Saturday, February 26, 2011

"It's a good thing!"

This morning at first light the thermometer registered an ungenerous 4 degrees.  This afternoon the snowflakes are falling without choreography from even a murmur of a breeze and I have a strong impression of being inside of a very large snow globe. The photo below, taken from the living room west window, is of the koi pond just outside of the fenced front yard. It's been snowing like this since mid morning.

Unlike last weekend's wet ice and brisk winds, which interrupted our power and led to the lighting of countless candles throughout the house (lovely!) this snow is soft and light and will be easy to remove, but later.  For now it's cozy being inside with Anne and Dovey and the laundry tumbling dry and brownies filling the farm house with a sweet aroma.
After visiting Anne's Ohio garden on her blog this week, and realizing that in 2 days time we turn the calendar to March, my thoughts have drifted to my own city garden. I've been studying which of my lovelies will be hardy enough for this zone 4 climate and thinking where they can find room to settle in on the ridge. I try very hard not to be impatient. We will celebrate 35 years in our city house this August and much, much about the pocket sized garden there has changed under our stewardship. Except for the location of the house and fencing, every other bit of the 50 X 100 foot property bears witness to my evolution as a gardener.
My parents always grew vegetables, a few fruit trees and flowers. I was "trained" to identify and clear away weeds by the time I was 7. My father was the world's biggest tomato fan and the first thing he said to me when I met him in the ambulance the day of his heart attack was "I know I can count on you to water the tomatoes." So you could say I've had dirt under my nails and green stains on my fingers  as long as I can remember.
No matter how bad you feel, the garden brings balm and promise. On a very snowy day near the end of February, I can use some of this balm.

I planted this crab apple tree when Phillip was about 10. It was a twig when it went in the ground. I knew nothing about crab apple varieties, only that I wanted a pretty flowering tree in our front yard. Since then I've learned about scab resistant varieties, but this one unfortunately needs biweekly spraying from early May til mid July. Since we have years invested in this tree it would be wasteful to replace it just because it's inconvenient to keep healthy. I have Jerome to thank for tackling that job. While trimming the very last bit of this tree last July 10, the ladder shifted beneath him and his right ankle was broken and dislocated in two places, requiring surgery and weeks of recovery and rehab.

Because the rabbit population has gotten out of control, and because every one of those long-eared, nose twitching monsters has spread the word, my garden is THE place to hang out. Most of my edibles have been grown in pots for years to disourage nibblers of the cottontail type. Unfortunately, raised pots won't hold all the produce we hope to grow here.


Many of the plants in the city garden have been nurtured there for years. Will they want to be moved? Shouldn't many of them stay behind for whoever next comes to love this little city garden? Many are from dear friends, some no longer living and so that much more dear to me. What of them?

The white peony below is from root stock that was originally in my grandmother's garden. It went from hers to my Uncle Henry's, to my mom's and then to mine. It is one old friend that will surely have to be brought along to the farm.

I also love to tuck flowers into baskets and pots wherever there is a little bit of room. And nearly all of my houseplants  take vacations out in the garden.

Well for this snowy day it's been lovely to look back. What surprises are in store for us here? Will we find  spring bulbs, early summer perennials? Wild things in the meadow and along the roadside? How will our stewardship contribute to the landscape for us and our new community to enjoy? What lessons will we learn farming here? And what garden centers here have we yet to discover and explore! Wahoo, what fun is ahead. 
Guess I've forgotten the snow globe for a while. And as Martha often says,  "It's a good thing."


  1. Sharon, your city garden is a feast for the eyes!!! I can't wait to see how you get on cultivating your new land. You definitely have the midas touch when it comes to growing things. I wish I could transport you to my garden so you could work your magic on it!!!

  2. What a wealth of glorious blooms! One can feel the love in your words as you write about your gardens, Sharon. The association of plants with people makes it all the more difficult to leave them behind. I'm imagining your new gardens will be "splendiferous!!"