Snow Shovels and Nasturtium

February 10th, 2016, 4pm

I hit “Enter” listening to the scrape, scrape of a snow shovel clearing the sidewalks of ice from the last snow-rain-sleet of a winter slush storm. I’m now retired and rent, so someone else does the shoveling!!

“Enter” will bring me seeds for the latest iteration of my Weed Garden: this abandoned, tree root invested, full sunlight lacking, plot of sandy, nutrient exhausted soil. Weeds filled the garden when I moved here. After much digging, repositioning of rotting railroad ties, a sore back and aching muscles. I planted.

Lake Superior exhales her cool breath across the street, just over the dunes. She delays warm winds and wraps the garden in fog during early summer.

I’ve planted shade tolerant perennials gleaned from the gardens of friends. However, I must be selective since deer reagularly peruse the plot in the summer for delicacies. I hate to spray the plants with liquid fence, Deer-Away or the ingenious home brew concoctions friends have provided for me.

Two rows of rhubarb thrive. Other apartment residents enjoy it too. I freeze a number of quarts of rhubarb sauce each summer myself!

But, I want some color!

I’ve tried a number of annuals for mid and late summer color without much success. Last summer, on a whim, I planted a few nasturtium. To my surprise they liked the plot. So I scoured the Internet for as many different varieties of nasturtium I could find. There aren’t many. But I ordered some varieties from a seed supplier in Maine. I’ll add snapdragons which the catalogue says tolerate partial shade as an experiment.

And some pansy!

I always dedicate a sunny winter windowsill to starting plants from seed. This winter I’ll start snapdragons, pansy and nasturtium. This small garden on my workroom window sill helps speed the winter into spring! Little seedlings preparing for transplant to the Weed Garden takes the discouragement out of late Minnesota winter blizzards and grimy April mud.

As the shovel scrapes ice, I order seeds - with hope and yearning!

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Ken Jackson

An avid outdoors man. Retired and retiring, living on the shore of Lake Superior

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