Through the Year

Over the land freckled with snow half thawed

The speculating rooks at their nests cawed

And saw from elm-tops, delicate as flower of grass,

What we below could not see, Winter pass.

                              Edward Thomas

January grey is here,

   Like a sexton by her grave;

February bears the bier,

   March with grief doth howl and rave,

And April weeps - but O ye hours!

   Follow with May's fairest flowers.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Circles and spheres have been associated through the ages with eternity – as they have no beginning and no end. Wreaths, especially, have come to represent this concept, and are used in a variety of ways, from victory crowns to funeral adornments to symbols of the holiday season.

 

November often is a forgiving month - allowing us here in New England to enjoy some milder weather. However, there are many times we have snow and bitterly cold temperatures, sometimes even early in the month. I figure whatever extra time I get to spend outside is a bonus, and I gladly accept any good weather and try to use the time wisely.

My tent stands in a garden

Of aster and golden-rod,

Tilled by the rain and the sunshine,

And sown by the hand of God,-

An old New England pasture

Abandoned to peace and time,

And by the magic of beauty

Reclaimed to the sublime.

It's September, and the days are shorter, weather more moderate, and the harvest is winding down. It's time to think of the approaching autumn, and prepare for winter's blast. I still have lots to do in the garden, and try to fit in “putting up” some of summer's bounty before it's time to put the beds to sleep. One way to keep fresh herbs for winter use is to make herb pastes, and lay in a good store for use during the cold months.

 

Well, it's official. The weeds have won. I give up trying to maintain the beds. The front of the yard is fine, as I worked hard to keep up appearances. And the vegetables are OK, too. I just noticed a huge hornet's nest in the trellis that the honeysuckle is climbing. Thank goodness I didn't weed over there or no doubt I would have been stung. Fortunately, it is out of the way under the eave of the barn and did not interfere with the installation of the solar panels. I am patiently awaiting the OK to turn on the juice and collect all that sunshine!

July is the time that you really get to see the fruits of all your earlier work in the garden, literally as well as figuratively. Juicy fruits, from raspberries to mulberries to currants and gooseberries, are bursting with flavor and taste fantastic right off the stem, warmed by the sun. My farm, before I acquired it, had been repurposed as a small fruit farm, so I have several apple, pear, peach and cherry trees, to which I have added Asian pears, more heirloom apples, an apricot, and plums. Besides these more usual fruit trees, I have a Meader persimmon and a small grove of paw paws.

Well, again time has gotten away from me and I totally missed my May posting. Being involved in two plant sales, as well as growing out my herbs and heirlooms, and I just couldn't find the time to write. Both sales, The New England Unit of The Herb Society of America, and the Greenleaf Garden Club, were succesful. Thank goodness they were on different weekends!

There is nothing more satisfying to a gardener than the coming of good gardening weather. This year we have certainly earned our spring days, after all the crazy late snows and harsh weather. My spring bulbs were just starting to emerge, and now they are covered by a blanket of white. My father always said that a little snow was nature's fertilizer, and he never worried too much about a late dusting of the white stuff. But I am anxious to get out and get my hands dirty in the soil.

 

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