Well, it’s January and the 2017 planting season has begun. I say this every year, but this is my favorite time of year in the garden. Well, not so much in the garden as in my imagination. This is the planning season, where we read through the catalogs, research the local heirloom options, and imagine a warm summer day where we’re picking our own apples, pears, raspberries, etc.
And perhaps what we grow in our imaginations is better than what we actually manage to grow on our tiny farm. For instance, when I’m thinking about the great Kale we’ll grow, I’m thinking about freezing it and dropping it into smoothies, rather than about the cabbage moths and their accompanying caterpillars who will inevitably leave the leaves looking like someone went at them with a hole punch. Bit of a downer really.
So I enjoy this moment of potential now. There are any number of new perennials we’d like to add. We’ll go with some and skip some others. I’d really like to try wintergreen for instance. We all know the flavor from the gum, I suppose. But the plant itself is useful. It’s an evergreen ground-cover whose leaves and bright red berries taste like mint. The berries stay bright and cheerful into the winter. The plant makes good tea and the leaves have medicinal value.
On the other hand, the nursery from which I had planned to buy the wintergreen doubled their price between last year and this. So maybe this won’t be the year. After all, if we bought everything this year, what would we do next winter when we’re trying to stave off the cold and the dark?
But we’ve already invested in a few newbies as well. Lingonberry, for instance. This is a low-slung winter hardy tart fruit out of Scandinavia. You can bet it won’t be bothered by our balmy New England winters. This cranberry like fruit is traditionally made into jams, cordials, and wine.
What else are we going to try? We’ll debate it all winter. We’ve been ogling the chocolate berry (Himalayan Honeysuckle) in Raintree Nursery’s catalog for several winters now. Maybe this is the year.
It likes a slightly warmer zone than ours, but that’s what south facing walls are for, right?
Do you have something you’re dying to try out this year? Let us know in the comments.