It’s twenty degrees outside, and I notice the freshly fallen snow covering the landscape as I gaze out my window. It is beautiful, covering every blade of grass and outlining each branch in brilliant white. When the sun finally peeks out from behind the clouds, the entire landscape dazzles, as if outfitted with millions of glittering sequins on the costumes of a chorus line. The birds are wistfully flitting from branch to branch, puffing out their feathers against the cold, as they search for their breakfast. The tracks of various wildlife crisscross the lawn making intricate patterns in the newly fallen snow below them. As I marvel at the beauty, I am struck with a single thought: It is the perfect day for gardening, armchair gardening.
In December, they start coming in droves, stuffing my mailbox full to the brim each day with their detailed descriptions and swoon-worthy photographs. I am talking, of course, about seed catalogs. Never am I more excited to see the mail carrier than I am at this time of year. The monotonous bills and solicitations are now sandwiched between glorious pages of sowing possibilities. Every seed company that I have ever ordered from, thought about ordering from, or have never heard of before, offers up their selection of tantalizing seeds and plants. All of which can be mine with the simple click of a button. Even though the weather is cold and the landscape is draped in snow, the arrival of my seed catalogs signals that it is now time to start dreaming of spring.
I take a seat in my favorite chair with a blanket across my lap, a cup of tea in my hand, and a towering stack of seed catalogs beside me. I am ready to start armchair gardening. As I begin to flip through the pages, I start to dream. Never does my garden look as good as it does right now in my head, before the realities of pests, disease, and uncontrollable weather dash my gardening aspirations. I am transported within these pages of the latest and greatest varieties, as they offer boundless possibilities. A new purple pea? A speckled pole bean? A multi-colored tomato? I want to grow them all! As I peruse each catalog, they start their seductive dance, wooing me with drool-worthy, brightly colored photographs, a welcomed sight during the grayscale world of winter. While I enjoy the welcomed rest and reflection that winter brings, I can’t help but long for the days when I can once again dig in the soil and spend time among my plants.
Soon, my list of purchases grows long, a mixture of dependable favorites and new, exciting varieties. I can almost taste the crisp green beans and sun-ripened tomatoes as I place each seed packet in my virtual cart. I vow that I am done shopping with each purchase as I realize that I can’t possibly find room for all of these plants in my garden. But then I am once again hypnotized by a variety that I can’t live without when the next catalog arrives.
Now each day when I open my mailbox, I find not only seed catalogs but also handfuls of seed packets. Did I order all of these? A slight feeling of guilt sets in as I realize that I may have gotten a little carried away with my armchair gardening. My seed stash is starting to overflow. No matter, I am giddy with gardening possibilities. I let my mind wander as I envision harvesting bushels of beans, canning dozens of homegrown tomatoes, and picking abundant flower bouquets. I imagine snacking on sun-kissed pea pods while bees and butterflies dance among the blooms. I will dream all winter long of what next season’s garden will bring.
So, until the garden I’ve dreamed of can be planted, I will continue to sit comfortably in my armchair and imagine all of the possibilities. Enjoy this magical time by immersing yourself in the pages of seed catalogs and dare to dream of a garden full of possibilities.