We’ve really only had one warm day, and I wish we hadn’t had it at all. It is currently 44 in the middle of the afternoon, and it was in the 20s when I walked Dexter this morning. That one day of warmth has created a fit of Spring Fever, and I’m nearly mad with it.
I always have goals for the garden—“This year will be different. I will…fill in the blank.”
This year will be different. I will make big, sturdy tomato cages.*
This year will be different. I will not ignore the flowers on the front porch and then wonder why they don’t thrive.
This year will be different. I will stake the peony so it will thrive during a gentle spring rain instead of lying devastated on the ground.
And so on.
In this spirit, I decided to grow lettuce this year. The great thing about this, besides the hope that I'll actually harvest a few leaves and not just feed the rabbits in the backyard, is that I can plant those seeds now, even though the ground is still cold, the grass is still brown, and only the daffodils and an occasional daring tulip have started to sprout. I planted baby kale and three varieties of lettuce seeds in the garden and garlic chives in a large pot.**
I stopped at the garden center to look at seeds, and ended up with six pansies as well. The garden center employee and I had the same wild look in our eye, the one born of a desire to get out and dig in the dirt but being unable to do so. He asked me if I knew how busy they are in the spring, a wistfulness in his voice that told me he, too, was at the end of a very long winter and, quite possibly, his rope.
And now we wait.
In the cold.
Right now, he is probably arranging the pansies in various ways, trying to find the one that will please the gods. I alternate between gazing out the window dejectedly and trying (and failing) to keep myself from looking up tomatoes. And coneflowers. And clematis.
I try to take heart in the cyclical nature of the seasons. Winter always leads to Spring. I know this in my head, but my heart is afraid that this will be the year that the cold that doesn't end and I am forced to buy tasteless tomatoes from the grocery. I look forward to being wrong.
*Using this video, if you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWsA80jfIyc
**My cousin gave me a start of garlic chives several years ago after making me promise to plant them in a pot. She had them in an herb bed, which rapidly became a garlic chive bed. I believe it took herbicide, flamethrowers, and some creative cursing to finally get rid of it.