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It's Always Summer at the Garden Centers
by Eleanor Tylbor
by Eleanor Tylbor


Eleanor Tylbor has been a freelance writer and columnist for more than twenty years. A resident of Laval, Quebec, Canada, she began her career as a columnist writing for weekly papers and continues to freelance a column covering local news for “The Chomedy News.”

She has also freelanced articles for Internet sites in addition to providing human-interest pieces for various dailies, and is a monthly contributor to the site, sharing her humorous observations and gardening-angst with gardening aficionados.

She is now into balcony gardening.

Blog The (Somewhat) Complete Gardener

January 11, 2009

I've just about "had it" with this winter and I command it to go away. Depart. Disappear and vanish like a bad memory. Since early November we've been experiencing bone-chilling temperatures that have made venturing outdoors an adventure in itself. It's of the open-the-front-door-and-make-a-mad-dash-to-the- car type weather, and anti-freeze has taken on a whole new meaning. The weather channel has predicted there will be a respite from the frigid numbers and for a change, the prognosticators appear to be right. It's slightly milder but it's my opinion that warmth is a state of mind, anyway.

However (it's always the "however" in life that get a person down)…the break in the cold will be replaced by the forecast of five inches of snow. Given the choice, snow is a more appealing option…not that we're given a choice about these things as you well know.

Knowing that it will still be a while yet before we can slosh around our gardens to assess winter damage, alternate coping mechanisms have to be found. Normally, I wouldn't divulge this information but since we all in the same wheelbarrow so to speak, there are creative ways to stave off yearnings of the green kind. Maybe a bit extreme and unorthodox methods but a person's gotta do what a person's gotta do, right?

At least once per week I hop on over to the local garden/renovation center and drool (in the philosophical sense of course!) over the flower seed displays and gardening equipment. I pretend that the temperature outside is in the 60 degree plus range and my red cheeks are from sunburn and not frost bite. The heavy boots covering my feet are actually gardening galoshes and the gloves in my pocket aren't really for keeping my fingers warm, but to protect my hands and nails from getting dirty.

The seed packets with colorful photos of favored flower species offer a reverie of things to come. Sentences like "for sun and shady areas" take me to places I want to be, but can't. As I recall the sun is that yellow globular object in the sky, which shines on a clear summer's day? It's been so long one tends to forget these things.

"Sow in Spring or early summer," assures me of the growing season to come, of working the soil with a hoe instead of having to clear the front walk of snow with a shovel.

"Loosen soil with rake" is a far more pleasing option than having to break up encrusted snow and ice blocking the entrance to the driveway, with a pick axe.

"Moisten seeds with a gentle spray" is a pleasant task compared to removing the salt from the car surface while hosing down the car in garage, and getting soaked in the process.

From my perspective there are more and more signs that winter is on the way out. The snow blowers that were prevalent in December and January are slowly being replaced by lawnmowers. Is there anything more satisfying than sitting on the 'can't-have-but-can-dream-can't-I' expensive tractor models, and pretending to cut a swathe across the lawn and waving to neighbors? A note of caution, here, when doing "the wave" in the store since this move can be misinterpreted by onlookers.

"A customer at the We Got It All Garden Center was detained today, after refusing to get off a tractor lawnmower on display. She was released, however, after a family member was contacted and explained that this was a normal pastime for her during mid-winter madness.

"We let her do this every year at this time," the family member told store management. "It helps her deal with not being able to garden."

For a real thrill my visit culminates at the display of outdoor barbecue equipment and cooking utensils. Closing my eyes real tight (very tight) one could almost imagine hamburgers sizzling on the grill, accompanied by the heavenly aromatic smell of hotdogs. If there's nobody around, occasionally, I've been known to try on the chef's hat and flip a couple of the plastic display hamburgers – just to keep my flipping wrist flexible, you understand.

Meanwhile, the weather channel has amended the forecast somewhat, and is now predicting a return of the frigid arctic air towards the middle of the week. Seems outdoor swing sets for adults are on sale this week according to a flyer, in addition to a clearance of backyard pools. Last one in the pool is a nerd!

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