There’s a conspiracy that no one seems to particularly talk about, at least not in a total way. Oh, one hears or reads bits and pieces, but no one actually comes right out and says that there’s a conspiracy against gardeners. Think about it. Gardeners spend the winter evenings planning orders from seed and bulb catalogs and trying to decide what to put where. In late winter, they’re out there cleaning up the winter debris, and making more plans. In early spring, there’s a frenzy of activity of planting and potting and trying to figure out where on earth to plant the seeds and bulbs ordered from those catalogs. But then, in this part of the world, after those wonderful three days of spring, when daffodils and tulips and viburnum and bridal wreath and quince and such have the beginning of their spring show, there will likely come a snow or an ice storm, what locals call an Easter snap. Now, just a bit of snow and ice won’t necessarily ruin these spring stalwarts, but what will, will be the unexpected hot spell that quickly follows. “Oh, well,” the gardener says to their self, “there’s always next year”, and anyway, there’s the next season coming up, planning the warm weather annuals and cosseting the warm weather perennials that are coming along. So gardeners look wistfully at the spring flower remains, and feed and trim and get ready for the next wave. And there’s certainly a wave, all right. Days of drought and unseasonal heat, and wind that sucks moisture out in front of our eyes. So we water and mulch and take it in stride. Then we get up early to enjoy the fresh, dewy flowers of the garden, to find that squirrels or moles or voles or foxes or some blasted critter have done damage. Or, we take a twilight stroll around the garden after the heat of the day, and get chased inside by mosquitoes. And the gardener mulls over the facts: in the morning, it’s damage control and do it quickly before it gets too hot, during the middle of the day, only “mad dogs and Englishmen” are out and about, and then in the evening, it’s ‘watch out and swat and run’. Now, with all of this, does the dedicated gardener get discouraged and frustrated? Of course. All that work. All those plans and dreams. So what does the dedicated gardener do? Why, they go inside and find a catalog, and think about next year, when things will be better. Those catalogs, those are the conspiracy!