Today, no news stories, no politics. Just art…the color purple, in my garden.
Renea Winchester is the author of In the Garden with Billy: Lessons about Life, Love & Tomatoes. The National Association of Pen Women (Atlanta Chapter) recently named her the Author of the Year. Learn more about her work at www.reneawinchester.com.
It’s a miracle…an honest to goodness, bona-fide miracle. I returned from the plant sale without purchasing anything.
Well, I exchanged plants so that technically isn’t a purchase. The Roswell Garden Club held their annual pass-along plant sale at the Smith Plantation. In addition to being on the grounds of the plantation, the weather was beautiful. I had been asked to bring tomato plants from Billy’s garden and some of that super-duper organic fertilizer from last year.
A traditional part of the annual sale is the procurement of Hyacinth Beans which Mrs. Moses sprouts. For those unfamiliar with the bean, visit Botanical Interests here to purchase a pack (or ten). This bean makes the perfect “cover” for a hideously ugly downspout.
I plant mine in a container and allow them to climb the drab brown exterior. You can also plant them directly in the soil at the base of an arbor or trellis, or as Susan Coleman shows, at the mailbox. Isn’t that a great idea?
As the sale came to a close club members, knowing of my connection with Billy Albertson, allowed me to take several Ace 55 tomato plants home for free. I have no idea what this tomato would look like, but as y’all know by now, I love providing homes for unwanted animals and plants alike. I am happy to take the plant and if it produces share the tomatoes.
According to TheTomatoGarden.com I am in for a treat. In the photo provided from their website, Ace 55 tomatoes take a while to develop. Expect fruit in 75-80 days (I wonder why they didn’t call them Ace 75, but I digress). I should also expect each tomato to weigh 10 to 12 ounces.
Now we’re talking ! As you can see, this is a monster, weighing in at 12.5 ounces. According to the website, this particular variety is also an heirloom.
I can’t wait to make a space for it in my garden; or as Billy says, “lemme make a row.”
Whether it be flower or veggie, get outside and enjoy this beautiful day. And remember, keep those hands dirty.
Renea Winchester is a member of the Roswell Garden Club, the Atlanta Writers Club, the Georgia Writers Association. She is the author of In the Garden with Billy: Lessons about Life, Love & Tomatoes, and Stress-free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author. She is currently working on In the Kitchen with Billy. Visit her at www.reneawinchester.com
This Sunday, the extended “Spring forward” hours coupled with glorious weather encouraged most of us outside. Bird calls quickly disappeared beneath the roar of lawnmower, leaf-blower, and the dull hum of a distant chainsaw.
Dear Ones, we have entered Spring Fever Phase One. This is the time to turn the soil. Incorporate that last heap of organic material, leaf litter, seasoned manure and newspaper clippings into the soil. Cover it with a tarp to hasten decomposition.
On Sunday we also broke a commandment.
We worked. A soul-soothing, communing-with-God type of work we justified as boisterous exaltation, not burdensome exertion. Monday came too fast and with scratched hands, sore backs and a feeling of intense satisfaction we asked our children to twist the top off the pain reliever, and rub muscle cream on places we could not reach. Recognizing the arrival of Spring Fever Phase Two, we clamor to purchase seeds no human could possibly plant in one day. Scurring to garden supply stores (preferably locally owned mom and pop’s) we consider purchasing a shiny new tool, or just one more fruit tree.
Rest up my friend, Phase Two comes in a blink. A moment. A breath. Phase Two forces hard-core and newbie gardeners to prioritize. Things go undone. Important to-dos like laundry and vacuuming. Urgent tasks like pampering and preening. Never one for the mani-pedi routine, today I leave you with a glimpse of “worker-hands.”
Hands that touch the soil. Grow. Nurture.
Lately, I have noticed that each of us are born with worker hands. Some are soft and smooth, others…well, not so much.
What do your hands look like?
Are they wrinkled and spotted? Or are they polished to perfection? Regardless of appearance, our hands are the tools of our heart.
Today’s blog images are of tough-leathery hands that split wood and bust clods of clay; hands that knead bread and force milk from animals. Hands that some may identify as ugly, worn, old…useless. Hands that regardless of appearance, always reach out to a friend and, to me, are a thing of beauty.
What will you do with your hands?
