Late February and early March in Vermont, the time of year when cabin fever begins in earnest and (depending on how cold it it’s been), a deep craving for growing green things takes hold over the plant obsessed population. It’s no different for us here at Arcana, except that we have the antidote right at our dirty fingertips. By now, many of the seedlings planted in January and earlier this month have sprouted, the flats of onion and leek starts are several inches high, and the first round of basil and dill looks like pure luxury to our green starved senses.
Left to Right: Dill, artichoke, and basil seedlings in different stages of spring growth
In the perennial overwintering greenhouse many of the plants are already beginning to break dormancy (thanks record breaking warm February), and some of the hardier plants are even in flower right now. The warmer section of the greenhouse contains benches full of our prized but tender rosemary, most of which are blooming right now. It gets hard to get stir crazy when you can walk in, brush your hand across a plant and release the smell of the Mediterranean around you.
Left to Right: Blooming ‘Gorizia’ rosemary, Hellebore ‘Midnight Ruffles’, and a hardy mix of Hens and Chicks
This time of year at Arcana is the season of potential, when we can see daily progress of our work in the greenhouse, when the hardier perennials we overwinter in the greenhouse start sending out new shoots and flowers, and the excitement of our winter dreams starts to take hold. We start to see the future in floral-tinted glasses and imagine all our dream projects coming to fruition this season in glorious technicolor. There is freedom in this season of potential to dream and create something better and different than what we have known, to visualize a better way to get things done at the greenhouse. It is that familiar bubbling feeling of spring fever that gets us ready for the busy spring and summer ahead. We all know that not all of these dreams and ideas will come to fruition or end up the way we first imagined, but that never keeps us from dreaming and creating in the hope that this is the year that it all happens.
Primula x polyantha ‘Supernova Fire’
It might be coincidence that this feeling rises to a fevered pitch following the NOFA VT winter conference, but after a whole weekend of networking, being introduced to new ideas, and the wealth of inspirational speakers and presenters (shout out to my personal hero Vandana Shiva) everyone has green in their eyes and a renewed commitment to our work. This year we are looking into more ways to connect our work in ecological gardening with the wider community. All I can say is that there are a million ideas swirling around right now, but hopefully this year we can start putting some of them into play through workshops and other fun events.
Until next time!