Hello fellow Earthlings, and seasons greetings to all of you. As the days get shorter and our gardening time is either eliminated because of snow or cold or because we’re just too busy making sure that our other family members have a happy holiday season, let’s take some time to think about the garden. So let’s take a stroll out to the kitchen drawer where all of those catalogs we never read during the growing season are stored.
This time of year we often find ourselves occupied with thoughts of Turkeys, Menorahs, Christmas trees, and twinkling lights. I find that when I have a moment to myself during this time it is always good to have a plant, tool or seed catalog handy to remind me of warmer weather and the peace of the garden. Reading these catalogs also gives me ample opportunity to put my wish list together so Santa knows exactly what I could use in the following spring. Just imagining hoeing weeds with that new one that Santa got for me from A.M. Leonard or pruning fruit trees with my new Felco pruners that were in my stocking from Smith Hawken makes me wonder why everyone doesn’t garden. Subtle hints are easy with catalogs. Just lay the open book around with a big red circle drawn around the items you think “Santa” should know about.
The Jackson and Perkins rose catalog is another one of my personal favorites. I love to visualize new additions to the garden, and the same strategy works on “Mr. Claus” or any of his elves that may see the open catalog. I love this time of year! Isn’t it great when you find out that luxury item you had been wishing for just shows up at the doorstep or under the tree?
While the weather or lack of time prevents us from enjoying our passion it is a comfort that these colorful and descriptive catalogs are available to keep us in touch with the amazing bounty of the garden. Bundling up and visiting the garden to see how things are sleeping is also a very good project if time allows in the winter. I like to go out and imagine the bulbs popping through the mulch layer with the first promise of early spring color or think about the blaze of color from blooming fruit trees. I often find that this is the time of year when I get a lot of gardening project not directly involved with plants done. Sharpening tools, getting the mower tuned up and getting the blades sharpened, as well as sorting out seeds and seed starting stuff are all fun projects. These are also the chores that we never seem to get to during warm weather while the garden beckons us to come and play.
Winter is a time of year when we can most appreciate our efforts of the previous growing season. Nothing tastes better than a holiday meal seasoned with dried herbs from our gardens or the frozen marinara sauce we made from our homegrown tomatoes. Gardens can be the incredible conversation when a guest asks about the amazing flavor of that pasta sauce. It is a lovely thing to reminisce about the garden or to romanticize about how big the tomato plants were that produced the sauce. These conversations evoke thoughts of warm weather, quiet days in the sun, and lemonade no matter how chilly, rainy, or frosty it is outside. I just love hearing the oohs and ahhs of people envisioning a garden full of healthy, nutritious food and colorful flowers when it’s bloody freezing outside. Oh did I forget to mention I love this time of year? Next time we will be discussing some helpful tips on getting your garden tools ready for next season. I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanza, and an amazing real millennium celebration. Be safe, be happy and I’ll see you in the Garden in the twenty-first century!
Got Questions? Email the Doc at Curly@mill.net Don Trotter’s natural gardening columns appear nationally in environmentally sensitive publications. For lots of helpful gardening tips check
out Don’s books Natural Gardening A-Z and The Complete Natural Gardener at bookstores near you and at all on line booksellers. Both from Hay House Publishing www.hayhouse.com