Faith & Seed Catalogs
The seed companies pick the perfect time to send out their catalogs; the dead of winter — January. The nights are long and the temperatures frigid. It’s when we gardeners most long for the fresh days of spring. The smell of warm damp earth, gentle life-giving rains and the parting of the clouds welcoming the sun.
As I sit here looking out at the wind-swept snow it seems a long way off before I’ll see the birds returning, singing their mating songs and building nests. But when the seed catalogs arrive in the mail, I open their pages and escape into the coming time of growth and renewal.
I have a small raised-bed garden by the side of my shed. Enough space for a couple short rows of green beans, two tomato plants, a zucchini and some herbs. I look at all the choices in the catalogs and try to figure out how to get more plants into my miniature space. The pictures accompanying each selection make me want to dig out my hoe and rake and get started.
I’m also a sure sale for new variations of plants and flowers. My yard and garden don’t get full sun, so I have to limit myself to plants that can take some shade. I have perennials growing in my flower borders, and I like to add a few annuals for their summer-long color. I’ve come to the conclusion I need less lawn and more flower beds. They seem to grow bigger every year to accommodate my new selections.
This year it is difficult looking through the catalogs. I’m putting my house up for sale the end of March. I won’t be experimenting in my garden with something new that has caught my eye and piqued my interest. I will plant Impatiens and marigolds in the flower borders to complement the perennials. There will be Swiss chard, zucchini and tomatoes in the garden. Maybe I’ll be here at harvest or perhaps someone else will be, but I will plant.
A friend once said that I must’ve been a farmer’s wife in a previous life. I can no more stop tilling and planting, harvesting and preserving than I can stop the sun from rising each day. It is in my blood.
The seed catalogs fill my short winter days with hope and faith that the warm sun will bring life back to the soil. The winds will blow sweet and fragrant, the days lengthen and the flowers will bloom again.