June 11 ~
How I looked forward to June!!! I am never one to rush the seasons and am pretty patient with our very long winters and then the dangerous fluctuation between warmth and frosts...But here I sit-- INDOORS again. More rain...a LOT more rain. It rained most of last week too, when I was trying to get the gardens looking nice for my students. It was not up to my standards, but it was good enough. The day after was pretty nice and then...back to RAIN.
During class, I told my new batch of herb enthusiasts that I had a class plan, but that due to the weather, we would have to be flexible. Usually, a first class entails an extensive plant walk--including the vegetable garden. We popped out during periods of clearing, but I had to pull info from the next two classes in the series and sort of mix and match according to the excelent variety of questions they had.
Nature is predictable in its unpredictability, so we might as well learn to go with the flow...and it is the only real way to honor the natural cycle in general..and plants in particular. Our books tell us when we should optimally plant/harvest, but the reality often asks us to just do the best we can and make certain decisions. Some years we really should not harvest particular plants because they are not doing well or the weather renders them far from useful----we should just let them "be" ...rest and recoup and hope for better conditions next year. Sometimes, we can fudge a bit and still make use of plants under less than perfect situations. It takes some knowledge--- lots of patience and flexibility.
Working with and teaching about plants is not a cookie cutter proposition. Each year is different, understanding grows, opinions change due to experience, what there is to work with changes...students needs change. It is all a grand dance. Each year waiting to see what survived in the garden, mourning the losses of favorite plants...marvelling at the surprises, the volunteer plants you have no idea from where they came, having to be creative in using new, unfamiliar plants and doing without old standbys. It is dynamic and inspiring.
So, today, I have time to work on some herbal concoctions indoors, read a few plant magazines, and really look forward to the next sunny day...because I know the rain has prolonged the bud phase of many of my favorite plants (roses, peonies, mid-season lilac, meadowsweet) and that they will open to welcome the sun as I will. They have waited patiently. So can I.