It May Be Early — but it’s Spring! (Almost)

“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.”  ~~ Ruth Stout

We’ve had an extremely weird winter, so far.  We had pouring, drenching rain through much of December — and not much since — which does not bode well for the latter days of summer this year.  Then in late January we had a week or two of freezing cold, which was most unusual for our part of the world — and the rest of the winter we’ve rarely needed more than a light-weight jacket or sweatshirt.

I read other gardening blogs and it seems that most of the ones I follow are still posting photos of snow in their gardens.  Wherever they are it is definitely still winter.  But here, this is an in-between time – a liminal time of year.  Winter is gone — and spring is oh-so-near, but not entirely here just yet.  The flowering plums and pears are almost finished with blossoming out.  The daffodils are almost gone for the year.  This is the time for setting out bedding plants – very carefully.  We can still get caught by a late frost.

waiting 2

… primulas, peas, and parsley … there ought to be a nursery rhyme in there somewhere …

seedlings

Two of my favorite gardening quotes:

And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden…You will find yourself a partner in the Glory of the Garden.  ~~Rudyard Kipling

Spring is nature’s way of saying, let’s party!  ~~Robin Williams

The first acknowledges the plain hard-work that goes into spring — clearing out last year’s leftovers, turning the soil, mulching, planting and moving.  The second expresses so well the sheer joy that is spring — the happiness that comes with getting out there and getting your hands in the dirt, planning  new beds, finding new varieties to try.

Rosemary

Some plants just do their thing, winter or spring.  The six-foot tall rosemary  doesn’t care what the calendar says — and neither do the bees.  You can’t really see them here, but every day when the sun shines they’re out there — swarming all over the blue blossoms … busy, busy, busy 

Happy Spring everyone!

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Reaping a Harvest

It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn. ~~ B.C. Forbes

Beauty comes in many forms and there is no question but that the roses and lilies and chrysanthemums are beautiful, but then there is something beautiful about growing food for the table, as well.  Living here in northern California, in our perfect climate, many of us grow vegetables and fruit — just for the joy of seeing them grow.

For a long time, most gardening books came from the East Coast and they always made vegetable gardening seem like such a next-to-impossible task — wintering-over beds, digging out from the snow in the spring, pampering plants through a short, steamy summer.  It’s so easy here that almost anyone can grow something – even if it’s only one small tomato plant on an apartment balcony.  The hardest job is keeping enough water on your plants in the hot days.

While some folks go the whole distance with peas and beans and corn, most of us make do with the basic necessities of life:  tomatoes, peppers, and basil.

and even if you get a little behind in keeping the blossoms pruned away, if you look closely, you can see that the bees LOVE it!