Grubbing Around in the Garden

One day every body is complaining about snow and winter, then, the minute the temp sores to 50 degrees, suddenly it’s spring and all is forgiven.

At least that’s how it was this past Sunday.  And Monday. And even Tuesday.

There wasn’t a piece of green to be seen on Sunday. The rain, wind, sun took their turns appearing throughout the day, and the warmth was a pretty fragile one. But it was enough to pull people outside and make them feel giddy. I closed my lap-to, opened the door to my office, pulled on my gardening gloves and grabbed a rake.  I was so tired of those brown leaves and besides, I was dying to see what was going on beneath them.  Here’s what I saw:

A few nibs of chives poking out of the withered strands that froze months ago.

Thyme that looks fleshy instead of merely dried.

The first red shoots of lovage —barely visible to the uninterested eye.

The first sorrel leaves to appear.


This may not look like salad to you. But in a few weeks there will be a garden salad that will include, along with the lettuce still under safe cover of remay, one or two snipped chive blades, a few torn sorrel leaves, probably not the thyme, but perhaps a tender lovage leaf. And despite the snows and freezing nights to come, this tiny bouquet will be enough to launch both spring and summer. This is the wild joy that the maglie calcio poco prezzo garden promises every March. And even though I’m heartily tired of brown, I rather love this time of year because every day there’s something new poking up and leafing out, usually plants I’ve forgotten about. I stare at some leaves and remember, oh, the agastache!  The daffodils. The wild strawberries. The little signs of life appearing, taking hold. It’s like seeing old friends and it makes me just as joyful.

What I’m wondering, though, would these tender shoots and leaves be happier with their blanket of leaves left to cover them a little while longer. Or can I take them off? Tell me if you have an answer to this because I really want to know. I suspect the leaves should stay, but I’m really eager to see them go.  Thanks in advance to any words of wisdom.

5 comments to Grubbing Around in the Garden

  • How exciting!! I took a walk last week and how happy I was to see crocuses, violets and cherry blossoms blooming like mad. 🙂

  • I’m as excited as you. We don’t get the snow here but finally we have sun and that makes all the difference.
    I suspect you should leave the cover over your tender greens until you are sure frost is a thing of the past.
    The farmer brought the first snap peas home yesterday! Spring is coming, without a doubt.

  • Thanks Candi!
    Today I’m not so excited as it’s snowing like crazy and it’s the end of March!
    My greens are always covered until frost date. It was the leaves I was wondering about, but
    I’ve gone ahead and started raking or I”ll never get it done. Thanks for your advice, and lucky you, snap peas?? You must be in California!

  • k8y in oz

    It’s so encouraging to read about those little green shoots and your salad plans for them! This morning cycling down my street I was counting the oaks with leaves that had started to turn, and enjoying the new crispness in the air. March in Canberra is all about the last tomatoes and fat little pumpkins. It’s nice to read about your northern spring as a reminder that the earth keeps turning and will bring us through the coming winter…

  • I’m not sure I can even hear about the last tomatoes and turning leaves! But I can and it’s good to get that sense of our revolving seasons on opposite sides of the planet. And in six months I too will be delighting in the crispness of the air!
    Thank you for your note.

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