My kitchen table sits next to a big bay window that looks out onto my backyard. I love to sip my morning coffee gazing out at the expanse of green surrounded by all manner of trees and shrubs. Crab apple, wisteria, potentilla, hydrangea, spirea, climbing roses. Their vivid colors against the lush greens fill my mornings with cheer. Isn’t it great to be alive? And, isn’t it amazing how many shades of green there are?
As the frigid cold descends upon Central Massachusetts, thank goodness for the evergreens. Rhododendrum, azalea, spruce, and arbor vitae provide a warming counterpoint to the bare gray branches that make shiver. Even when it snows, the branches of these backyard stalwarts provide a sculptural framework for sparkling white frosting.
Round about January I start to fantasize about palm trees. Tall and gangly, with a Dr. Seuss-like mop of foliage on their heads, they sway in balmy tropical breezes in time to the rhythm of steel drums while I lounge in a hot sun drinking fruity drinks with little umbrellas in them.
But I am not in the tropics. I am in New England. So, I sit with baited breath awaiting the arrival of the postman. In his bag should be the annual onslaught of seed catalogues. These books filled with fruits, berries, vegetables, and flowers entice me and, even though I know that my plans are bigger than my acreage, I devour their pages with hungry eyes. Vibrant reds, sunny yellows, rich purples – they compete for my attention. And I want them all.
Astronomical spring will be here in about 59 days, and perhaps the path to the backyard will be clear enough to be able to plant some peas, even if I have to start them in the cold frame. In the meantime, I am poised like a Pavlovian dog waiting for the postman to ring twice and set me to salivating.