Preemptive Enthusiasm

Winter solstice has finally passed. Each and every day is just a little longer than the last. And like clockwork, I feel that gardening itch coming on…

My mother is the best gardener in the world. It’s true. You know that scene in Ferngully where the fairy thing makes a seed sprout in her hands with her mind powers? Or something? Yah, that’s my mum. She’s amazing. Not only did she raise my two sisters and I by herself, she also is a world class gardener, seamstress, baker, and sweet Moses, does she ever make a mean bacon sandwich. Of course, she doesn’t think all of these things about herself, but they’re true.

I spent many summers in her garden, which, in my memory, was a botanical wonderland. To this day, the aroma of healthy, sweet-smelling dirt and tomato plants immediately make me think of my beautiful mother. As in most everything, she tried to include us in what she was doing, allowing us to “help”, and teaching us in so gentle a way that I often didn’t even realize I was learning. It helped that she grew a lot of edibles and never seemed to mind when very little of it ever actually made it to the table before it ended up in our mouths.

While I didn’t necessarily inherit my mother’s remarkable green thumb, she did pass on her love for all things that grow. As I’ve gotten older, I kill fewer and fewer plants. I’ve actually resurrected some in the more recent years. And of course, every spring, I feel the insatiable desire to put something in the ground, to nuture it, to watch it grow.

Our fall garden was a miserable failure. Initially, it showed great promise, which of course lured in the rabbits, the armadillos, the deer, and the feral hogs.


In fact, the only plant that survived was the garlic that I anxiously await harvesting in the spring.


A (really) good garden fence is on the to do list.

But the weather is meant to turn really cold this week (cold, of course, being a relative term), which is customary for this time of year in Texas. So garden fencing will get put on the back burner while we install the wood burning stove. (See what I did there? No? Never mind.)

Frost or no frost, there are a few things I mean to do in the next week. First of all, there’s garden planning to be done which will involve pouring over this beautiful catalogue from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and putting together an order.


Then I have these Glaskin Perpetual rhubarb seeds that need to be planted. And these peach pits, saved from the most mouth-watering white peaches I’ve ever tasted, are destined for pots.  I have no idea which particular variety they are. But apparently peaches are a fairly sure bet here in Texas, so I’m planting first and asking questions later. (The pits were stratified for several months while we still had refrigeration.)


Of course, I may have to wait a few days until after our last frost date before doing any serious planting. I may have to wait 92 days, one hour and 5 minutes. But, you know, who’s counting?