It’s finally looking like February is supposed to. Crisp and cold with a thick quilt of snow spread over the ground. It’s been a week of brisk, bracing walks, fireside conversations and a return to dreams of the perfect growing season ahead. This is the February I’m familiar with and it’s mighty comforting even though I know the climate is changing and it will not always be so.
The weekend before the first great snow fall, it was definitively spring weather. 50 degrees! The garden beckoned with a siren call and I was lured into it eager and excited. The grapevine got pruned and the trimmings were stored for future projects in and outside the garden. Similarly, the roses received a fair bit of cutting and shaping. The rose hips were collected on lengths of stem. They look so pretty in hues of orange tinted with blush pink. All the plants left to serve the birds and bring seasonal interest with their varied designs of seed heads and warm, earthy colors were also cut back. And yes, all of those trimmings are also safely stored away. Why?
Because, come April, they will be the stars of a public project in which I am thrilled to participate. I’m not saying any more for now! All will be revealed in due course.
As I gathered the cuttings, the color palette itself was so beautiful. Browns, golds, reds and everything in-between. And the many textures and shapes! Truly, the sight rivaled any opulent bouquet of fresh flowers. Plants in senescence are so very under-appreciated. Yet, they serve at this stage to ensure the future health and wealth of the land. Surely, we ought to pay these humble yet noble members more attention, admiration and esteem.
And thus, it was a very satisfying two days of cutting and tidying. Timely work got done (and a new project got underway!). If I’d put off this task, the 12 inches of snow that fell two days later would’ve put paid to the beautiful ‘harvest’. The plants would have all been pushed down and broken apart. Seizing the day was a very good thing!
Note: Because the snow was expected, I left the old leaves of the hellebores uncut so they could protect the emerging buds from any snow and cold damage.
(c) 2024 Shobha Vanchiswar
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