A Winter’s Rest

Winters in the past have always been a dreaded time of the year for me, although as an enthusiastic gardener I realize that it is a time of rest for Mother Nature. She performs so majestically from the very first vibrant hints of spring by producing greening grass and small, tight buds bursting from our trees, indeed proclaiming that a time of rest was well received. But there is another thought to ponder about this situation. And that is the deserved  “break” for the gardener as well.
I do not have the garden availability that I had a few years ago to plant delicious, health giving vegetables and robust flowers And what once was a domain of “more than enough room” to plant anything and everything I so desired (and the energy to execute,) has now  become precious  limited space due to a downsizing move.
However, with the arrival of this colder season upon our heels, I can say that I have successfully planted my spring bulbs, brought in all of the garden “art” that will not survive the  clutches of old man winter, emptied my water fountain, and thrown away all dead growth from plants that have said their final goodbyes. But I do have a thing or two I need to finish before that first accumulation of snow.
But you know what they say. It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings- (and she hasn’t even entered the building.)
Hence, planning for next year’s gardens begins, and the good news is this chore can be done comfortably from my easy chair.
So, I have started my winter journal and
Have decided to do a few things somewhat differently for next year.  In the flower bed in front of my entrance door I have placed a row of round Creek-bed rocks with a space in front of them where I will plant a row of red geraniums that will offer great color all season long. That will be my palette. Next spring I will search the nurseries for my very first Knock-Out rose. I have never cared much ofr roses( I realize that is quite odd), but after seeing a neighbor’s outstanding specimen last year, it’s something I have decided that I must have. Also,  I have some wonderful galvanized buckets that I have accumulated from friends and flea markets. I will expand my herb garden and feature one bucket of each of the herbs I use most in my cooking, where they will sit on my patio within easy reach.They are parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. ( Remember Simon and Garfunkel’s 1966 hit song?) 
A few weeks ago in a popular gardening magazine I saw a picture of a vintage dresser that had been painted and “weatherized” with all four drawers pulled out,soil and fertilizer added, and  plants bursting in color from each one. ( Only a true flea market gardener would ever attempt that). The outcome was admittedly different, but certainly an eye catcher and quite pretty! This I may attempt.
Last year I was introduced to a stunning plant called Million Bells. Although it comes in a few different color selections, I ended up choosing the purple ones.They are reminiscent of petunias, as they are great for containers and trail beautifully, but the blooms are much smaller and delicate and have that added attraction that everyone wants to know what they are. Ask your nursery person for information or Google them on your computer and you will be amazed! This plant will definitely be a repeat in my plans for next year.
I have two white rockers on my secluded patio where I was known  to sit among my flowers and quietly read or just take in the sun. I just may change that to a small bistro table and chairs and enjoy more of my meals there, possibly inviting a special friend or two. Well, I seem to have a good start on planning my spring show. By changing things as well as adding more ideas through reading magazines and seed catalogs,  I certainly will be well on my way with my long winter agenda. The challenge will be fun.
Now…I think I heard someone clearing her voice…it must be time.
Baked Fish with Herbs
3-4 pounds of a white fish ( such as halibut or cod)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 teasp. Thyme
1/2 teasp. Rosemary
Sprinkle the herbs on the fish. Wrap in foil and refrigerate for 1-2 hours
Preheat oven to 350
Then place the fish In a lightly greased baking dish. Brush both sides with melted butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste
Bake for 40 minutes basting at least once with melted butter halfway through baking time. Fish is done when thickest part flakes easily with tongs of a fork.
Serves 4-6
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