Driving to Montreal for New Years, the long flat stretches just after the Vermont border were unexpected after leaving the mountains. Endless long white fields of snow with swirling clouds as a dramatic backdrop and it seemed that the curvature of the earth was visible against the horizon. In the city, we parked the car underground to avoid giant tractor sized snow blowers filling dump trucks, doing their best to remove massive piles of endless falling snow.
Back home to more snow, the woods trails I take everyday are now oddly unfamiliar. Fluffy pockets of fresh snow nestled in the crooks of branches contrast with the dark bark. Amber apples frozen to the branches wear snow capped hats. Most striking is the silence that snow brings, cushioning the earth with only the occasional chirp from the finches, chickadees and cardinals as they dance between the bird feeders.
I am mesmerized by the snow and stare endlessly at the garden, as if drawn to the white glare of a TV screen. The garden is my main view from indoors as well as out, in all seasons and I like the way there are “bones” in my design that anchor the edges: a tree in the center, borders of boxwood and arbor vitae. Snow has a way of smoothing out the landscape and brings a fresh perspective.
This afternoon I am preparing for my first garden talk of the season, that I will give in Boca Grande Florida next week. My talk will cover Herbs, Greens and Aromatics with slides of container gardens overflowing with ornamental edibles, packed with color, texture and nuance. I am forced to turn away from the snowy landscape to fill my vision with greenery and wishful thinking of the garden season ahead. Traveling south is a welcome break from winter in Vermont, yet I have come to appreciate that living in a climate with severe weather forces me to appreciate snow. I admire how it changes everything.
The key to surviving winter is to settle into what we have now, rather than yearn for the new garden season. To celebrate this moment, here is a poem by Wendell Berry, posted by from fellow gardener and friend, Margaret Roach from her blog Away-To-Garden.
What We Need is Here