Signs of the Season

20160321_123424Yesterday was the Vernal Equinox, and today that’s my backyard; we had a spring snowstorm overnight, hopefully the last of the season. It’s too warm today to sustain snow, so most of it is already cheerfully running from the eaves and puddling in the sunshine. My daughter was enchanted last week to find crocuses and creeping myrtle in bloom, but she was equally delighted to splat through snowmelt puddles today. Pretty much every weather is the best weather when you’re three.

20160321_162048Meanwhile, the garden is still in its Platonic plotting stage, which is frankly (for me) the best part of gardening. Seed Catalog Season is my favorite season. (Some of my particular favorites: John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Seeds of Change.)

We belong to a local CSA, so I don’t feel too much pressure to be extravagantly vegetable-competent, but I like to try. I grew up eating homegrown vegetables — one of my earlier memories is of being dispatched in a summer twilight out to the garden with one of my mother’s mixing bowls to pick lettuce and peas for supper — and the nostalgia is kind of its own reward.

Gardening is another thing that fell into the void of PPD. Last year I was recovered enough to potter about with my perennials — strawberries, rhubarb, raspberries, a pair of apple trees, herbs — but this year I’m looking forward to peas, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, beans, eggplant, pumpkins, potatoes, windowboxes and cutting flowers. My daughter has already laid claim to a container of her own and declared her intention to grow sunflowers beside her backyard playhouse.

We’ll see what the rabbits that nested in our upper garden terrace and ate most of my strawberries last year have to say about any of this. Garden reality is a knottier negotiation than garden daydreaming.

If you’re likewise inclined to garden fantasies, you ought to be following Ursula Vernon on Twitter and Tumblr. Her hand-lettered and illustrated diary pages on Tumblr are as inspiring as they are charming, and her occasional vegetable rants on Twitter are not to be missed.

Happy seed season to you.

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