Feb 14

About Last Summer

I’m sit­ting here with seed and plant cat­a­logs scat­tered around—Plant Delights, Botan­i­cal Inter­estsBaker Creek, Cook’s Gar­den, John Scheep­ers…My Lee Val­ley 10-Year Gar­den Jour­nal is open to Feb­ru­ary. My Excel spread sheet plant inven­tory is open on my com­puter screen. The col­lec­tion I affec­tion­ately refer to as my Seed Vault is on the floor under my desk, threat­en­ing to over­flow into Seed Vault Two.

I’m bun­dled in a bulky sweater, fin­ger­less gloves and my warmest Ugg shoes. I hardly remem­ber what sum­mer looked like last year.

Potager in June

Potager in June

I know it was green. I’m pretty sure it was green. I remem­ber pick­ing toma­toes, cucum­bers, tiny mar des bois straw­ber­ries, Bright Lights Swiss chard. My hus­band and I spent many evenings under the stars fin­ish­ing din­ner and drink­ing wine, lis­ten­ing to the crick­ets and watch­ing the bats dart across the night sky. I can remem­ber the smell of freshly mown grass and basil pinched between my fingernails.

Gosh, my feet are cold. I should to make some hot tea.

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly

Zebra Swal­low­tail Butterfly

Oh yes, we had lots of but­ter­flies last year. Mon­archs, zebra swal­low­tails, east­ern tiger swal­low­tails, red admi­rals. I didn’t know the name of some of the but­ter­flies and moths but loved them just the same. I remem­ber won­der­ing why the mon­archs seemed so skit­tish and the east­ern tiger swal­low­tails would almost let me touch them.

celeste fig tree

Celeste figs

Oh, that’s right. All those celeste figs! So many I hardly knew what to do with them all. I stood next to the tree and popped them right into my mouth.

Maybe another pair of socks would help warm my feet.


Oh, the birds! That’s right. Our hum­ming­bird feeder had a lot of busi­ness last summer.

I should bun­dle up and go top off the bird feed­ers now. That bird­bath could use some hot water to melt the ice too.

Lemon grass in the foreground

Lemon grass in the foreground

So much lemon grass! I remem­ber I was glad I only planted one since it nearly crowded out the cone flowers.

And the aspara­gus was fill­ing in nicely. I think we can pick some more this year.

Asparagus berries

Aspara­gus berries

Ah yes. There was color too. Pur­ples and blues and oranges and yellows.


It’s awfully cold in here. Maybe I should just turn up the heat for a lit­tle while.

Oh, that’s right. It’ll be bet­ter soon.

(Click on the pho­tos to embiggen.)


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8 Responses to “About Last Summer”

  1. Carolyn Says:

    Doesn’t it make us happy to dive into the archives and see our warmer days pics! Wait­ing patiently for sun­shine here.

  2. Diane C Says:

    I’m so done with win­ter. I can only imag­ine how you folks feel on the East­ern seaboard.

  3. Sensiblegardening Says:

    I’ve never seen aspara­gus berries befor, did not know it even had them!

  4. Marian St.Clair Says:

    Figs and but­ter­flies and basil, oh my! You do know how to paint a pretty pic­ture. Only 32 days until spring!

  5. John Says:

    I did the same thing yes­ter­day. I dug out my gar­den pho­tos from over a decade ago. It was a blast to see how far the gar­den has come. Also, it’s nice to remind our­selves that win­ter is a tem­po­rary state. Seed cat­a­logs and pho­tos are life­savers. Here’s to spring!

  6. Swimray Says:

    It’s nice to look back (and of course for­ward) at this time of year. I am reminded that I still have a but­ter­fly post to write from last year, too.

  7. Nelson Says:

    WOW! I love the idea of plant­ing lemon grass in the gar­den. As this hum­ble grass relieves stress and insomnia.

  8. Joseph Farinaccio Says:

    Robin, you are a sum­mer girl after my own heart. I too love its sights, sounds and smells. Thanks for shar­ing these won­der­ful gar­den tid­bits from a few of your favorite things from last year’s warm grow­ing season.

Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, is now available from Taunton Press. Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.


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