We are having our typical February break from winter. The sun is shining and it’s even warm enough to trade the heavy winter coat for a light jacket. No matter what chores are looming inside, the pull is to be outdoors and in the garden. Obviously it isn’t time to plant (here in Missouri we are almost guaranteed another burst of winter soon), but it is a great time to plan.
My five year old granddaughter came bursting into the house on Sunday as excited as I have ever seen her. In her hands she clutched a somewhat frazzled bouquet of tulips. “I bought them for you,” she said, “because you like flowers and I like pink.” Moments later, the bouquet delivered, she was off on a five-year-old's important pursuit and I was left there thinking about how much love those eight pink tulips communicated.
I gave myself an after-Christmas gift last week – the monograph Piet Oudolf At Work, produced by the London- based publisher, Phaidon. Oudolf, a world renowned Dutch designer, was the featured speaker at a perennial plant conference I attended a few years back, and I’ve been a fan of his work ever since. His gardens are what I want mine to be – seemingly wild, yet subtly restrained and coherent. Everything in his designs fits together beautifully throughout all of the seasons of the year.
I was browsing the internet the other day, looking for inspiration when I ran across an interesting twist on the favorite January topic of gardening trends for 2024. Instead of what to do, this article described what not to do. While I appreciated the premise – there are definitely trends to let go of – aren’t there viable alternatives? Looking for answers, I turned to the design staff at Embassy Landscape Group.
Winter has finally made its debut here. Temperatures have plummeted, winds have picked up and sleet, snow and ice are blanketing the city. Winter weather advisories have taken over the news reports and schools are reminding parents to check for possible closings over the next few days. The weather is terrible and I love it because it’s the perfect excuse to curl up in my favorite fireplace chair and plan a trip to visit a few of the most beautiful gardens around the world.
The first week of January always brings out an almost obsessive need to clean and organize my surroundings in preparation for the new year ahead. I usually attack the closets first and then move into the basement and garage storage in a frenzied attempt to achieve organizational nirvana. It drives my poor husband crazy because the “little help” I request from him usually turns into hours of unanticipated and unwelcome work as well as some unexpected expense.
A few close friends and I were having coffee the other morning when the conversation drifted off to holiday gift-giving and how difficult it can be to find that exactly “right” gift for the “right” person. We started reminiscing about some of the gifts we have received through the years, usually from our husbands. Some were sweet, some were strange and some were absolutely hilarious.
It never ceases to amaze me how much work there is left to do in my gardens in November. Even though the blooms are long gone and the foliage is a squishy shade of greenish-gray, I need to motivate myself to bundle up, get outside and get to work. There are 10 chores that, if done now, will make my spring garden thrive.