Post by Redbrick
January 2012. A new year, new opportunities, new challenges; and my first impression is: “Wow, it’s cold!” Times like these make me think that maybe the ancients were on to something, celebrating the New Year on April First. When things are warm. And alive. And growing. Who wants to start a new year with three miserable black months of frustrating cold, anyway? Maybe we’re the “January Fools” in this deal!
Even so, gardeners are nothing if not optimists. We have to be, squirreling away tiny little seeds in the hopes of planting a whole new garden next year. They sure don’t look like much, do they? Certainly not like a huge bumper crop of food and flowers. They are, of course, and we know it, but it still takes a leap of faith to trust in them.
Those seeds also help us keep our sanity in the next few months, the months that I moaned about up in the first paragraph. Dreaming of future gardens while leafing through seed catalogs goes a long way towards banishing winter blues. My best garden years were planted in my imagination during Black January, and I’m sure yours were, too. Remember? The sweet corn reached halfway to the moon; each stalk bearing a half a dozen ears (at least!) every time you looked. The lettuce grew sweet and succulent, never bolting or bitter. There were tomatoes the size of beach balls, peppers in every color of the rainbow, and exotic new veggies you just read about in the catalog, that the kiddies were sure to love to eat! (I DID say this was all in our imagination…) And flowers! Sunflowers that lit up the sky for late evening dinner parties in the yard, moonflowers that rival their namesake, dahlias to make Dali weep…
Laying it on a bit thick? Maybe, but you know where I’m coming from. Don’t you? No? Then why is your seed order total up to three digits at least. For just the first order. With five more catalogs begging for your attention. Yeah, I thought so.
Too bad catalogs don’t help much with curing cabin fever. For that, you need to step up the tempo a bit. Which is why I found myself dashing out to the back yard in what felt like sub-zero weather, in only shirt sleeves. Short shirt sleeves. No, I hadn’t lost it. Well, maybe I had, but never mind that. I did have a good reason for it, seriously: cuttings.
Okay, here’s the whole story. I was in the basement, doing a load of laundry when it occurred to me that now, RIGHT NOW, was the perfect time to start some gooseberry cuttings for next year. Soooo, rather than bother to go all the way upstairs for a hat and coat, I’d just zip out to the patch and snip a few cuttings. After all, my Mad Scientist’s Room, um, nursery area, is in the basement. Why not? It’s something to mess around with, and January’s MUCH too early for seed starting up here in Somewhere-North-of-the-Arctic-Circle, Pennsylvania.
Man, was it ever cold! Come on, Spring!