It’s no secret that I love gardening! When the spring season arrives, I’m more than ready to get out into the fresh soil and prepare my gardens for growing.
The smell of the earth always does something good for my soul.
I still get excited when I see fresh perennial herbs shooting up from the earth once again, when tender young seedlings appear from newly planted beds of beans, potatoes, cabbages and cucumbers.
Satisfaction runs deep when I see a freshly thinned and weeded row of carrots, harvest the first peas or fresh dill of the year.
In the fall, my full gardens make me feel wildly rich…and perhaps a bit overwhelmed at times!
When the year comes to a close and I put my garden to bed for the winter, I always feel a bit sad and relieved that another year has gone down in gardening history.
The past few winters, I’ve begun forming a peculiar habit. It’s not one that is often praised or recommended in gardening circles because of plant disease and such. But I love it (and practice crop rotation, so I don’t have to worry about disease!).
I leave dead stuff in my gardens all winter long.
Oh, not things like tomatoes, cucumbers, pole beans and other vegetable types that are dreadfully annoying to clean up in the spring.
I like to leave things that make me feel whimsical and are a reminder of what was.
Snow covered cornstalks are one of my favorites because they remain erect and strong even in the deepest days of winter.
But I also like leaving dead things in my garden because they draw life back to an otherwise lifeless garden scene. Plants that have gone to seed (like dill, hollyhocks, calendula, echinacea and such) draw in hungry little birds.
I’m happy to see them feed on leftover bits from the garden.
In the winter, I don’t even mind if my dead plants and their seeds feed the little mice who live under the logs in my kitchen garden!
Somehow, these dead plants become beautiful to me. And they inspire me as I spend my winter months planning for next year’s garden.
Does it make for a bit more work in the spring?
You bet! All those old stalks and stems need to be pruned back to make way for new life (and in the case of herbs, to make it easy to harvest new growth).
But on these long winter days, it feels like it’s totally worth it.
I have dead stuff in my garden. And I like it!