by Janet Colter
Was it only a month ago that we were complaining about too much rain? Well, our complaints must have been effective because suddenly we looked out and saw that spring had really come to stay and there followed about 10 days of sunshine and a comfortable temperature for gardening. However, there was no time to relax because spring deserted us after a brief stay and we had to call it “summer” as we got out the clothes we’d barely finished putting away.
Never mind – summer at Wake Robin is more than welcome. Forgotten are all the activities that kept us out of the rain and happily busy indoors for those long wet months past. Even the rumble of distant thunder and the heat of the sun don’t bother us as we explore our woodland trails for wild flowers, ride bikes around the winding campus roads, and walk the dogs early in the morning and late afternoon when the breezes are cooler. And of course an occasional ice cream social on the back deck overlooking the beautiful Welsh Memorial Garden is an irresistible attraction. No need to worry about calories at such times because the tennis clinic is in full swing and our Aquatic Center as well as the Shelburne Beach is ready to provide places for invigorating water exercise. Even croquet, horseshoes, bocce, and putting on the green help compensate in part for a bit of overindulgence on the deck. Some find the machines in Wake Robin’s exercise room or non-stop walking around the University Mall the best places for chasing calories if the weather is threatening.
Gardening is one of Wake Robin’s most popular summer activities, whether it be in a community garden plot located near the tennis courts, in an apartment patio, window or balcony box, or lending a hand to caring for some of the lovely landscape plantings throughout the campus. Many who don’t actually fulfill their passion for digging, weeding and grooming, contribute to the well-being of Wake Robin’s gardens by collecting their organic kitchen scraps for deposit in the community composting machine. The resulting rich fertilizer produced is then used to enrich our garden soil. It’s a win-win situation with less trash and thriving flowers and vegetables.
It’s interesting to note that many of the plants important in our lives today were known, used, and admired four centuries ago. William Shakespeare in his plays and poetry wrote of the medicinal power of herbs, the “minty” aroma of lavender, the sweetness of roses and a variety of other gifts our plants bestow on us. Every spring as we drive, walk, or bike past the banks of daffodils on Wake Robin Drive, Shakespeare’s words from The Winter’s Tale come to mind:
“When daffodils begin to peer,
With heigh! the doxy, over the dale,
Why, then comes in the sweet o’ the year.”