Like a splash of water on the face, as we stare at our future in the mirror, the first of the year revives us. Or that is the illusion, perhaps, reflected in the dim mirror of the winter solstice.
New Year’s resolutions arrive, appropriately enough, when the sun arcs its lowest horizontal path across the northern hemisphere, robbing us of the light of day. Possibilities hang before us in the air, like the next twelve months of our lives. What shall we do when we turn from this mirror?
New garden designs gather in the mind, along with dancing sugar plum fairies. New cultivars bewitch us from their frames in the new plant catalogues. A sense of togetherness grows stronger, in spite of family holidays or, perhaps, hopefully, because of them.
And what about that body underneath the face? Sure could use more stretching, bending, squatting, kneeling and pulling than it had last year. Am I right?
Sandwiched between the ears is a lot of white and an uncertain amount of grey matter. Let us bone up this winter on our plant knowledge and garden methodology. Also, an inventory or even just a meditation on our tactics would help. Tactics are unconscious—“second nature”. Therefore, like the memory palaces of old, running through our spring and summer routines, and anticipating our long-held habits, rarely hurts and always helps. “The toe bone’s connected to the foot bone, the foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone” and so on, all the way up to the “sun bone”. Somewhere in all that are garden bones. It is a good idea to memorize them too.
At Heronswood, we have been hacking away at the new catalogue underbrush. Soon it will arrive, gleaming, on your door step, tossed by St. Fiacre’s newsboy. The rational, sometimes joyful, sometimes onerous work of creating the mouth-watering new cultivars is over. We continue to test shipping container endurance—bang-up and freezing temperatures. Only you will be the final judge.
Want to save money? Grow a vegetable garden in full sun. Want to feel deeply satisfied? Grow a perennial garden, or a series of them here and there throughout your yard, back and front.
Hungering for a sense of togetherness or simply a connection to your neighbors? Join a local garden club. Or haul your family out into the yard and create your own version. Organize a garden block party—it may not be easy at first, but neither is spinning class.
I have said before that air, water and sunlight comprise the greatest show on earth. Moreover, a garden seems to focus the main New Year’s resolutions in one time and place. It is both simple and elegant. Plus, your life will never be the same after taking on a garden.
Gardening beats worldly vices to a pulp. Even some metaphysical vices as well, but in my post catalogue partum depression blues, I cannot recall which ones. Or maybe the garden confers so much a sense of grace and redemption that virtues simply replace the empty spaces the worldly vices left behind. Thank God.
Long live the garden resolution revolution!