One of the interesting things about my job is the overlap of seasons that it involves. So while we're deep into winter, with cold, snow and ice, spring has sprung here at the farm. The first batch of seedlings--still very small--are thriving under lights in the basement. The first batch is small--pansies, 2 varieties of lavender I grow from seed, and some of the early perennials. It's a great mood-booster to go downstairs and see green, growing plants in the middle of winter. Good for the outlook and my sanity when winter drags on. The winter snowstorms have been relatively small so far. But everyone I talk to is longing for spring. Maybe it's a holdover from last year--such a harsh winter and a cool, wet start to spring. Everyone seems anxious to escape from winter without the brutal hit of last year.
I do try to admire the nice things about each season. Snow, if you don't have to shovel or drive in it, is lovely and it certainly covers up any blemishes in the landscape. We have a beautifully shaped spruce tree in the yard and it was so picturesque after the last snowfall. If a male cardinal had landed on it, it would have been a perfect Christmas card. In our side border, we have a red-twig dogwood. The bare red stems present a beautiful contrast against the white snow. Recently, I passed a yard with a very attractive winter scene--a pyracantha bush loaded with bright orange berries between two clumps of dried ornamental grass with the seedheads uncut. And I continue to admire our own and other examples of paperbark birch, with its attractive exfoliating or peeling bark that's especially showy after its leaves fall. Every season displays something attractive in the landscape.
Although I like the head start on spring, I also like the gradual transition between seasons. I start with end of the year office work and gradually move on to spring work--plant lists, newsletters, etc. Same in the shop--put away holiday items and gradually restock with spring decor and selections. And most notably, with plants. First, the earliest seeding with pansies and perennials. Soon, I'll be seeding each week and the numbers will increase. Then, hard goods arrive and I get the greenhouse set up for spring. Soon, starter plants begin to arrive and then boom--I'm deep into spring, although it will be 4-6 weeks before the official start. There's always a day when things get really busy and I know spring is here.
Just a reminder. Although the greenhouse doesn't reopen until April, the herb shop is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. during January, February and March (weather permitting). A customer called recently and was surprised to hear we had part-time winter hours. The shop has all kinds of things that are useful during the winter--supplies and containers for DIY projects, books and the Essential Herbal magazine for a leisurely read, herbal teas for a nice, warm cuppa and bulk herbs and spices for hearty recipes and homemade baking.