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Blog #3 To Nature: Happy Valentine's Day

Can you believe it is February already? January has passed by very quickly for me and now is just a blurred memory of cleaning up after the end of 2012 - straightening the office and filing paperwork, taking down holiday decorations and trips to fitness classes in my attempts to shed a few of those Christmas pounds. As deep as my passion is for gardening and plant collecting I do appreciate a little down time to complete these tasks and finally put 2012 to bed.

Like most things in nature we rest in the dormancy of winter restoring our strength, recharging and preparing ourselves for the beginning of a fresh year. Now that the New Year has begun I am embarking on new tasks –new courses, new designs for clients and placing new plant orders.

All ready it is February 14th, Valentine’s Day. As a result of the commercialization of this particular holiday ever since I was a young girl I have fallen victim to the constant reminder that we are supposed to give and receive flowers, candy, chocolate and cards with declarations of love and that on THIS DAY it was almost mandatory. It was only later on in life did I realize that if I did not partake in the celebration the world itself would not cease to spin. In fact I realized that something else much grander begins to happen all around us. During the next few weeks nature will also start her own new beginnings – plants putting out new roots, flower buds formed last summer will be opening soon, while new leaf buds will be flushing out with spring’s arrival. As a somewhat more "mature" woman I now begin to look at Valentine’s Day in a whole new way – a celebration of the love of the ever evolving seasons.

I know I am not the only one with this revelation, the wiser and more aware among us have figured it out long ago. Chaucer’s ‘Parliament of Foules’ also talked of the association of the coming of spring. The poem is written from the narrator’s point of view and tells the story of a dream he had where he went into a garden only to come across some birds having a parliamentary debate about which one would be the better lover and could ultimately seduce the female bird. Chaucer generalized that all “love birds” look for their mate in the early spring, humans included.*  In fact, most of the early love poems where of men being represented as birds singing songs of love and that spring time was the beginning of their new relationships thoughts of reproduction.

All ready I am getting calls from different associations with requests of garden related presentations. Everyone in the gardening community seems to be letting go of the dreary, dreaded January and busying themselves with plans, research and purchases of their own. The coming of Spring awakens humans and nature alike, making us realize in just one more way that we are indeed one in the same. We become more alive, energized, ready to get out there and do something, create something and continue once again … to grow.

Yes, I too shoveled two feet of snow off of my deck yesterday and is it going to snow again this weekend? Maybe, but heck, who cares? It’s almost March, it won’t last for long. The sun is rising higher in the sky and the days are getting longer, encouraging plants to break dormancy. I am hurrying the processes by bringing forsythia and pussy willow branches inside to force them into bloom in vases. Just one example of human and nature helping each other and we, as one, are coming out of our winter’s slumber and starting anew. Sharpen your tools, get that greenhouse up and running and start those seeds… the time is here!

​Pussy willow, Salix caprea

​Forcing Forsythia branches indoors

Witch Hazel flowers in spring - ​

Hamamelis virginiana

*Chaucer’s 'Parliament of Foules' is a brilliant literary piece that may have revolutionized the way women and their role in society were viewed – but that’s for another blog all together.

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