One of my favorite things to do, when it is cold and snowy and it feels like winter is in for the long haul, is to order plants. There is a special joy that comes when you open the mailbox and it's full of stacks of colorful flower catalogs. I bring them in, stack them up, and then go through and flag the things I really really want. Multiple times. And then, because I know they won't ship them until they are ready to be planted, I like to take a crappy day and order a whole bunch of shiny new plants for my gardens.
Because I am weird and like things organized and in binders, I then cut out the plants and their descriptions and tape them to cardstock, so I know what I bought through the mail when and from which catalog. It is insanely satisfying.
Here's this year's crop so far:
|Grossersorten geraniums, night-blooming phlox, heirloom scented old-fashioned and climbing petunias|
|Three kinds of nicotiana, more narrowleaf mountain mint|
|Two kinds of helenium (sneezeweed), feverfew, and a campanula that looks like lilacs|
|Japanese anemones (two tall and one short that blooms May and Fall), and 3 kinds of rudbeckia|
This flower catalog joy reminds me of a book I read, Rules for Visiting, by Jessica Francis Kane. It's about a horticulturist who gets four weeks of vacation for having a famous tree she's planted, and she uses it to visit four different friends from different points in her life, while she's choosing a tree that can be planted in her honor that can sufficiently stand for who she is. It's a delightful book:
The character in the book has two quotes in particular that make me smile when the gardening catalogs come out:
"Why do I like gardening? Because I worry I've inherited a certain hopelessness, a potentially fatal lack of interest, that I'm diseased with reserve. Making a garden runs counter to all that. You can't garden without thinking about the future."
"...she...loved gardening catalogs, too. She said it was like no other reading experience because you read for pleasure and knowledge, while at the same time planning the future."
Gardening gives me the chance to create, to cultivate and nurture, and to watch something living grow and evolve over time. It is a way of celebrating the future and something that I give to it, and maybe even leave behind. It's an insanely hopeful thing to do, especially in the dead of winter, and during a global pandemic that is just not letting go. The thought of all that color exploding around my gardens, inviting butterflies and hummingbirds and bees to get what they need from my pretty plants...it makes my heart so happy.
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