Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Turning of the Year

Tree Relatives

Outside my window
bare bones of maples
stretching in seven-degree air
the same as yesterday,
alive still
despite cold and drought,
my honored companions
standing like sentinels,
stalwart brown angels
seen through glass,
easing my spirit,
these dark days of winter.

My greenhouse is standing open and empty, gathering all the cold weather to itself. For several months it has grown me a wealth of greens: lettuce, spinach, arugula, beets, and kale, as well as the bonus of chickweed when I want a vitamin-rich volunteer. But it is important to let the greenhouse rest and get purged with deep cold for several weeks before I fill it with spring starts. So now my refrigerator is full of bulging bags of harvested greens that should last me until the end of March, and the greenhouse is exposed to Iowa cold. Already there have been several nights with single digit temperatures, and that's just what I was hoping for. Eggs from the aphids that started to get a hold in there last fall should succumb to the deep freeze.

During a warm spell in January, I planted 21 kinds of perennial medicinal seeds, plants that need a period of cold to germinate. More than a hundred large gallon pots are lined up in a sheltered place behind the garage, full of soil and an exciting variety of seeds. Some of the pots are planted with tree and shrub seeds: Elderberry, Witch Hazel, Spicebush, Hawthorne, Tree Angelica, Paw Paw, all offering valuable medicinal qualities. And then there is Agrimony (from which I hope to make one of my favorite flower remedies), Black Cohosh (such a powerful healer), Myrrh (I can't wait to see what this looks like!), Bearsfoot (a new giant plant that promises to be a good salve-making ingredient), and three kinds of Rhodiola - Scandinavian, Russian and Alps (loaded with immune boosting qualities).

I sit here with cold and snow outside and imagine some morning in April when I will go out to check on the planted pots and catch the first sprouts venturing into the sun and warm air. Patience is hard in February, letting nature take its time as the year turns toward spring.

No comments:

Post a Comment