Posted: 8 April 2011 in observations

Spring always gets me.  I get so excited – planning new beds for the garden, buying plants, mulch, dirt.  It’s a far more expensive and time consuming hobby than you’d imagine in the Fall (and by you here, I mean me).  In the off-season, it’s a bit of raking here, another bag of leaves there.  An occasional cover up for a particularly sensitive plant.  But as I practice both tough love and negligence, you could say my off-season attention to the garden falls to practically nil.

Here is the view from my office:

How can you not want to leave work instantly and sink your fingers into the nearest available patch of land?  Never mind that it’s raining today.  Or that the price of gas has left the construction of the vegetable bed in a state of uncertainty.  Just fling yourself out the door and find a fragrant branch to sniff, a petal to run between fingers, a spicy herb to brush your hands through.

Instead you’re trapped here with me and all I want to do is investigate tomato plants and consider peppers.  Vegetables are a touchy thing for me – I’m a perennial person – I like things that are established in Virginia, that come up every year, that spread as expected and persevere even in the heat of summer.  I go to great lengths to trap and provide water but there’s a minimum level of performance I’m expecting and frankly, annuals just don’t have it.  Unfortunately for me, most perennials don’t produce vegetables and some of the herbs I’m most interested in medicinally either don’t make it through the winter or don’t come back.  Chamomile, I’m looking at you.

After several summers of steadfastly planting nothing that wouldn’t provide scent, long-lived color and springtime resurrection, I’m stepping back into annuals.  Vegetables will pay for themselves, provided they grow (and I have no reason to suspect they wouldn’t).  And the herbs are part of an expanding bank of supplies and knowledge I’m gathering.  In addition to last years sage, mint, lavender, coneflower, passionflower, oregano, chives and rosemary, I’m adding calendula, feverfew, and chamomile.  We also planted a few berry bushes and are going to, eventually, get in some vegetables.  Peppers and tomatoes, yes.  But also cucumbers, beans and squash.  There’s room for something else too, which is exciting in and of itself.

So far, the plans have progressed but not the garden itself but did you see outside my window?  The time is now!


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