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Spring is in the air, Im in the garden
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Spring in Covington is always a gorgeous sight. The dogwoods, other flowering trees and azaleas all put on quite a show.

While I have been admiring Mother Nature’s show, I have been trying to work in my yard. I say trying because the weather has not been too cooperative — it has either been raining, cold or windy — and I can’t keep going for as long, or as determinedly, as I used to.

I want to get up all those pesky leaves that congregate in the corners of the yard during the winter. I have weeded and cut off dead limbs from the azaleas and other shrubs. It seems that I put out on the street a leaf basket full of limbs and leaves every other day and I still can’t keep up with what needs to be done. It’s like housework; it is never over.

I have inventoried what the cold winter has done to my yard. Four large pots of mums did not return. One of two Carolina Jasmine that climb a trellis has died. It was very difficult to unwind the dead jasmine from the trellis and cut it back. Now the trellis is only covered on one side, but I suppose that it will balance itself out with a good growing season this summer.

But most troubling is the fig bush, or tree — I’m not sure what to call it. It once reached about 10 or 12 feet high and was at least 12 feet in diameter. Its branches spread along the ground as well as in the air. Not anymore. The freezes and snow got it.

It is not totally dead. Several new sprouts are coming out of the ground and producing leaves. But all the old limbs are just hanging there like big black empty arms stretching out over the back yard, a reminder of the winter’s cold. 

It will have to be trimmed back to the ground. But that is a chore beyond my abilities. My husband says that he will get to it. And he will. But his idea of a timely getting to something and my idea of a timely getting to something do not coincide. I have a feeling I will be looking at those black, skeleton, dead limbs for a good while yet.

A fig bush was here when my husband and I first moved into this house over 40 years ago. Those green shoots are a promise that it will return. But I fear it will take a good long while before it reaches its former size. It is always startling to look out in the back yard and not see that tree.

I have pulled up my pansies. I hated to do it as they were so beautiful. But I know they won’t last long and I need to give the annuals I replaced them with a good head start so that they will flower during the summer.

I did not plant impatiens. I don’t know if you can even buy impatiens now. I replaced the impatiens-infected dirt and washed my pots so I have high hopes for the begonias I planted. But I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch.

On a different topic, I should not have written about my problems with vacuum cleaners so quickly. Last week I went to empty the canister of the bagless vacuum and it slipped out of my hands. It went flying across the room and broke open spilling dirt everywhere. I put it back together, swept up the dust and went on with my business until I noticed a bright yellow part on the floor near where the vacuum canister had broken apart. I picked it up and put it in a drawer.

When next I went to vacuum, there was no suction. I got out that yellow part and tried to put it back where it belonged. No such luck.

I got all the parts together and took it to the nice man who repairs vacuums. He took the machine apart and came to the conclusion that I had broken off a piece of plastic that attached to top of the canister to the bottom of the canister. 

I had to order a new canister. It came in yesterday.


Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be contacted at