2018 was an incredibly busy year: huge work projects, the unforeseen move out of our rented apartment plus other life stuff that just happens. One side effect was that I neglected routine medical check-ups, which one should never do. Early in January I learned that friend of mine, same age as me, died of cancer. I was shocked to learn this news and it finally jolted me to make those overdue check-up appointments.

Shortly after my general and heart check-up, during which I learned that I still have low blood pressure and am in good health (the nurse practitioner said “you can really call this a blessing”), I decided to check-up on the vegetable patch. I had not been back since I planted some cover crops in late fall. When I still lived in Stuttgart, I would check up on the patch in winter even though the garden was dormant, but the change in commute time and dark winter drives deterred me this winter. I checked on the status on the plants, how did the field-, batavia-, endive- and winter salad develop during winter season? I took some pictures for the blog of the vegetable patch and the garden.

Then I harvested one row of the field salad. After less than twenty minutes I was ready to head out again, back to all the other things demanding my attention. Fortunately, somewhere in the back of my mind there was a nagging feeling that I should stay and just quietly enjoy the garden for some time, especially after having been away for so long. I managed to stop myself, walked from the wooden exit gate back to the top of my vegetable patch, and set a timer on my phone for 30 minutes. This might seem to go against the “enjoy the moment” sentiment, but I find it much easier to meditate or enjoy quiet time like this with setting the timer. If I do not do that, I spend the time worrying about how much time has passed, if I need to get going, or when I should be heading out, instead of relaxing.

Shortly after settling in my spot overlooking the garden and its surroundings, feeling the early spring sun in my face, listening to the birds, letting my sight wander around and taking deep breaths of the fresh air, my heart suddenly starting beating faster and faster. At first, I got a bit worried, feeling my heart beating so vigorously in my chest, then I reminded myself that I just had the check-up and was congratulated on my excellent heart health and blood pressure. And then I realized it was actually the happiness and contentment of being back in the garden that accelerated my heart like this. It started to slow down again. I had this feeling that I often have when gardening: that someone/something is pulling on my heels, which seem to hover above the ground, down into the earth, literally grounding me. After those 30 minutes passed I felt completely relaxed and serene, as well as very relieved that the new gardening season is starting back up again. Only then I realized how much I missed growing plants, vegetables, fruits and flowers during winter.

I love this the view over the garden gate, when I arrive. I am always curious to see how the vegetation has changed. This early in the year its beautiful structure, created by my garden friend, can be seen best. The stone steps divide it into two areas, with a terrace on either side. The upper left one provides sun during spring, while the lower one on the right side offers shade during summer and warm fall days. The stone walls on the right side create three separate beds and lend a scenic background to many my photos.

Close-up of my vegetable patch: green field salad, red batavia lettuce and purple sage.

 

First field salad harvest 2019. We collect the containers from shopping, stock them in the garden shed and re-use them for our harvest during the gardening season.

 

Next to the red batavia salad, the leaves of spring primroses start to surface.

 

In my active imagination, the winter salad to the right looks like a knight in front of his castle, while the two salads on the left side are ladies-in-waiting in awe of his prowess…. Can you see them too?

 

The mullein is “stretching” its leaves, while the hen and chicks succulents in the background have taken up residence at the beautifully constructed stone wall.

 

This garden shed holds all our tools, there are some bags of compost in front. The large walnut tree belongs to the neighbor, but also offers our garden plenty of shade and a fair share of nuts in fall.

 

The lower garden gate is only used when green waste is taken out of the garden and the car with the trailer needs to be pulled up close.

I am so looking forward to sharing the new gardening season here! New updates will be posted on Thursdays.