The time is coming to think of spring planting. Farmer and town gardner alike peruse this years seed catalogs with careful deliberation. Shall they stay with an old standby or try a new variety? Succulent color pictures do much to lure one into planning a large vegetable and fruit garden.
Those ruby strawberries are so tempting to eyes and tongues jaded by winter fare. Bushy heads of green crisp lettuce lure the unwary as do golden yellow carrots and crimson beets. Fruit trees need only be planted to bear bushels of juicy apples or pears. (It does mention spraying and pruning, but in small print.) And look at the cherries!! Can you imagine a pie oozing their sweet-tart juice hotly steaming from between golden brown crusts?
For a while the seed catalogs take the place of the mail order Wish Books. The family lists flowers and vegetables instead of dresses and shoes. Once more you compare, consider and select till the order is complete and sent.
Flowers run riot in every size, color, and kind. You want masses of marigolds for borders, and the larkspur must do better this year. Add primrose and baby's-breath because Grandma always grew them and mums for fall show. There is a rose tree specially priced and you've always wanted one. Maybe a pink rambler for the back fence and at least three bushes need replacing. How the order grows!
Some of the nicest people I have been privileged to know have been gardeners. My grandparents, farmers as they were, took time to have a flower garden. Grandma was particularly proud of her "pineys" (peonys) and had a long bushy row of both red and white ones at the front of her garden plot. Her sweetpeas scented the air all around them and she grew strawflowers to dry for winter decoration.
There is a comfort in gardens whether they be flower or vegetable. It may be the smell of warm, damp, cultivated earth or the coolness of green growing things. Perhaps it is the elemental call of Mother Earth to the offspring with which she has so nearly lost touch.
Ma always had a bit of garden for fresh vegetables. I loved picking lettuce with the early morning dew on it. Green peas fresh from the vine pop into the pan with a sharper ring than do those bought from a store. Cooked with tiny new potatoes in milk swimming with butter and laddled into soupbowls, they make a banquet.
Cucumbers I could never pick for my arms broke out clear to the shoulders from the fuzz on their leaves. But I pulled carrots, twisted lush tomatoes from their vines, and stripped milky corn from its squawking wrappers eagerly, knowing how I would enjoy them on my plate a short time later.
Seed catalogs carry us on wings of fancy to the summer's end and a wild harvest. We forget the labor of planting, weeding, and spraying; forget, too, the ravages of rabbit, , grub, drouth,or rain storm. We order with abandon and plant lavishly in a haze of enthusiasm, giving to the good earth the seeds it loves and returns to us in radiant form of flower and food stuff.
Even the catalogless are temped by racks in the stores to plant in garden, dooryard, windowbox, or juice can, answering the elemental urge in all of us to grow something.