ESCANABA - The April showers have worked their magic.
Now, the race is on! Mother Nature verses Ma Wils to see who can grow and sustain the nicest, most colorful, and most fragrant flowers for the summer.
Many other folks will take up this annual challenge, too.
Karen Wils photos
Ma Wils garden flowers.
Mother Nature’s showy lady slipper flower
The battle lines are drawn. Mother Nature's territory includes all of the woodlands, bogs, and meadows.
Ma Wils (that is me) has jurisdiction over the flower beds, container gardens and the front yard.
Mother Nature treads softly on her lands. The spring run-off, erosion, wind, worms and decay, prepare her flower plots.
As for me, I have to till my earth with tools. I add fertilizer and compost. My little seedlings sprouted on my warm windowsill or were purchased from a greenhouse.
The wildflowers get no pampering from Mother Nature. Their seeds are scattered by the whims of the wind. They often germinate in the water of melting snow and their fertilizer is as organic as bunny rabbit pellets.
For months, I've studied the seed catalogs and gardening books just so I know what to plant where, what plants like sun and which ones will tolerated more shade.
Mom Nature is kind of a free and easy unstructured mom. She allows her seedlings to take root where ever they can thrive.
Like all good gardeners, I try to plan my ground so that I have something blooming from the early daffodils to the last asters of autumn. Mrs. Nature must have some divine help with her garden because she has something special for every week of the growing season.
From the trilliums and the marsh marigolds to the black-eyed Susan's and the daisies, the wild blossoms are like a colorful slide show.
Fragrance is important her gardeners too. The trailing arbutus, score one for Mother Nature. The lily-of-the valleys score one for Ma Wils.
In the next week or so, gardeners will go wild. After the long cold winter and the shy spring time weather, everybody is so anxious to dive into the dirt! Seeds need planting, planters need filling and the seedlings need to get out into the garden.
Aching backs, tired arms and sunburned noses are in stored for many gardeners over the next few days. Every year it seems like there is so much to be done and so little time to do it.
But, now Mother Nature on the other hand just takes her sweet, old time with all of her plants. And every year, no matter how hard I try, she always out does me. When I see her shy, pink lady slippers hiding in the shade or Natures carpets of blazing Indian paint brush, I know that God has had his hand in it.
Mother Nature wins! But, I will never pass up a chance to dig in the dirt and never be too busy to stop and smell the flowers.
Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong resident of north Escanaba. Her folksy columns are published weekly in Lifestyles.