The Winter Gardener

I am beyond thrilled to introduce my brilliant younger sister for a new series of blog posts! We may have to come up with a new blog name… Any ideas??

We have reached new heights of winter denial. My sister (following more than one family tradition) is writing about gardening, and I am typing her words as a four-foot drift continues to grow outside my back door. I think there’s much of the same back home.

Undaunted, we forge ahead, through knee-deep drifts.

So, without further ado… please join me in giving a WARM welcome to Gerber Gardens! Take it away, sis:

I’m moody today.

Perhaps not the best way to start a blog, but I’m just coming from a January weekend with temperatures in the high sixties. It’s now Monday, there is a layer of ice on everything, and the forecast says that by Wednesday, the temperature will be negative five (and no, that’s not the wind chill). Welcome to Kansas weather and the roller-coaster of being a Kansas gardener.

Fellow Kansas gardeners will now nod their heads in understanding.

“Ah, yes, we all fall for the January-warm-spell trick.”

The temperatures begin to feel like spring, and avid gardeners, ever hopeful, put on their spring boots and head outdoors to dream of this season’s pickle-perfect cucumbers and four-pound tomatoes.

Burpee catalog list

I, myself, spent a good two or three hours on Saturday, wandering around outside, drawing plans in my head. “Here is where the berry bushes will go, and perhaps I’ll try growing pumpkins in the ditch this year…” All the while, delusional geese flew north overhead, and poor, confused clovers pushed up through the warm soil.

… but now it’s icy, and we’re supposed to get four to eight inches of snow.
… sigh … So put the mud boots away and forget trying to get the rototiller out. Even frost-tolerant spinach seeds won’t grow in this.

Every year gardeners fall for the same trick. Their dormant daydreams begin to flow, they take inventory of their seeds, and they forget that it’s really the middle of winter in Kansas.

in good company

I say, God bless the heart of a gardener, always hopeful, always eager, always willing to accept and nurture the slightest signs of life.

Welcome to my gardening blog. I’m Annie, younger sister to Debbie, wife of Drew, and mother-to-be of my first child, whose name is yet unknown. I come by my love of gardening honestly, with my mom teaching us early on that bindweed must be pulled up slowly to get the most root, and that peaches taste best with warm, July juice running down your arm.

I suppose I should add that my reason for writing this is that I have found that gardening awakens in me the philosopher, the scientist, the hippy (in the sprouts-on-your-hummus-sandwich and whole-grain-sesame-seed-granola way), and at times, even my favorite aspects of myself. So, I hope that you enjoy my successes and failures during this gardening season, and I’ll try to keep my following posts QUITE a bit shorter.

gardening books... for starters

Happy snowy week, all… Keep the garden dreams toasty warm.

13 Responses to “The Winter Gardener”
  1. mom says:

    You done good! Grandpa would be so proud.

  2. Shelly Carlson says:

    Welcome blogger!! I love seeing your pictures with your mom- inspiring!

  3. Annie, your warm descriptions had me imagining my fingers in the soil. Thank you, thank you, thank you for adding summer sunshine to the blog.

  4. Annie says:

    Thanks everyone! Drew told me last night (responding to my reading yet another gardening book) that I would become a master gardener some day. Then he followed with a question… “how does one become a “master” gardener?” I responded with my only hope….. “make lots of mistakes!” So far, we have two years of ruined potatoes, only I’m not sure what we learned from it, except that maybe we’ll try something else! Anyway, this is fun!

  5. Karen Wolfe says:

    Way to go, Annie! I am sitting in a hospital room with my beloved, looking out at the frigid landscape of Colorado, and gardening sounds lovely to me…we still have hopes of adding a little greenhouse to the garden shed this year. I’m wondering if my cold frame veggies, so close to going to the table, will survive the -10 to -20 degree temperatures of this week. Gardening brings out the hopefulness in me, too.

    • Annie says:

      I love God’s heart shown in gardening and in the seasons… times of dreary waiting, but never without hope, without looking forward, without the sureness of coming life.

  6. Pat Larson says:

    Loved your blog, Annie! I look forward to reading more from you.

  7. We continue to pray for you, Mom W, after this morning’s scary events. Thanks for the encouraging words, even from the hospital. You are very much in our thoughts as we wait for news.

  8. Suzette says:

    Okay…I was following along just enjoying your gardening wisdom…and there it was!!! You are the MOTHER-TO-BE of your first child!!!?!!!!??
    Now, shouldn’t you have given us a heads up on that first?!
    Or maybe I’m just one of the last one to know…
    Either way, CONGRATS!!! 🙂
    Great news! God’s blessings!!!!

    • Annie says:

      Thank you! We’re about 16 weeks now, and not showing (how frustrating!). FINALLY starting to feel like I want to eat again. As soon as I’m showing we’ll get pictures on here. 🙂 and Suzette, really nice to hear from you! How’s your fam?

  9. Reva says:

    Annie – how fun. You are a sunbrowned woman and mom ( almost) – oh that makes me squeal! That Burpee catalog got me excited – did you already order? Can I join in the order if I want?

  10. Kate Cooper says:

    Thanks for adding to the blogs Annie. You and Debbie certianly provide a life line to this homebound mom. I too look forward to starting a garden. Even if I know that by seasons end I will probably kill it all.

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