How to stay sane

Rock Garden - dark and under water. Again.We are poised on the edge of the pit of despair (a.k.a. March). I know a lot of people choose to remove themselves from danger by visiting the tropics at this time of year. While I generally prefer to spend plane fare on plants I have to say that it’s probably a good idea, every few years anyway, to give yourself a real change of scene. Putting at least a good 1000 miles between yourself and your garden can only recharge and reinvigorate your interest in it. And there’s no better time than March because it’s the most diabolical month – generally too awful to be outside and with cabin fever inside reaching critical levels, March always feels like it’s about 365 days longer than it is. Plus winter interest is only interesting for so long. (And I’m someone who loves tree bark.)

Sweet pea 'Zinfandel' and 'Painted Lady'I do plan to put about 3000 miles between me and my garden (and Blithewold) later in the month but in the 102 days between now and then I need to focus on finding a few things that might keep me from falling down the rabbit hole. Sweet peas is one. Sweet peas equal spring and really all I have to do to maintain my equanimity is look forward to a sweetly scented June. We sowed 18 varieties yesterday. We went ahead and used the cow pots after trying a little soak test. The pots, even dry, pull apart more easily than peat and much more easily than coir. The one we have in soaking has definitely softened and we figure that we’ll just remove the pots when we plant like we used to with the peat pots. Sweet pea roots don’t like to be disturbed but we disturbed them for years with no ill effects.

Projects are another thing that can keep me from brooding so it’s a good thing that we still have gardens to design. I did preliminary sketches for a couple of the beds a month ago but now that the seeds and plants have been ordered, we can draw out some plans and plug our final wish list in.  It’s all about looking forward. And I’m still catching up on book, magazine and blog reading and am so grateful for that kind of escape right now. I’m all for being in the moment – you know me – but sometimes, like when it’s raining (snowing, sleeting, hailing, squishing) it’s more inspiring to spend the moment in a whole other time or place at least mentally.

Another project on my plate is putting me back in the moment the same way writing the blog does and hopefully will be the same kind of medicine. My first article as the new garden columnist for East Bay Newspapers was printed this week.

What will you do you do to stay sane through March?