Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Spring and the NW Garden Show

  This month I went to the NW Flower and Garden Show in Seattle.  It's always such a treat to look forward to!  I get inspired by the creativity and color.  I buy lily and dahlia bulbs and dream of gardens of flowers.  This year's theme centered around the movies and the gardens came to life inspired by everything from Alien to a side by side His and Hers 1950s romance garden that made me think of a Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy movie.  Another had a western theme with stick horses tied up to the rail.  What fun!  I'd love to be part of a group that designs and builds a show garden together.

  Imagine the logistics of such a large show!  I have experienced being co-chair of a public quilt show with 500 quilts plus a couple dozen vendors (in fact I'm in the middle of that again this year for the show in March).   It's certainly not at the scale of the garden show, but I have some small idea of the months of effort and the work that goes into getting a show together and opening the doors to an appreciative audience.  The garden show has a video that shows time lapse of the giant empty convention center filling up with truckloads of rock, sawdust, plants, and mulch as the gardens are built.  It's astounding!

  But all of that is the mental side of it. What gets to me every time is the actual visceral reaction I have when I first walk into the Garden Show.  Every year the entrance walk is filled with a Spring display that plays with the senses and catches my deep and desperate yearnings for Spring and Sun and Warm Earth. I try to fight it but by late January I'm struggling. Then February arrives and I walk into the Garden show and the scent of fragrant hyacinths hits me full on - and no matter how much I tell myself that I'm a mature adult and won't be overwhelmed, every year I choke up and tears well up when the hyacinths catch me.  In fact, I can choke up just thinking of it.   It's embarrassing!  It's like an addict needing a fix.   Flower scents!  Colors!  Growth!  Sun! 

  Northwest winters don't have much snow, sometimes we have none.  We don't get real cold.  We really can't complain compared to some areas of the country that have devastatingly harsh weather. 
But - they have Sun.  Capital "S" - Sun!  And Blue Sky!  Splashing off of snow banks, streaming through windows.  Sun you can stand by the window and warm your toes in.  Instead of gray drizzling thick wet clouds that hover just above trees for months, some people see Sun and Blue Sky in winter.  (I wonder if people in other parts of the country even know the treasure that they live with?)

  Now I love the NW and raindrops have their appeal.  The overlapping and expanding concentric circles of drops in puddles, the shimmery wetness - all attractive, and in early winter when we get a simple ray of light to bounce off of the drops hanging from everything it can be a sparkling and soothing moment.  But by mid to late winter there aren't enough sparkling moments and I am like a bulb pushing up through wet earth - in synch with the season I NEED Light like I need water to quench a thirst. 

  So Thank you Garden Show!  I will hold onto my dahlia and Lily bulbs, dream of longer days,  click my heels together and chant - Let it be Spring, Let it be Spring, Let it be Spring......and once again I'll push through winter until the real deal finally comes along. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

It's a New Year! Time for me to think about getting it together. Gonna be more healthy, gonna get things done! I should eat more vegetables. I should get more exercise too. Hey- maybe I'll grow my own vegetables and get some exercise while I do it!

But it's January, and it's snowing. OK, so right now I'll just Plan a garden that will happen this spring/summer.
This is Fun! Just me and the Territorial Seed catalog, and those 6 other seed catalogs, hanging out here, planning and dreaming. Those 20 packs of seeds from the last couple of years may not still be good....should go ahead and try some new things.   All those new things!!
 OK - There's my seed order list.

 Hmm, Looks like I'll need about 4 acres, several strong helpers, multiple dump truck loads of compost, a large cistern or two for water, and 50 hungry people to plant, grow, harvest, and eat everything I think I'd like to try growing. Hmm - that's not going to work in my 7200 sq. feet.....and I don't really want to start a commune. Guess I should probably scale back.

 Hey- maybe I can integrate veggies into the border garden in the front yard! Love that! Then again,  the local rabbits would be the ones to Really love that.         ...Damn rabbits.

How about herbs instead of veggies in the border garden? Oooh, even Better--how about starting a Permaculture forest in the border garden based on a little fruit tree- maybe an apple tree. Oh yeah, apple pies, and butterflies, and bees and shrubs and...ooh - I could start a hive! Great!

Um, Wait a minute. That would be great right up until the neighbor sprays all his trees with the who-knows-what chemicals he uses. No, I can't be responsible for leading bees to their potential deaths in a dangerous neighborhood! Nope. Back to herbs...

What do I use? Chives, and Parsley, and Sage, Rosemary and Thyme... Ha! I can never think about herbs without wandering into that great old song. Hmmm. Growing those herbs around an old apple tree would look cool. But it would have to be a new apple tree since I don't have one yet. And how would I harvest the apples without trampling the herbs? Wonder how they do that? Who is They?

 Maybe berries would be good. But not under a tree. more blueberries in the backyard. That would be good! And look pretty. Yum, in summer I can grab a handful of blueberries to put in my yogurt for breakfast out in the sun...I remember sun. Reminds me, I need to go grocery shopping, remember to buy yogurt. Y'know - I'm hungry. Aha, leftover Christmas candy. Mmmm, chocolate and peppermint.

 Oh yeah, I'm gonna get it together this year!