can run way high:
I find that a garden has its most depth and character as the fall approaches. You feel each plant has reached a crescendo (did I really just use that word?) before it starts its inevitable decline:
I wish I could extend late summer in the garden for months just like I wish those late season baseball games (assuming the Mets are still in it) would never end.
Off season planning
And then just like that, the season is done and it is time to start thinking about next year.
I like to think of myself as the "general manager" in charge of the development of my yard and will call in the other executives at the conclusion of the season to discuss our off season plans:
With enough planning and research, we'll get it right next year. Maybe we'll trade that "under performing" geranium for a few coneflowers. Maybe we can scour the waiver wire for some irises that other teams no longer wanted.
So what do you think? Am I on to something here? Am I nuts?
Be on the lookout for a future post when I try to compare gardening to football ... or maybe soccer.