That day the rain just kept coming down, and down, and for a brief few hours we had a reprieve from the long bitter cold grip we had been in, as the thermometer rose up to places it hadn’t been since fall, some danced barefoot on the sidewalks (ok, maybe just Jane), washing away all the dirty snow, and there in my mailbox I spied my Richter’s Herb Catalogue.
Like a reminder from spring, saying “shhhhh, there, there, I am returning, leaf through this and remember me“.
It is not JUST a catalogue, but a reference, a dreambook (remember Sears Christmas catalogue?) for a phytophilous [fond of plants.], selling herbs and vegetables from all over the world, and bits on their uses and history.
This year I’m looking at Mint for the front ornamental herb bed I have the use of here at my apartment, which being a part shade spot with a Black Walnut nearby, my choices are limited. Em, decisions decisions.
You wouldn’t think there would be such a choice of Mint, oh, but you would be wrong. Variegated Mints, Fish Mint, Spearmint, Peppermint, Mojito Mint, ooooor, maybe a couple Pink Candypops?
MENTHA ‘Pink Candypops’ – z6-11
We don’t normally think of mints as ornamental but the late mint breeder extraordinaire, Jim Westerfield, found a way to make this mint look like a million bucks! Its pink puff flowers appearing in summer look just like pink lollipops. Can be grown in beds or in containers.
I am distracted, often, from my goal. Which is actually the point.
Such as by this lovely draping Rosemary called “Huntington Carpet“, that will never be, or never be here. Rosemary and Black Walnuts despise one another, which I think is rather prejudice. It killed the one that I brought with me from the Lake.
ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS ‘ Huntington Carpet’ – z8-10
Very popular as a ground cover in California. The dense ground-hugging foliage and masses of deep blue flowers create a dramatic flowing “waterfall” effect. Excellent in containers [ya think :)], window boxes and baskets. Ht. 30-45cm/12-18″.
See, this is what I do to get through these dreary mid-winter days. And, I highly recommend it. Leafing through seed & plant catalogues for gardeners is like ecotherapy at a distance.
Ideas form, and I envision what may be, what could be. It brings joy to my world and washes away those winter blues, briefly, catching glimpses of my garden, imagining the warm sun on my bare arms, nails filled with earth, dappled sunshine on the sidewalk, as I gaze out front to the graceful Echinacea ‘Alba’ dancing in the late summer sunshine.
Or, maybe the Echinacea needs a backdrop instead? Something taller? Something different? Ideas dance and spiral forth, as I imagine all the different possible gardens, future gardens, bringing a bit of the summer with each turn of the page.
I looked out yesterday morning at Irish slumped character, as the dreary rain had washed away her throne of snow that the maintenance crew had helped build for her (well, they just left the snow there, SHE made it her throne), as it was now instead her own, ahem, sh!thole.
Poor thing. Yet, I see this morning her throne is rising once again, as that thaw was brief and back down into the biting winds and snow we go, blanketing all the remnants of dirty piles with a fresh blanket of that white fluffy sort, hiding random sheets of ice. Absolutely fantastic for walking. A complete no-go for cycling. And I more than ever welcome the respite of that wonderful catalogue of possibilities, as I daydream of warmth and other colours than brown, gray, blue and dirty white.
In one aspect, I garden just as much for others as I do for my own benefit. I’ve told the others in my building to help themselves to the Oregano, Chives, French Tarragon, and Mint. Having been thinking this year I should maybe put out little markers, which I think maybe is just the little winter project to wile away the winter days.
I imagine the tall white Echinacea with their chocolatey cones in the late summer, rising up from the wild mass of French Tarragon and that anonymous Mint that refused to die. That’s why I am leaning towards a mint, as it really likes it out there, and I prefer to go with the flow. It’s simpler.
Eye candy with a purpose, as I spy the passers-by eye our space, as the others who live here come and go, I hope I have made them smile, even just one of those quiet inside smiles we all need once in a while, to remind us. Just my little contribution to being the change I want to see in the world.
And for the next couple weeks, newsprint on my fingers instead of dirt, but I am in a garden, if only in my daydreams.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”