It’s catalogue time again, and there’s never so fair a garden as the one that grows during a blizzard–on the colorful pages of the seed books. The seedsmen ought to be subsidized by the government, because their catalogues bring hope of spring and summer to winter-worn folk. In the postmans’ bag lie orchards, and rose gardens, and acres of bouncing vegetables, all done in brown paper. And it seems a miracle to me that for a few cents you can buy beauty and nourishment, and I wonder what the seedsmen buy that’s half as precious as the stuff they sell!
“Now this year we mustn’t put in anything new,” said Bob.
But that was in August. And Jill, the gardener, agreed firmly, “No, there’s no room for anything more.”
That was alright in August, but in winter it never looks as though we had anything at all in the yard except two rather doubtful holly bushes, and a couple of little switches with cages around them which Jill believes are Seckel pears. Quite often we have planted new things eagerly in the spring right on top of what we set out late in the fall before. In many ways our garden is survival of the fittest. We don’t seem to be suited to the making of garden plans; not even Jill, the methodical one. She is always writing down in notebooks and I am always losing them, so if we had a garden plan we couldn’t find it.
~ Excerpted from Gladys Taber’s The Book of Stillmeadow.
There is nothing so lovely and dreamy as poring and planning over the seed catalogs, while our hopes in the garden lie deep and frozen under a thick blanket of snow. But for me, I must have a plan, and do plan the garden out on graph paper, just so I can squeeze as many plants as possible into our too-small garden plot.