One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

Winter Time

This weekend I’ve found myself thinking some about the passage of time.   Not in a particularly melancholy way, though.

Perhaps January allows us just enough time to slow down and look around and think things like, “Huh, it’s only been just a month since I potted up this amaryllis bulb.” or “Wow, I’ve been rubbing this cat’s belly for a bunch of years.” or “Gee, this is our third January living here at the Nest.”  and “Dear god, how long has it been since I cleaned along the baseboard in this room?”

The start of the  year always inspires me to reflect on the past, or dream about the future…and cold, cold winter days sometimes inspire very little beyond snuggling down under a warm kitty and doing just that, although I can attest to that being a much more satisfying pursuit if you tend to some housekeeping first.

The calendar isn’t the only thing to inspire my thinking, though.

Just three years ago, during our first winter in the Nest, I had – as is my and many other peep’s post-holiday custom – a box of Clementine oranges (to fill me with sunshine and ward off scurvy!) and one of them was a bit seedy.   I am a gardener who’ll accept a challenge, though and you may recall that I saved the seeds and was growing a trio of tiny tree seedlings.     Two of them have not survived, but one remains.

Here I present to you my darling Clementine, just three years old and exactly two feet tall.

I’m not sure if it will ever bear fruit.  I expect this is possible, though it will require some research, something else January can be good for.  But in the meantime, it’s a fun reminder/notation of Time’s passing, just as I can look at the size of my “Easter” cactus and remember how tiny it was  when I bought it shortly after moving to the Cape thirteen winters ago.

You can see, if you look closely, that this little tree already boasts some scary-looking thorns.    I’m reminded of a tree I knew a few years ago, which grows in the garden I was tending in Eastham when I first started this here bloggy thing.

I’d pegged it for a citrus, possibly an orange of some variety, based on the leaves.  Since I was still in shock at the time about having a peach tree, I never thought much about whether an orange tree would be hardy hereabouts.    That small tree was hardy enough to grow leaves each year, though it never bore any fruit.   And that tree did have bigger and more dangerous-looking thorns which were otherwise quite like my Clementine’s.

I wanted to compare this tree against a photo of that other.   That one had a thicker trunk, but was only about a foot taller.  My knowledge of who gardened on that site and when suggests probably it would have to have been about twenty year old, no doubt very well established.  I’ve been looking through the MG archives this afternoon, in search of that photo but to no avail (except of course, the search also helped to pass a little time, too).

I’m sure there’s at least one image of it somewhere.  When I stumble upon it, I’ll be sure to share it here.

Meanwhile, there’s little else to say on this chilly winter afternoon.  I hope each of you finds a moment or two for the luxury of reflection (or a little light dusting, if the spirit moves you).

For those who have only frosted windows to peer out of and no indoor garden close at hand, I offer some sweet flower porn to warm your eyes and help you imagine the steamy, humid gardens of high summer.

Stay warm and keep smiling!

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.

Any fool can do it,  there ain’t nothing to it.

Nobody knows how we got to the top of the hill.

But since we’re on our way down we might as well enjoy the ride.”

James Taylor, Secret O’Life

(Thanks to my pal Lil for putting that song in my head this morning as I was pulling this post together.)


Comments on: "Winter Time" (4)

  1. You know it’s funny to read this post today because I was just looking at my little Orange tree tree today thinking, ” Wow that thing isn’t lookin too good, I better find out what it needs”
    This is one thin that I like about winter; time to think. When the rush of Spring comes upon us I hardly ever have time to do much but keep up with what’s already on my plate. Ahh, but the winter… time to think about next season; plan; brainstorm new ideas; browse the seed catalogs.
    The Amaryllis is looking good by the way!

  2. A citrus tree! From seed! I’m impressed. I didn’t know Clementine trees had thorns.

    Our snow/ice is melting down here in The South(TM). Everything is brown and drippy. There are still patches of ice in the shady corners.

  3. “my darling Clementine”?

    You just had to, didn’t you? :)

    But of course! :D

  4. I grew a small grapefruit tree from a seed a few years ago. It also had wicked thorns, and I learned from somebody or other that the dwarf varieties meant to be grown indoors have had the thorns bred out. Chances are your Darling Clementine won’t grow fruit unless it gets to be a big tree like the one it came from. That’s the other benefit of the dwarf varieties, they’re bred to grow fruit on a smaller scale. Just curious, have any of the leaves fallen off or dried up? When I crushed old leaves from my little plant, they’d smell strongly of grapefruit. That was an unexpected pleasure. Give it a try.

    I’m feeling the nesting impulse too, even if it’s a bit stymied in my case. January does inspire introspection, doesn’t it.
    The two which didn’t survive dropped plenty of leaves, but I never thought to sniff them. Clementine’s good about hanging on to hers, tho I’ll keep this in mind for the future. Not providing fruit, but something like potpourri might be a fair swap.

    Good luck with your nesting impulses.

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