'Tis the Growing Season
The day after Christmas is a beautiful day. It is a time to relax, play with new toys and reflect on the joy of having been with the ones we love. Since I took a step back from the hustle and bustle of Christmas, trying to meet everyone’s expectations, plus getting rid of many of my own unrealistic ones, the holidays are now a joy. I look forward to welcoming in the New Year. Somewhere I read the reason we began the tradition of displaying sparkling lights is to brighten up the darkest time of the year. After the holidays when I take down the lights, the world appears drab.
Not all is lost though, as my thoughts turn to gardening catalogs—seed catalogs, catalogs of plants, not to mention catalogs filled with garden tools and books about gardening. They are arriving every day via the mail and my world is brighter because of them. Perusing the selections of the diverse inventories is a perfect way for me to spend the lightless days of winter, planning for the upcoming seasons. I dream of the green days of spring and Kermit the frog saying ". . . green is the color of spring, and green can be cool and friendly like, and green can be big like an ocean, or important like a mountain, or tall like a tree." There are plenty of garden catalogs to support that sentiment along with me.
Last year, I planned for too much buying of the green and not enough organizing my garden space. Now there are too many plants living in pots, instead of planted in the garden. This year I resolve not taking on more than I can handle. Protecting plants during winter that are not yet grounded in the earth, is a consideration. At this moment, I can look out over too many leftover plants, patiently waiting for me to dig them in.
My dilemma is I want to grow almost everything. Unfortunately, I do not have enough property to grow everything I want, or the time to take care of them. Therefore, I want to cut back to a realistic amount of plants and seeds I order from catalogs. I am not sure how I am going to be able to accomplish this self-discipline. The images of plants seem to dance as if sugarplum fairies in my head, whispering, "Take me with you." I view the images of lovely flowers, or read descriptions about a vegetable’s delectable taste, and like Pavlov’s dog, I begin to salivate at the prospect of growing the plant in my own garden. Garden writers wax poetic in catalog copy, and I want to dance to their beat, following the leafy Pied Piper to the cash register.
This year it is going to be different, I keep telling myself. A New Year’s intent is being set. I am not going to succumb to every corm, birch or berry, no matter how much I am enticed by their charms. They can be the rarest plants on earth, if I don’t have room in the garden, or time to take care of them, like Dionne Warwick, my song is going to be, Walk on By.
Before the turn of the century, I wrote a 12-step program on my plant-addiction; I see it appear from time to time across the internet. Although I can’t remember the whole piece, it was written tongue in cheek, and more about enabling my addiction rather than helping me get over it. Perhaps I need to write a somber one and take it seriously.
Nah! I can handle it. I will look at one catalog per day and only in the afternoons. I will leave my credit cards and checkbook at home when I go to the local nurseries and buy only what is on my shopping list. I will set a garden budget and stick to it. When Ciscoe Morris is on the radio talking about the latest and greatest plant he thinks I should grow, while he croons, "Ooo la la!" I am sticking my fingers in my ears chanting, "La la la, I can't hear you." I will turn my head when I pass a nursery and head straight home. Once there, I will divide my astilbes, or take cuttings of my favorite hydrangea bush. I will sow the seeds that are taking up half a shelf in my refrigerator while keeping my catalog seed orders to a minimum.
I say this every year, but as always, I succumb to the newest, the rarest, or the prettiest plants on the planet. My garden welcomes all of them. Instead of cutting back, I keep on growing new plants, writing about them, and always I am ready to help enable others with their garden addiction.
Every year I fall in love with gardening, all over again. I’m hopelessly obsessed with it. The day after Christmas the love returns as I wade through the stacks of catalogs waiting to feed my compulsions. I imagine Charlie Brown in a similar dilemma would say to Lucy, “Am I hopeless, Doc?” Of course, Lucy would lean over across her booth and state in a matter-of-fact manner, “You’re a good gardener, Charlie Brown.” That’s good enough for me!
by Debbie Teashon