How To Have Faith That Spring’s Coming While Trudging In A Foot Of Snow: 7 Tips

– Posted in: Garden Design, Garden Musings

I feel like I’ve been living on Noah’s Ark for the past few weeks. Non stop thrashing pellets of rain. And sand storms.

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This has been one of the rainiest records on history for Israel. For a country that gets only 8” of rain a year, this is good news. Up to a certain point.

Because last year was so warm, I decided to get some sunflower and amaranth seeds sown early. A few dozen amaranths bloomed until a cold snap hit. The sunflowers germinated and in spite of the weather continued to add some girth and height.

I felt like I was seeing a sunflower for the first time when one bloomed. A glorious work of art that would make Michelangelo proud.  Bold, welcoming, and optimistic.

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For a few days it got a lot of attention. From the birds, visitors, and me. I hovered over it like a mother cub protecting her newborn.

Meanwhile what had been my highly anticipated early spring work in the garden was postponed.

I finally found someone with expertise in building green roofs (after 2 years) and was itching to get the construction going. I had visions of having everything planted up by mid-March (I live in a Mediterranean climate)  so I could start working on my cut flower/veggie garden.

Not to be.

I think it was after the 10th day of rain when I began to lose hope that spring would ever come.

It sounds silly, I know. But have you ever had that feeling? You actually wonder if you might not see the first signs of spring until May?

A few days ago I was writing a list of inspirational quotes on faith on my new blog, Awake Create.  As I was editing, the song “You’ve got to have faith” came to mind (thanks to George Michael).

It quickly became my mantra. Every time I hear myself singing it, a big grin comes across my face.

7 Tips To Help Keep The Faith

1. Sow seeds. A lot of you have already ordered and received your seeds. The rule of thumb is to know how long it takes for the seed to reach maturity and work backward from the last frost date before sowing.

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Good advice. But your ‘gardening soul’ needs some nutrition now.

So find some easy to germinate seeds.  A few sunflowers, tomatoes, or cucumbers.

Buy several 2” containers, sow the seeds, and place near a sunny window. Don’t have a sunny window? Get a grow light.

Watching the seeds germinate, grow, and mature is a simple and profound pleasure. It doesn’t matter whether or not they make it into your garden. Enjoy them indoors right now.

2. Buy some annual/semi-hardy plants like coleus, sweet potato vine, and strobilanthes. Take cuttings and root in water. Since I was a kid, I was taught to do it because it saves money.

And that’s a good thing.

But what we’re looking for right now is to get your juices going for the spring yet to come. Watching those roots form and grow is thrilling .Yet another magical gardening moment.

3. Treat yourself to fresh flowers.  Don’t rush and throw them into a vase. Slow down, turn on some good music, get a cup of tea, take pleasure in arranging them.

If you think buying flowers is a splurge, it’s worth it. And a lot cheaper than therapy.

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4. Read inspirational gardening magazines. I know…you’re heard it before. BUT, it’s true. Some of the great magazines are conduits to being creative in your own garden. And right now, they can be your lifeline to the  garden.

I’m a minimalist. But when it comes to the ‘best of the best’ gardening magazines, they have their own spot on my bookshelves. They’re like old friends— I return to them time and again.

5. Watch  movies you love that are garden themed or have gardens or landscapes in them. Jean de Florette, Howard’s End, and A Room With View always pull at my ‘garden heart strings’. They offer beauty, a sense of hope, and inspiration.

What are some of your favorites?

6. Spec. out gardens and nurseries…it’s never too early to shop. Compare prices, quality, inventory. If you want something a store doesn’t have in stock, see if they can order it for you.

The emotional high you get being surrounded by plants isn’t some folk tale. There’s a lot of research on how flowers affect your happiness factor. That has implications for your physical health as well.

7. Visualize your garden as you dream it to be. Sit with your eyes closed for 5 minutes a day and literally see your paradise. How does it smell, look, feel?

