“The soil is the great connector of our lives, the source and destination of all.” – Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America
Winter is a time of hope for gardeners. It is during these shorter days that we easily forget the weeds and pests of last summer. Our minds take us to warm summer days, to the flowers and produce that we have long anticipated. I spend these quiet days in the garden dreaming of fresh tomatoes and the lure of colorful bouquets. As if in answer to my musings, the garden has begun to show signs of new growth, with pale green shoots that are emerging all along the edges. The young shoots of sedums and crocosmia are some of the first to appear in the garden borders, while the veggie gardens have answered in their own stead with sprouting radish seedlings and favas that slowly ascend the trellis.
I seize on this new growth with a vigor of my own, knowing that now is the time to divide many of the garden perennials. Dividing plants is not for the faint-hearted. It can look harmful and painful for the plant. However, some plants need to be divided after many years of growth. They signal this by a lack of vigor, little flowering, or the leggy appearance of a plant falling over on itself. In cutting through the older growth, we induce some stress, which triggers the plant to respond with more vigorous growth. Knowing this, I have been busy dividing the clumps of crocosmia and sedums in the garden. By dividing plants, I also replicate and increase the number of those plants in the garden. I plant this increasing bounty throughout the garden beds and pot up much more as gifts for other gardeners.
Dividing perennials continues to ground me in the reality that stressful situations can stir growth. Change is inevitable in this life, and coping with change and, in fact, flourishing from it is a lesson I take from the sedums who so faithfully grow with each division of my spade. I’m learning to see change as an opportunity to stir the pieces of myself that have become stifled over time, to ignite my own growth.
I have been scattering these broken pieces of plants around the garden, creating networks that flow through the landscape. I picture planting the pieces of myself with them, hoping in this way to mirror their call of division with resiliency. These divisions continue to grow each day, and I continue to hope and dream of the spring that is to come. In the meantime, I breathe in all the joys of the garden, whether it is the growing garlic scapes, the lush harvest of radicchio, or the colorful bouquet of hellebores. I’m learning how resilient all of life is, and that we are, in fact, part of this resiliency, this yearning for growth resides in all of us.
– With Love from the Garden, Shannon
Farm to Table
This month, our tasting room menu features the following items from the Brooks Estate Garden: carrots, scallions, garlic, mint, parsley, honey, beets, and jalepeno.