Spring is Coming

“In spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”  —  Margaret Atwood

Yesterday was a wonderful day. I am “babysitting” this weekend. I really don’t have to do much to watch these kids because they are getting too old for much tending, and I’m reminded that in a few short years they will be grown and off to college. But this weekend we spent time together, and they help me get one of my gardens ready for planting before the March winds drove us back inside where it was warmer.

What I love about gardening is that I feel a sense of satisfaction. I feel like I have accomplished something. I’d like to have a much bigger garden space, and this year I’m going to add two more beds – and hopefully some flower beds around the perimeter of my yard. I have a huge space. I could grow lots and lots of things. And I dream of that. I dream mostly about all the time I’ll have after I retire.

I have always thought that I’ll have a backyard that is just bursting with gardens and all the wonderful things that gardens bring: flowers, vegetables and herbs. The garden we planted today will be a lettuce, pepper, and tomato garden. I have a vision of a wonderfully big round herb garden in the middle of the yard. I have visions of flowers all around the perimeter of the yard. I’m adding to my single little garden this year, and slowly but surely I’ll have a grand “jardin potager”.

I think the most important part of gardening is patience. It is not instant. But by working at it year after year, before long a wonderful space emerges. So many things about gardens take a little time, like getting a wonderful compost pile going and learning how to make organic additions for the garden, like worm tea.

Here are some of my favorite people/authors who are writing and talking about permaculture, urban gardening, and front yard gardening. Morag Gamble gardens in Australia, which is a pretty different climate than what I have here in Ohio, but she really has lots and lots of good ideas about gardening and making composts. The link takes you to one of her YouTube videos. Here is her blog, also fabulous! Charles Dowding is a wonderful person who writes about no dig gardening. He also lives in a very different climate from my own, but I really believe we can learn a lot about gardening by listening to what other gardeners are doing in terms of planting and mulching, etc., even if the gardener isn’t living right in our area. My favorite book that I’m reading right now is The Essential Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter and Willow Rosenthal. This is truly an inspiring account of two young women who are carving out a permaculture in the heart of Oakland, CA. I can’t recommend this book enough. Last but certainly not least are the grandparents of creating a life centered around growing and living a more natural life, Scott and Helen Nearing. If you don’t know them, here is a short film about their lives. You can read more here.

Well, that’s about all for today. The kids are waking up and it’s time to go back to being “babysitting” grandma! Have a wonderful weekend and go ahead, make a little start on a garden today. It will be warm any day now.

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Spring!

“No winter lasts forever. No spring skips its turn.” Hal Borland

Spring is one of my favorite times of year. On my way to work yesterday, I noticed a lawn that had bursted into bloom – crocuses I’m sure – all blue and green. There was a lone crocus in my middle son’s garden, a little limp from the cold night before, but beautiful to see. There were daffodils in a neighbor’s garden.

All these spring flowers and the promise of newness. I am planning my garden and reading books about the great outdoors.

Some of my favorite books about the outdoors: A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson; We Took to the Woods, Louise Dickinson Rich; Woodswoman, Anne LaBastille; The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben.

I’m planning my gardens too. I’ve lived in the Little Yellow House exactly a year now, and after a year of maintenance and getting to know the property, I’m ready to lay more gardens this spring. I had great success with a little herb garden last year, so that will expand. A bed for wild flowers, a bed for cutting flowers, a bed for vegetables, some beds around the house and garage. Lights and furniture and doors to paint. Lawn to mow.

One of my favorite gardeners is the Empress of Dirt. I love the picture of her yard on the front of her blog. It is my goal. She is an inspiration to me as I try to shape my empty yard into a lush, productive garden.

Think spring thoughts!

 

Winter Has Arrived

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Wicker Chair and Herb Garden in Snow

I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep darlings, till the summer comes again”.                                              Lewis Carroll

Snow blanketed my little corner of Ohio this past week. It was so pretty. My wicker chair next to my herb garden filled up quickly with snow. I sent the picture to my youngest son who lives in California, where the temperatures were in the 60s. He said “I miss weather.” It always makes me smile to hear him say that. When he visited Ohio the first time last year with his new girlfriend, they were both excited when a thunderstorm rolled through our area one night. She grew up in California, so my son’s stories of thunderstorms, tornadoes, and blizzards that close schools for a week are fun for her.

I like weather. Most of the time. What I like the most about winter are warm blankets, movies on the couch with my cat, and watching the snow fall from my big living room window, and an occasional hike in a snowy wood. And candles that smell like cider or evergreen.

What I like the least is getting out at 7 a.m. to drive to work.

The seasons in Ohio provide those of us who live here some nice variety, that’s for sure. We can garden and hike and bike and boat in the spring and summer and really into the fall, and then we can hibernate or ski or sled or go for nippy hikes in a snow covered wood for a few months while the snow flies. And who doesn’t like a white Christmas?

Once the holiday season is over though, I’m ready for spring. I like to plan my garden all winter long while I wait for warmer weather, which is what I’ll be doing in a couple of weeks, right after the holidays. Stay tuned.