Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, we are definitely into the thick of spring here in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor and Ol’ Robbo found all sorts of tasks demanding his attention today:

**The peonies are shooting up and already have buds forming all over, so I put out their support cages this morning. I should say semi-support cages, because all the plants are too big in diameter now to fit altogether within them. Regular friends of the decanter will recall that for some years Ol’ Robbo has made noise annually about digging the peonies up in the fall and separating out their roots for multiple replantings. I mean it this year. Really. Stop laughing.

**I took out the trimmer for the first time today. After I reconnected the popped fuel line and gave it a fresh lot of trimming line, it fired right up. (Winding new line onto the spinner head is an annoying yet somehow very satisfying task once it’s done.) This time I’m trying Gorilla Glue to keep the end of the fuel line firmly in its grommet on the gas tank. If that doesn’t work, maybe I’ll call Phil Swift.

**We put out the initial round of porch plants today, which include four ferns in hanging baskets and pots of basil, mint, and parsley. (More herbs and flowers will be forthcoming.) Also, remembering my remark that I’d like to take a whack at homemade salsa this summer, Mrs. R brought home a tomahto plant of a variety called “Early Girl”. (I know nothing of tomatoes nor whether this was a good or bad choice.) I put it at the top of the porch steps next to Mrs. R’s new early-Mother’s Day rose in the hope that the beasties will leave it alone there.

**I planted a new Henryi white clematis on the lattice next to the patio. I already have a pair of mature Durandii there which I also spent time tying up today. They represent something of a mistake because they’re not really climbers like the Henryi or a Jackmanni. Instead, they’re long, thin vines that don’t wrap around or cling to anything. I lace them up through the lattice, but I have to keep a sharp eye on them, especially when they’re blooming, because their flowers are so large that when the wind gets up and the vines start rubbing against the edges on the lattice, they often snap due to the weight. (Despite the trouble, they’re worth the effort when they’re in bloom.)

**It also looks like our neighbors are getting into the gardening spirit this year. In recent days they’ve put together a pair of four-foot-per-side raised beds in their backyard. I’ve no idea what they’re fixing to plant but I hope they’re taking into account the local critters. There’s a very active groundhog who lives in a burrow just behind my fence (much to Decanter Dog’s indignation).

Meanwhile, the air continues heavily-saturated with pollen. A while ago, I took Youngest’s car on its weekly exercise run up to the store. It lives under a large holly tree. Ol’ Robbo doesn’t usually pay attention to such things, but I found myself genuinely embarrassed at how filthy it was. (Her car is black, so everything shows up on it.)