Sunday, February 03, 2008

Winter Dreams

A gardener’s spring begins in winter, in the imagination. And the imagination is a kind companion, forgiving and forgetful, encouraging and enthusiastic. Last year’s failures are recast as character builders and learning experiences. The coming year is still a blank palette. The seed catalogs are spread from hell to breakfast. Ideas loom large but still seem achievable. Pragmatism may win later in the year but now is the time for optimistic indulgence.

And what indulgences! I am actually envisioning a gardening year where I thwart gophers, vanquish deer, redesign plots and finally grow tuberous begonias from seed. Quixotic you say? Well, we’ll see.

Fedco, my mainstay seed company, knows about these rose colored glasses that we don in the dead of winter. This year marks their 30th year of doing business and the catalog ‘s catch phrase reads “30 Years of Spring Fiction.” Extravagant descriptions, gardener’s purple prose, fill the pages and tempt the winter vulnerable to further excesses of ordering.

But honestly, who can resist a winter squash, Sweet Meat, that “grew over the bean trellis, vaulted the 8’ garden fence, and ran off into the woods like kudzu with pies attached.”