Friday, March 12, 2010
I'm hesitant to actually say that spring is here despite all the signs I've seen: a female cardinal gathering sticks to refurbish her nest in the azalea bush; the buds of my oak leaf hydrangea; a weed in my winter-dead lawn; and the green haze of the oak pollen casting an eerie sheen over my car. In my excitement of warmer weather I even made a new skirt that has very wild flowers in aqua, lime, marmalade and fuchsia to go with my pink Converse tennis shoes (the ones with the lime green laces). I'm no longer fantasizing about knitting a fisherman sweater out of 100% wool, but instead am planning my sock selections for easy portable and cooler knitting.
However, I am resisting the urge to go out and plant flowers. My grandmother always told me to "wait until the ides of March" to plant. She said that anything planted prior to March 15th would die because there will always be a last frost. Once you get past the 15th then plant to your heart's content (unless of course Farmer's Almanac tells you to wait again.)
It's odd that I am happy about spring. I love autumn and winter and don't tolerate warm weather well at all. But this past winter has been exceptionally cold. We had a week where it never got above thirty-five degrees Fahrenheit and the nights were in the lower twenties and upper teens. (Don't laugh all you northern people, that's down right bitter for North Florida.) But for some reason seeing Mrs. Cardinal back in my yard made me smile and get that giddy feeling that this oppresionable weather might just be over. I'm thinking of things I want my gardener to do (gardener = my brother who gives me a very good rate on mowing my lawn). I'm thinking of what I want to do in my garden beds and all the work I should be doing this next week to prepare them.
Which brings us around to cooking (because this blog is supposed to be about knitting, cooking and writing and not just me rambling on about miscellaneous topics). I've outgrown my herb box. In fact my herb box is falling to pieces and needs to be replaced. This past year my brother (the aforementioned gardener) cleared out a ton of brush that was growing out in front of my house. I have this grandiose plan of paving that area to make a front porch patio. Behind all that brush, bracketing my front door, were two very long brick planters. Oh, I knew they were there, but they were never accessible. Now I can walk right up to them and they are screaming to be very long herb boxes. I'm imagining regrowing my rosemary hedge and bushes of basil. I want to actually have my own sage this year and I want to give the thyme room to creep like it wants to. I'm imagining bees buzzing around my lavender and lemon balm and pots of peppermint scattered around the patio.
There is just something wonderful about growing your own herbs. Your food just tastes better when the herbs are fresh and they come from your own garden. Spaghetti sauce just tastes richer when it came out of the garden just minutes before being thrown into the pot. All the essence and fragrance are still clinging to them and your fingers smell delightfully of rosemary and oregano. It is satisfying to be able to say, "I grew this sauce."
So come on Spring. Persephone awake from your underground captivity and bring the sun back with you. Sun warm the Earth so it will allow the plants to thrive. Let the air blow sweet breezes and the rains fall gently. I'm ready this year, so bring it on!