Memories of the Garden

It’s a bit depressing out in the garden right now. The dusting of snow that fell yesterday has melted, returning the damp, dull brown that has muted the garden since late October. We’ve had so few sunny days, it seems miraculous and almost disorienting when rays of light do stream through the windows. The lack of snow and sun has me craving the spring garden and we’ve yet to reach even the new year. Memories of this year’s garden that linger indoors are all that keep me from packing for a tropical vacation.

One collection of memories rests on my bedside table, greeting me each morning and bidding me good rest each night. The centerpiece is an arrangement of heart-shaped coleus. Every few weeks, I need to pinch back the hundreds of coleus plants growing in my makeshift guestroom greenhouse. Instead of disposing the pinched foliage, I place the larger of the cuttings in small vases of water. Not only do coleus make beautiful bouquets, they will last all winter as they root easily in water.

Dried seedheads of grasses and perennials fill a tall vase behind the coleus, another reminder of the growing season just passed. The light turquoise glazing of the vase and tan hues of the dried plants mirror the color in the window drapes.

A jar of dried Gomphrena flowers retains the bright purple color that graced the front edge of this year’s driveway border and brings out the fuchsia veining in the ‘Strawberry Drop’ coleus.

The living still life at my bedside is rounded out with a small Moss Rock, a tiny moss garden inset in a ceramic rock. The Moss Rock reminds me of the wonderful, new friendships I’ve made this year through this blog. It was given to me by David Spain of Moss and Stone Gardens whose acquaintaince I made in Chicago this year.

With the warm, grey start we’ve had to winter, I’m not hopeful for a picturesque dormant season in the garden. Perhaps it will pass quickly, and I will soon be laying belly-down in my garden photographing the first sprouts of spring bulbs. Until then, I’ll rely on memories of the garden — living and dried — to sustain me.

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