Sunday, November 21, 2010

Timing the gardener's year: the pre-catalog season

The garden is put to bed.  All the bulbs are in the ground, all the beds dug, even the hoses are put away.  The last chore, done yesterday, was heeling in the few unplanted potted divisions.  Other than raking the never-ending litter of leaves and branches from the neighbor's weeping willow and topping up the bird feeder, there is little to do outside.

Although I have some indoor work (potting-up fuchsia and autumn clematis starts from cuttings) it is way too early to start seed, too early to even have received the catalogs.  And, in fact, recent years have brought fewer seed and garden catalogs by mail than previously.

Catalogs are expensive, I guess: expensive to print and expensive to ship.  Using the internet is cheaper, more accurate and makes it much easier to compare offerings.  Further, even those catalogs still sent aren't due until after the holidays. Sad.

There's nothing so wonderful as laying in bed with a stack of catalogs, planning next year's garden.  Looking over last year's is no substitute.  Once so treasured, they've become too familiar.  The very sight of their dog-eared covers makes me long for their successors, anxious that these replacements might not even be sent.

This restless boredom, this anticipation are bad signs. I'm afraid it's now officially the most miserable time in the gardener's year: the post-gardening, pre-catalog season.

(How much worse it will be when no catalogs come at all.)

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