Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Embrace the darkness
I used to wonder how I would continue blogging about gardening during our give-or-take five months of winter, especially during times like these. Every venture outside is accompanied by an involuntary curse. I can't even think about touching the soil, and I'm already gauging the odds of whether anyone will be able to tell silk hydrangea blossoms from real if I can figure out how to tie them onto the barren branches come summer.
Yet, somehow, talking about gardening and plants still seems possible, not just for me but for many other gardeners living in the frozen zones. In fact, an amazing amount of gardening bloggers are living in Alaska—and they're posting throughout the winter. I salute them and all the shivering bloggers throughout the Northeast, Midwest, and Canada—all the regions where the word "windchill" is part of our normal vocabulary.
Here are just a few examples of winter garden blogging.
Last week, in A Garden By the Ruins Near Narbeth, a Massachusetts gardener mused:
September is national suicide prevention month and October is national depression awareness month. Who decides these things? And why September and October? And don't they have it backwards —isn't it depression first, then suicide?
(I don't know why I find this endearing.)
Apparently, the aging of baby-boomers is to blame as we're no longer able to sustain the effort to keep up the garden. Well, perhaps it's true that the Age of Gardening is passing. But I still peruse the catalogues, prepare for another spring and keep the larger goal in mind.
And then we have Kim, who gardens, like me, near Lake Erie, but in Ohio. Unlike me, she is keenly aware of all the natural happenings around her, even in winter:
With brittle sunny skies and the lovely crunch of snow underfoot, NE Ohio has never looked more beautiful to me as it does this winter.
A less cerebral, but equally celebratory, attitude can be found over at Dirt Divas Gardening, who are gardening in Alaska zone 2-3 (brrr!). Here's a recent comment from DD1:
There’s nothing like the cold shock of that first contact with an outhouse toilet seat at twenty below to make one’s mind turn to gardening!
Many bloggers, like me, while away part of the dormant months by forcing bulbs and browsing catalogs. Here are Firefly's thoughts on Bluestone's admittedly exhaustive offerings:
There are so many choices that, after 10 pages, it’s all a blur to me; even the plants look the same. No matter the basic species, flower form, or foliage, they all have cultivars with blue, pink, white, double, or frilly flowers, variegated foliage, blue stems, yellow stripes. The descriptions don’t site the plants in space or time.
Is all this thinking about gardening and blogging about it when I can't really garden making me a better gardener? Or will I find myself faced with the same shortsighted failures as always when it comes time to get back to the dirt?
Probably—but thanks to this activity, winter isn't quite the enemy of gardening it used to be.
(Photo by Cheryl Jackson.)