Garden Lifestyle

Winter Ruminations

Today is the last day of January--and we are in the thick of winter weather here in zone 7 Maryland--days barely in the 30s and nights in the teens---bbbrrrhhh!

Here are some seed and plant catalogs that I will be ordering from. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.
Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger

Today is the last day of January–and we are in the thick of winter weather here in zone 7 Maryland–days barely in the 30s and nights in the teens—bbbrrrhhh! Tomorrow is the first day of February which is a month of many notable dates not to mention the lengthening of days and the stirring of spring! This weekend is Imbolc on the Irish calendar and it is the celebration of midwinter.

We gardeners know that spring is just around the corner when the garden catalogs start piling up. I get a cursory glance at catalogs when they come in the mail, however I tend to look at them while eating lunch, or after supper when the stove is stoked and I can sit down by the warmth of the fire for a bit, relax and peruse.

I like to circle certain plants and seeds as I dream of this year’s garden to be, folding down edges in the various catalogs, so when I seriously get ready to order I will know where to look. In the meantime, I do wood chores and keep the stove going 24/7 since there has been snow on the ground for weeks now, make warming winter dishes and grow sprouts and ferments on the kitchen countertop.

This weekend in the celebration of Imbolc as well as the Celtic goddess St. Brigit, who represents Fire of hearth, Forge and Inspiration. She is Patroness of smithing and livestock, as well as poetry, arts and crafts and medicine. St. Brigit’s eve is tonight and her celebration day is February 1st, though Imbolc is celebrated through February 3. It is celebrating midwinter and marks the turning of the seasons–now we can welcome the gradual return of spring.

And Monday, February 2 is the Full Snow Moon as well as Groundhog Day. Will Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow or not? Regardless, I know that we have another 6 weeks of cold weather before we can seriously think about gardening. Well don’t forget your Valentine on February 14–I’ll post a delectable recipe to prepare for the ones you love. We mustn’t forget the Presidents–Lincoln and Washington both have birthdays this month, which are mutually celebrated on Presidents’ Day, February 16th and then the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Sheep begins on the 19th. Sometimes, I think the calendar is thus planned so that we are distracted from the winter weather.

The winter is a time for reflection and turning inward, getting things done indoors and sometimes it means just napping or reading or taking the day off. My hibernation tendencies sure have kicked in. However, I am in the thick of planning the 2015 calendar and right now, springtime herb events.

Since Savory is Herb of the Year for 2015, I will be promoting this tasty, and underused herb across the country. My first program this year on Savory will be at the 20th Annual Herbal Forum at Round Top, Texas on March 21. The theme is “Savoring Herbs” and you can print out the brochure from this page:

Although, I do grow summer savory (Satureja hortensis) from seed, I usually buy a plant or two of winter savory (Satureja montana) or start cuttings from a friend’s plant. I’ve been looking for a creeping savory which I saw at the U.S. National Arboretum last year, as well as a lemon-scented one–both of which are offered in the new Richters 2015 catalog–so I will be making an order from them for sure (of course we have to wait for the temperatures to be well above freezing to ship).

There will be lots of savory celebrations this year and the International Herb Association’s Savory, Herb of the Year 2015, will be hot off the presses any day now. See an excerpt of the book here:

Here’s a savory recipe and an article on growing Satureja from previous posts: /item/15993/savory-recipe-homemade-salsa-with-black-beans-and-corn, /item/12652/summer-savory-in-the-kitchen-garden.

I’ll post a favorite warming winter bean dish with savory in the next few days, which should help you get through the cold days of February. Keep warm. Think savory. Think spring.


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