Renea Winchester is the author of In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes. A traditionally published book that any book store can order upon request. In Billy’s area, books are available at Bookmiser in Roswell and The Book Exchange in Marietta. Visit www.reneawinchester.com to learn more.
I told the daffodils this would happen.
I warned them not to be in a hurry. Even though the Jonquils (which I call daffodils) in my yard are particularly strong, few plants can withstand gusty winds and below freezing temperatures. Years ago these plants had been ripped from the earth as they first appeared. These rescued flowers aren’t appreciated by developers who care not for their golden faces. Perhaps that is why I urge them to stay tucked inside Mother Nature’s womb until the time is really right for them to appear.
I warned them (in January) when they erupted from the earth eager to announce the arrival of spring that it was, in fact, not time. In previous years I piled mulch atop the greenery when it first emerged, a process that seemed to only encourage them. Today, as their tiny yellow heads hang in shame (they should have listened to their momma), I wish they were still nestled safely in the earth.
January and February have traditionally been a time of rest and rejuvenation for mankind. Instead, most of us have been more hurried than ever before. That, if I am truly honest, is why I wanted the daffodils to sleep until March. Knowing the frenzy of work that awaits, I needed permission to rest a bit.
Sadly, now that their petals are cold, I realize the possibility of a beautiful “traditional” spring has diminished. I won’t be sitting outside in March inhaling the fragrance of daffodils, and for that I am sad.
Renea Winchester is the author of In the Garden with Billy, and Stress-free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author. Currently, she is working on In the Kitchen with Billy and collaborating with an editor who is assembling a book titled Ora Coleman’s Legacy. She may be reached at www.reneawinchester.com
Ode to the Lime
Citrus Aurantifolia to be exact
Whose pungent aroma fills the air when plucked from the tree.
They wait, offering a treasure.
My own little eden, in the middle of a sprawling city.
I have tried not to love you, tried not to sniff the fragrant white blooms and coo at the sight of baby limes appearing in the middle of fall.
I am entranced. I am in love with you.
For the memories you trigger. That of visiting St Simons Island, meeting new friends.
Remembrances of sand and sun, summer breezes and serenity. Oh how I miss the golden community, especially now as the grey of winter approaches.
I smile at the memory. We carefully placed you in the car where you would ride beside my teenager for many hours, eventually arriving in your new home in Atlanta.
My golden remembrances have carried me through the summer and will linger when winter nips at the tips of the “outside trees.” You will be nestled safely inside in your new home. We want you to be happy here and create your own memories, with us.
A Rescue Mission, By Renea Winchester
Portions of this post were published in the June 2007 edition of Gardening How To
It pains me to see trees and flowers destroyed to make room for progress. One morning while on my way to work, I passed yet another old homestead with a bulldozer parked in front. A sign announced, “Here we grow again, homes starting at $300,000. Sadly I thought, another farm lost.
I’ve been known to slam on the brakes and pull over the moment I spot a daffodil in distress, which is precisely what happened.
I approached the property owner who towered over my mere five-foot tall frame. “Good morning!” I said cheerfully. “Please don’t think I’m crazy, but if the dozer is going to kill those flowers would you mind letting me have them?”
I will never forget the gentle giant who said yes. “Big Ed” granted permission to dig the flowers then graciously shared the history of the property. He grew up in the tiny house and, after his mother passed, the responsibility for the property fell to him. Unfortunately, due to escalating property taxes and family obligations, he could no longer keep the property. I explained my passion for daffodils. He nodded and said his wife also loved them but was in poor health. I offered a deal. I’d dig the flowers; he could take all he wanted to his wife.
I keep a shovel and trash bags in the trunk of my car. I have transformed my mid-size sedan into a modern day rescue mobile, relocating hundreds of daffodil bulbs from certain death. When I see property that is slated for development, I contact the owner and then begin digging fast as possible. Many times they say no, leaving me to mourn as the dozer destroys something I could plant at schools, and nursing homes.
Oftentimes, they grant permission. I then remove every flower and shrub from the property and find it a loving home. I leave no plant behind. My personal daffodil principle began in 1999 as a ministry to save my favorite flower. Today, I truly am on a mission to share beauty with others and relocate as many plants as I can in the process.
Happy rescuing and remember, get those hands dirty!