- Eagerly await mail for seed and flower garden catalogs to arrive
- Bring in mail and start an ongoing (and ever-towering) stack of winter dreams
- Pile up all garden books, magazines, journals, and catalogs
- Gather a soft, snuggly blanket (preferably one that looks good against all my white fur)
- Get excited and open several catalogs and books all at once
- Oops! Remember you meant to make a cup of hot English Afternoon tea
- Wander aimlessly out to and about the kitchen
- Put the kettle on to boil
- Jump up in the bay window to look out over the koi pond to where the fish are sleeping–and to beyond to where the gardens are sleeping
- Bring tea (and a snack) to our favorite overstuffed chair
- Realize the sun is shining brilliantly through the windows
- Stretch, Yawn, (and feign a general disinterest in what she-who-holds you is doing)
- Settle in, get comfy, relax,
- Yawn and. . .
Oh my, Where does time go? Seems you’ve caught me napping. Just a quick bit of resting my eyes.
Really, I had all of the best intentions.
Herbs struck my fancy this morning (when I was up at the crack of dawn). Let’s see–we have Greek Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, Purple Basil, and Chocolate Mint that we brought in last fall. They’re on tray tables in our 3-season room, and we’ve put up “happy lights,” aka full spectrum lights, above them during this winter, their dormant season here in the midwest.
But really, I’d meant to write about all of the new herbs we’re dreaming about planting come spring.
Chives, “Allium schoenoprasum,” are perennials that can thrive here in our gardens. I don’t care for the strong smell of onion anything, be it red onions, yellow and white onions, scallions, shallots, ad infinitum ad nauseam for my sensitive cat tastes. But she-who-holds me uses them in her cooking. Note I said “her” cooking. Not mine. My tastes are strictly salmon and kibble.
Our focus here at Gardens at Effingham is all about growing and caring for our many flowers, trees, and shrubs that provide food, shelter, and nesting sites for our birds and insects. And I have to admit, I do like to chatter at the many birds when I watch them through the windows. I am, after all, an indoor cat (ah, the luxury of being tended to my every whim and need), but I get positively gleeful watching birds flit and flap, hovering and maneuvering through a veritable host of arial acrobatics. Delightful, if I do say so myself.
Chives are companion plants for tomatoes and carrots, (though not for peas and beans), though we don’t grow vegetables–yet. One never knows with she-who-holds me. She seems to love growing all things, great and small. But chives also repel Japanese beetles, which is seriously fantastic since we’ve got a rose garden 39 rose bushes strong.
And as if this weren’t enough to warrant planting chives, chives also repel aphids. Although I don’t know, she who-holds-me seems fond of the enormous ants that come to feast on aphids when our peonies bloom. For when the peonies split open, spilt flowers heavy on their stems, cascading papery flowers layers thick opening wide to the sun, it is the aphids who come first to the flowers.
The ants? They merely follow where aphids have already tread. Both ants and aphids seem integral to whatever balance of nature moves through the cycle of our peonies. They are both host to and hosted on, both reliant upon, dependent upon, a peony’s opening moment of joy, though both, in the offing, at the disposal of that who is next in line.
And so it is I’m both lost in thought and lost in the persistent feeling of that nagging ache of hunger in my tummy. The kibble bowl calls, and just for now, she-who-holds me can dream about what the future holds. My future is here now, in her arms as she carries me lovingly to my bowl. Supper’s on. All is well. And oh my, is that a yawn I feel coming on?
Most Affectionately Yours,