If anyone ever doubted the power of plants, they should meet one of my best friends. Just when I start to dread the cold Winter days, she always calls to tell me that she has lots of extra flower bulbs to share. Over a cup of tea, we go through them, and she tells me which is which, and how soon they will flower. We talk excitedly about how she ordered too many, and that there is not enough windowsills to put them on, but just the idea of having them makes us both happy. We spend the afternoon together, and I make a mental note to thank her again, and remember how grateful I am to be her friend.
Winter in the North East can be brutal. The skies are gray, and the garden is either covered in snow, or hard, misshapen chunks of mud. We know that Spring will eventually be here, but it is sometimes hard to believe it when we look outside. The bulbs really cheer me up, and are ridiculously easy to grow, but, more importantly, they are a positive sign of life – a green light at the end of a gray tunnel. Don’t get me wrong, I do love the change of seasons, but I also miss not being able to enjoy my garden for months on end.
So, what do I do? For one, I make a huge mess in my kitchen sink, and I honestly don’t care. We are always so concerned with keeping our houses clean, and doing things properly, that I love grabbing a pile of newspapers, spraying water around, and turning my kitchen into an impromptu potting shed. Frankly, even if I had a lovely bench like the one above, I would still use my kitchen; why not be inside, warm and cozy, while you plant flowers?
By now, the dog has already scratched the floors with wet, snowy paws, and the house is eternally dusty from the heating system, so I just decide to enjoy my time with the dirt. I keep a bucket of potting mix, lots of empty terracotta pots, and a giant spoon nearby for emergency planting (you never know when you may need to pot a plant in a hurry). I play my favorite music, and for an hour or two I plant and prune, and wonder what they will be when they grow up. I move them from window to window, seeing if they need more light, and noticing who blooms first. I save my jam jars, pot up extra bulbs and pass them onto another friend. Even if you don’t love to garden, it’s impossible to dislike a plant in the Winter…. Gorgeous photograph from http://www.gardentrading.co.uk
For more by Wendy and the Blue Giraffe, go to: http://www.thebluegiraffe.com/