What to do? It’s an early January day, one of those odd ones that’s wedged between cold fronts. On Long Island, that means it sort of feels like March, and there is an urge to bundle up and start spring cleaning — while the inner voice says, “Don’t be too quick. This is just a winter lull, and there will be icy temperatures at any moment.”
As if to serve as a reminder, there are the remnants of last night’s flurries (above) and autumn leaves encased in ice on top of the pool cover (below).
Now that we’ve made the first round of seed introductions, it’s now time to continue down the receiving line. As mentioned in the previous post, I chose many red flowers — but I also included some experiments, seeds that could prove challenging.
First up, an experiment. I always try to include Coleus in the garden. The variety of colors and leaf textures are amazing — and they’re super easy to root if you’d like to save your favorites as houseplants. Simply snip off a stem, place in water, and roots appear. (By the way, that’s also an economical way to keep a favorite Coleus around for the winter months. As the weather warms, take some clippings from that house plant and have roots ready for the outdoor growing season.)
This plaque, a gift from my friend Maria, hangs in the potting shed.
Simply put, I’m a sucker for seeds. I can’t really say if it’s magical or spiritual, but I am amazed at what is locked inside each oddly shaped, variously sized seed. Just provide the right environment, and it’s as if the Big Bang is put into motion. Roots, stems, leaves, blooms, seed — it’s an ongoing cycle that is so simple (and yet so complicated) that it helps keep me grounded in this hectic world. It’s one thing to stop and smell the roses, but it’s another thing to stop and plant a seed and wait and then smell.
My Park Seed and Select Seeds order has arrived, and very soon, I will begin my own cycle of planting and watering and thinning. I admit, I went a little heavy on red — but I do love red in the garden. It’s hot and vibrant and passionate — and it comes in so many shades, from bright to brick to bold.
And now, without any further delay, I would like to roll out my red carpet.
I am a seedaholic – and this time of year is especially rough for me and others like me. The seed catalogs have arrived, with all of their colorful glossy photos designed to tempt the gardener with promises of summer bouquets and homegrown vegetables – all of the scents and textures of life itself.
Each time I visit the mailbox and find a new arrival, I wonder what the neighbors think. A wave of thrills and excitement passes through me. I clutch the catalog to my chest as if it was the latest issue of Tiger Beat and I’m a giddy 11-year-old school girl. And, I swear, I feel like skipping.