• John R

Snow Job



Winter. Not a lot happens in winter in terms of actual gardening, which at our property greatly reduces the chances for haphazard plant care and troubling soil mismanagement. Within this respite of dormancy, we are hopeful. Because this coming year will be different. This year will be the year of a glorious horticultural breakthrough.


I say “we” although my betrothed, for all her goodness, does not take the promise of a Glorious Horticultural Breakthrough seriously. For one, she thinks “Glorious Horticultural Breakthrough” sounds like a North Korean marketing slogan. Also, she does not share my hopeful visions of peppers big as bowling balls and dahlia blossoms the size of dinner plates. She has seen me in action, muddling about in recalcitrant dirt, and her support is mitigated by history. She says, without rancor and with a fair amount of accuracy, “You don’t know what you’re doing.”


Ha! Gauntlet tossed and accepted!


Fantasizing about GHBs is a skill to which I’m particularly well-adapted. Stretched out on the couch, iPad perched on my tummy and aglow with images of magazine-worthy gardens and chockablock with bookmarks leading to vast stores of gardening expertise, advice, and no-fail step-by-step YouTube videos, I feel myself on the precipice of a truly magnificent growing season. (I probably should say approaching rather than on the precipice of; “precipice” suggests disaster is only a step away) Anyway, with so much knowledge at my fingertips, I’d have to be an absolute moron not to be able to grow gorgeous flowers and prize-winning veggies.


As I often do when engaged in a conscious manifestation of corpulent cultivars, I fall asleep. But not before admitting that Glorious Horticultural Breakthrough does sound like something cooked up by a sycophantic Minister of the People’s Cultural Affairs. I need to work on that. Maybe, Superhero Summer or The Little Garden That Could. It’ll come to me.


BTW, here are a few of my favorite places to fritter away the winter:


Garden columnist and blogger Margaret Roach is always chockablock (today’s favorite word) with smart stuff, including recipes. Find her at Margaret A Way to Garden.


Renee Shepherd has an online “garden to table seed company” called Renee’s Garden that’s stuffed (I hope you appreciate that I used “stuffed” instead of subjecting you all to another “chockablock”) with fantastic heirlooms and certified-organic seeds.


Speaking of heirlooms, there’s always the iconic Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa. Since its rustic beginnings, the Exchange has grown into a sophisticated operation. You can buy seeds (duh) or shop the online gift store. You can also visit and tour.


Speaking of peppers (way back in paragraph two; some sharp-eyed editor is going to catch that one and insist on a more relevant transition) I get reverential visiting Jim Duffy’s Refining Fire Chiles where the selection will make you weep with capsicum anticipation. Also, check out “Jim Duffy Growing Chiles” on YouTube.


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