I bought three sprays of roses today. It is somewhat of a tradition this time of year. I enjoy having fresh flowers in time for the letting go of December and welcoming of January. My favorite flowers are irises, which are difficult to find right now so I adjust. The roses are small, and barely opened, but are a rich mandarin blush color, vivid and bright. I think about contrasts in expectations. Sometimes, what we think we want, is not what we expect or end up with. In past years, when my FHB and I were home owners, I liked to have a few container gardens. I used enormous galvanized steel wash basins. Our soil was sandy so it was difficult to get much to grow in the ground, so it required bags and bags of soil to fill up these basins. Our house was called a Nantucket Half Cape, a reproduction of a house built in the early 1800s, running front to back with two porches and a barn/garage with a large barn door that slid. Surrounding the house were fields that were left to grow wild and we planted decorative grasses in a burm (to block our nasty neighbor) and some flowers in beds and hydrangeas,which thrived in the sandy soil. We planted three blueberry bushes, but they take several years to fruit, and maybe by now (well, in season) the owners are seeing the fruits of our labor, but we didn’t get to make muffins or pancakes with anything before we moved away, back to the city. We planted containers of different kinds of lettuce, some tomatoes and basil. I didn’t study seeds, or planting times. I grew a tiny watermelon called a sugar baby which was adorable, but I didn’t really pay attention to when to plant it and when it finally grew (which would have been considered a dwarf melon), it was beautiful inside and could feed a couple of squirrels, who were not too hungry. My lettuce was a bit bitter, the basil was fragrant and tasty and the tomatoes often developed some very scarey looking marks on them. It was never the way I imagined, and yet, year after year, I tried again.
I had a colleague who had a sign in his office “if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got”. In the beginning I thought it was catchy and clever. Time has shown that it is a truism. There is very little that is effortless when it comes to wanting the results you strive for. Being an optimist can get you only so far. Certainly with gardening, my enthusiasm always exceeded my eventual production of viable and edible produce. My stubborn nature combined with my belief in the “how difficult can this possibly be to do” mindset, led me down the same path with mixed results. Once in a while, probably based on the time I did the planting and where I oriented the basins and how often I watered it, might have led to greener greens. But that was nothing I planned on, just a bit of luck, not skill. In the age of information and websites and books on garden “how to”s and gardening “dont”s, I could certainly find a plan, stick to it and perhaps have good outcomes. Moving to a loft, does not necessarily mean I can’t garden, but reality limits my resources and challenges my skills. Farm stands are now my go to destinations.
I know there are many folks out there who are getting ready to plan their gardens, for spring, summer and fall. They are getting seed catalogues and poring over them, organizing the land, figuring out where each vegetable and flower will go. Must be nice to know how to do that and do it well. It’s just not me, anymore or ever. It is a logical progression in my mind. Stubborn leads to lack of information which leads to ignoring the rules and poor results. Knowing that is knowing oneself. Resolutions are clearly for others, but I like to consider that making a list of things I would like to imagine would happen (through surprise, dumb luck, and perhaps a little planning and effort) might be kind of fun, for a change. It doesn’t require a catalog or timetable. Just keeping an open mind and heart. I know that with each passing day, that if I plant daisies, I’m going to get daisies, not roses. I like daisies. The world is full of possibilities. Join me in welcoming 2017. May your dreams and wishes be hopeful and fruitful.
Question: When you do stop saying “Happy New Year?” When is the new year no longer new?