I will admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed constructing this collection of winter wreaths. That they will be boxed and packed away until next fall does not bother me in the least bit. There will be a season for them-to come. Making them for a time yet to come has made me think about how gardeners invest their energy in a landscape or garden that will bear results some time in the future. Digging in tulip bulbs in unpleasantly cold conditions in late fall for the pleasure that is their blooming months later is a case in point. It takes time for a seed to germinate, and grow on. Hellebore seeds germinate readily, and unless you are a passionate hybridizer, you can let nature take its course. But that sprout is many years from its first flower. And many more years from a handsome mature clump. Most things imagined, worked for, and accomplished in the garden involves time.
No matter what you put to a landscape, you will do the time. There is no getting around this. I might plant a 10″ caliper beech, but I know it will be 10 years before that beech recovers from the shock of the transplanting process, and starts to grow. If I plant a 1″ caliper beech, it could be many more than 10 years for that tree to grow to a substantial size. There is no getting around an engagement with the future. The investment in the future of a garden takes planning, lots of grime, and patience. In my own garden, I delight in the things I have done by instinct. I love the texture and smell of dirt. I have patience for nothing, but for my garden. That’s me. Not everyone has an interest in dividends which pay an unspecified rate at some vague date many miles down the road. But by and large, I find gardeners are willing to invest themselves in a process of growing on that may take many seasons to bear fruit. I see evidence of this all the time. I think this willingness to bet on the future of a landscape is a characteristic I really admire.
Those gardeners who think through a landscape design, and sign up for installing that dreamboat of a garden one shovel full at a time – bravo. I know plenty of gardeners who have moved mountains with a spoon. The garden they hope will be is all about the promise of the future. No wonder spring is that season that delights every gardener. The work of the previous year is one year older. All of us who garden have a common bond. We dig as though we only have 10 minutes to live. And then we wait.
The waiting can be next to impossible to endure. There are those who keep on gardening, as if possessed, even when the day is done, and the sky is dark. There are those who plant a whip of a tree, and watch it, as if they could not bear to change the channel. I do not know any gardener who is happy about waiting. But wait, they do.
This wreath, which took an inordinate amount of time to design, and an endless amount of time to make, might be my favorite of this January series. I love seeing the grapevine structure, upon which all else is built. The bleached acorn tops and the preserved baby’s breath are just about the same color. The acorn tops are some lighter than the gyp. I cannot really explain how this arrangement of color and textures speaks to me-but there is no need. It is all there, to be seen. Look quick, as Sunne is ready to box this up, and put it in storage.
After taking this outside to photograph it, I hung it back up on a wreath hanging suction cup affixed to the glass of my office door. At the end of the day, I came back to my office. The suction cup had given way, and this wreath was face down on the floor. There is damage that will take a lot of time to repair. This is no different than all of the disappointments that dog gardeners routinely. Any investment can sour. Will I repair this wreath due to debut next fall-oh yes I will.
I have so enjoyed having my hands on a group of natural materials, and arranging them as I see fit. The making is all about the pleasure of this moment. As a gardener, the moment I put my shovel to the ground is as sweet as it gets. I am happy to report that I am in that winter sweet space, having a great time.