Monday, December 17, 2012

Gardening and the seasons... #1




The seasons have always enchanted me... I grew up in a four seasons part of the world where the day I'd first smell spring in the air was one of the most memorable events of the year. Stepping outside brought a sense of something remarkably different... spring surrounded me and the world even sounded different... the melting snow sent little streamlets gurgling wherever my eyes would wander. This thrill has been a part of my life ever since. I still look forward to finding a spot out of the yet chilly southernly breeze and sitting to soak up the warmth of the sun after the long winter. Spring in many parts of the world is mud season when narrow dirt roads suck in the wheels of your vehicle as if you were trying to maneuver on quick sand. Walks along the highways reveal the inconsiderate waste thrown from passing vehicles along the sides of the road... hidden previously by mountains of snow... as children we would walk miles collecting glass soda bottles for their 2 cent deposits and would buy ice cream cones for a dime at the old general store, scooped from large cardboard containers and a utensil that always was at the ready, sitting in a container of water, awaiting us making our 'free money' purchase.

As a youngster, spring meant the running of the sap in the maple trees and hours spent with my grandfather and a team of Belgium horses pulling a large sled with a cistern atached, collecting the tubs of sap hung from maple trees that covered our many acres of mountainside... it was delicious taken straight from the tree and how I loved hot dogs and eggs boiled amongst the bubbling 'almost syrup' that infused our lunch prepared in the huge evaporator where 35 gallons of sap became one gallon of 'Grade A Fancy', the faintest shade of amber.

As a gardener, spring is the time when I scour the earth... looking for any new sign of life peaking from the soil. I am forever amazed the the variety of birds that grace our gardens for a short respite on their migratory trips north. Here in Wisconsin, spring is the time of geese all around our property by the thousands and sand hill cranes in groupings of as many as 40 birds in the fields that surround us, amazing us at their sheer height, as tall as many humans.

In the photos above, it is easy to see that a well-chosen flowering crab can be a garden asset in all seasons. This selection is "Mary Potter", a plant that is generally wider than tall. With appropriate pruning, it remains interesting in all seasons and never has disease problems, probably due to its sargentii heritage.




The pictures shown here are of another area of our gardens which are actually quite unexpected and private for those who visit. Inconsistencies in these photos relate to the fact that our gardens are constantly being changed and renovated... for me that's a major part of the fun. I was thinking and remembering a time as a young child when I awakened to the first snow of the season.... totally unexpected, it was an amazing sight, very much like in the photos above with heavy and wet snow clinging to everything. The memory has remained with me for well over fifty years as I was a youngster when it happened... it could have been yesterday, its picture is so fresh in my mind. I remember where I stood at a second story window and all the details including the heavy snow on the power lines 200 feet from my vantage point. The only difference these days is that I always know when the snow is expected, but it strikes me that these first big snowfalls are every bit as exciting as the first days of spring. Unlike summer, there can be an immediacy in the transitions to winter and spring, with fall changes lying somewhere in between. 

We have gotten lots of rain so the snow pictured in my last two posts is totally gone... however, a possible 6-12" is forecast as a good possibility in the next few days. I really should stop listening to the weather reports... they really usurp the thrill of sudden changes in my gardening world.

I wanted to mention that I truly appreciated all the comments on my Christmas post (see below if you missed it). There were just short of 1300 visits to the post which is very gratifying for me. The mentioned first two concerts were this past Saturday and I couldn't be more pleased with how the family I direct did... I feel truly blessed.

Again, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and true joy throughout the year. We live in a very difficult world as I'm sure you are all especially aware of this week... it can easily steal our joy if we allow it to happen... I sometimes think the only solution is to love and pray more and more, and to touch lives in whatever small ways we can...

Thinking of you, Larry


Sunray Gardens said...

It's really nice to see the differences from season to season. You really got the snow so far. I know you'll see a lot more yet. It does make for some lovely photos.
Cher Sunray Gardens

Beth said...

Larry, You definitely touch a lot of lives in positive ways. You have a great testimony for Jesus and what He has done for you. Glad the concerts went well! Merry Christmas to you and Sarah and all of your boys!

Pam's English Garden said...

I haven't visited for a while, Larry -- my loss! Your crabapple tree looks amazing at every season. Have a blessed holiday! P. x

Carolyn said...

Your post has inspired me to be better at taking repeat shots during different seasons. The effect is quite magical.

Alistair said...

Larry, I very much share your pleasure in the four seasons and never tire of the views of your wonderful garden. Its pop bottles that we collected and got two pennies for them. I took the opportunity to also check out your Christmas post and left it with a good feeling in my heart. Thank you for the support which you have given me over the last couple of years. Myra and I wish you and your family a very happy Christmas and good health in the coming year. Alistair

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