Answering Earth’s call back to the garden after light winter


When the growing season is over each year, my sisters and I (all avid gardeners like Momma before us) are bone weary and so happy when our flower beds go to sleep after we’ve toiled for months on end. We look forward to the rest winter brings. Gardening is hard work, but so rewarding.

But soon enough, the Earth calls us back to the garden.

We didn’t have much of a winter this past year, so the call came sooner than I anticipated. Droves of robins and cedar wax-wings descended, gobbling up last season’s berries, and the finches soon arrived. It is enough to make your heart stop with the wonder of it all.

The perennials from last year began to push back through the earth a little sooner. So there was nothing to do but go around and examine each bed, looking for more signs of life. The scent of fresh-turned earth is one of my favorite smells.

The koi and goldfish came back up to the top of the water garden early as well. They must have sensed something, too. The sky was bluer, the air fresher and the birds’ songs sounded like a symphony in my garden.

My to-do list began to grow. I needed to plan where seeds should be planted. I was still thinking about that chutney made from my first crop of tomatillos last summer. I needed to refresh the nesting baskets for the birds with bits of yarn, feathers and moss.

I had only recently begun to clean out last season’s flower beds. I always like to leave my dead perennial stalks for the birds during winter. It might look a little untidy, but I know it’s the right thing to do when I see the birds eating away at the seeds they need. After all, my registered Backyard Wildlife Habitat Garden is planned and planted for my feathered friends and other critters that find shelter and food there.

I knew that my sisters soon would be calling or emailing to tell me the number of blooms on their clematis, roses or viburnum — a habit we picked up from Momma.

Spring brings renewal in the garden and in your soul. You can see God’s handiwork everywhere; we are only the caretakers.

Genia Morris Floyd uses nature and recycled finds in her cottage garden in Walterboro.