** (A glass of wine with That Guy Who Always Thinks It’s Beginning)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Whelp, Ol’ Robbo was able to put in a couple hours this morning doing his first bit of gardening of the season, hogging back the butterfly bush and generally clearing out his garden of last year’s detritus. How nice it was to be back outdoors again!

It’s going to be another strictly maintenance-only year, at least for the garden itself. As ambitious as I am to really spiff my plot up, I’m still determined not to start until I have the time and money to do it right. So once again, I’ll let said butterfly bush, along with the foxglove, joe-pye and prairie cup-flower run semi-riot. (And no doubt at the height of summah, when it is absolutely full of butterflies, ask myself again why I would do it any other way.) On the other hand, I was seized with the idea while working that I really ought to see about expanding the collections of annuals on the porch and patio.

In the meantime, now that I have the chance to really examine things, it’s evident that early signs of spring are all around. The daffodils have broken ground and are about four inches up; my peonies are just starting to show red tips above ground; and the roses are starting to show signs of activity. (I’ll prolly cut them back in the next week or two.) I suppose we didn’t have all that severe a winter, because the boxwoods I have in urns on the patio came through just fine as did my sole surviving confederate jasmine. (In fact, it seems to have grown some, if that’s possible. Heck, maybe it’ll even flower this year!)

Anyhoo, as I say, it was most pleasant to be out and about again, getting wet and muddy and letting my mind drift over how the season is going to pan out and what I need to do when. Alas, though, for all my pleasant anticipation, I suddenly received a cold, shocking reminder: This is the year of the Brood X cicada invasion. And Port Swiller Manor is right in the crosshairs. Fun, fun, fun.

(But at least it’ll give me something to gripe-post about when the time comes, so I got that going for me.)