Experience your imagined garden as if you were  in it right now. If you practice this on a regular basis, you’re more likely to get the results you want in your garden. Plus, the visual meditation itself has some great physical and emotional benefits

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Photo: Courtesy of Locus Flavum

As I wind up this post, I see that there’s a break in the rain. Which means it’s time to get the dogs out for a quick romp before the next downpour starts. It’ll be good to smell the fresh air and damp grass.

I look out the window. My resilient sunflower is stretching itself towards the fleeting sun. All is well.

Fran Sorin

Fran’s book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, now considered a classic, was groundbreaking when published as no one had written about gardening in the context of creativity, spirituality, and transformation.

In addition to being a recognized garden expert and deep ecologist, Fran is a broadcaster, journalist, Ordained Interfaith Minister, and Soul Tender.

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Fran Sorin

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Donna March 3, 2012, 9:00 am

I enjoyed your seven tips and the lovely colors of Spring. Today, here in Niagara Falls, it is snowing, but will be almost 60 degrees next week. We have confused spring flowers. They do not even want to pop their leaves and buds out of the soil.

Saxon March 3, 2012, 12:32 pm

Anticipating spring means so many things. Here in California we begin the anticipation when the winter rains begin and this year we are on a pace for near record drought in some places. We are now well into spring and it will not be a good year.
But none-the-less the sun tells us to get out and enjoy, the nurseries are well stocked, and seeds should have been started weeks ago. Reading?, watching movies ? Now ?
Oh man, I gotta get away from this computer. I still have some “winter” chores to do and it is glorious out my window…

franniesorin March 3, 2012, 10:55 pm

Saxon,
You and I are lucky that we live in warm climates when it comes to winter. We pay the price for it during our arid summers. The folks who live in colder climates where their last frost date is in May (even Zone 6) don’t have the same jump start on spring. And believe me, we need all the rain we can get in Israel….I know we’re going to have an outstanding spring. I love your enthusiasm for the coming season and can’t wait to see what you show us through your lens. :) Fran

franniesorin March 3, 2012, 10:58 pm

Donna….HA! I know that feeling. I grew up in Rochester, N.Y. I remember one time in February that we had a shockingly uncharacteristic few days of warm weather….in the 60s. Of course, I and my friends were running around in shorts. The next week? a foot of snow. But when lilac season place came, it was worth the wait. Fran

Sam March 4, 2012, 9:56 am

With more than a foot of snow dumped on our peony farm this past week, it’s a nice break to see some thoughts on spring. I’ve some nice shots of peonies on my blog peoniesnorth-sam.blogspot.com.

alison mackinder March 4, 2012, 11:22 am

Living in Michigan means living with the seasons, and each has it’s challenges. Winter boredom can creep in BIG TIME right about now. Thank God for the web! What did we do before we had wonderful sites such as this to visit on these grey days? Thank you for keeping me inspired!

franniesorin March 4, 2012, 12:22 pm

Dear Alison…
I know how difficult it can be in very cold weather. A large part of my childhood was in Rochester, New York. Grey days and very, very cold and snowy winters. But as a kid, we don’t know the difference.

I sure do agree about the internet. It has opened up an entire world. I know longer think about skyping someone in India or England….who would have thought this would happen? I was just per-using Old Bulb Gazette and figuring out what summer bulbs I’m going to order. I’m already salivating over his dahlias and glads. Fran

Darla March 4, 2012, 1:11 pm

Love the vegetable garden in the movie: It’s Complicated with Meryl Streep!

franniesorin March 5, 2012, 8:33 am

Darla….
Thanks so much for reminding me about that movie. The vegetable garden, yes!! The house, yes. Her bakery and whatever else she sold there, yes.
And the 2 guys? I’m a fan of both of them. Boy….she certainly was surrounded by beauty.

A big smile just came on my face as I started thinking about scenes from it :) Fran

franniesorin March 5, 2012, 8:35 am

Gardencorner….
Good choice those Organic Gardening Magazines. They’ll get your eyes popping, especially when it comes to the veggies. Did you really play George Michael??? Fran