After developing an old roll of film I found these photos from the first few weeks of Ginkgo’s 2011 growing season. The beds look empty, like they do now, but there is life starting to reappear on the cherry tree and the rhubarb has self-started. The herbs don’t wait for us to unlock the gate and the mint in particular seems to care less about what we do.
It’s hard to acknowledge that the work is done for the season and that, while some of us may make mid-winter visits to the lot to aerate the compost or tend to this or that, we as gardeners are a seasonal crop too. We lay dormant and wait to be invited back to life.
Looking at these photos is therapeutic when confronting Chicago’s winter. Many people develop strategies to deal with the months of cold dark solitude– planning trips to upset the monotony, signing up for that knitting workshop, developing a reading list. This year I am looking at these photos to remind myself that it all comes back soon. There are no green leaves on the raspberries anymore, but the ground is not dead. All winter long the soil keeps working, replenishing itself, breaking down organic matter in the compost bins, insulating the fig trees, keeping the cover crop company.
So why should I feel dead come February? NAY! I choose life! Replenish Myself! Egg Nog, Hot Chocolate, Mulled Wine, and Mountains of Wreath and Reindeer Shaped Cookies To Bolster My Own Vitality! Overcoat Insulation! And keeping acquaintances company to help them replenish themselves and stave off the doldrums.The garden has returned to a horizontal landscape for the winter. No tomatoes and peppers and sunflowers sticking up, but looking at these photos reminds me of where the season begins and I cannot wait for Spring.