October 10, 2012
Upon opening a shipment of wooden plant labels recently, a wave of optimism swept over me. Planting a garden is a hopeful activity. Here in California, I’m starting a new season of gardening, actually my favorite season to grow vegetables. In the winter garden there are fewer weeds to contend with, rain showers do more of the watering and I like the vegetables.
Handling the New England white birch labels, I noted how very smooth they are. Do I like them because they are from New England (bi-coastal moment) or because they add a sense of order to the vegetable garden? Holding some of the wooden labels in my hands, I forget the disappointments of the recent summer garden.
Last winter’s lettuce and greens bed.
Familiar rituals add to the joy of growing a garden. After the beds are prepared, I sow the seeds and settle in the transplants. I relish the task of marking the fresh wooden label with the name and variety, date of planting and seed source. With some crops I reuse the labels and pencil in the current data on the back side, comparing planting dates. I look back and then look ahead, ever hopeful and expectant.