This is the time of year when my fantasies run to the wild and exotic. Maybe it's just the boredom of long, cold winter nights and short, grey days. But as I walk "The Moo" around I note that tulip spears are emerging (into still freezing temperatures), chickweed flowers are starting to open into starbursts of white, and the trees are beginning to fatten with buds. The finch and junco males are beginning to display and sing, courting irritated females whose only thought is peanut-butter-coated- birdseed. They aren't thinking sex yet, but the boys are eager and they trill and do the boogie-woogie "Ain't I cute?" dance any time they can corner a female.
I walk around and look at everyone else's places. Most permanent residents here have decks, but I've felt that a deck would cut off my view of the sky and the trees overhead, diminish light levels inside, and eliminate my already small garden patch. I've reconsidered. A six-foot wide deck wouldn't impede on my planting area. If we put on a transparent coroplast roof it wouldn't reduce the light level too drastically, though there's nothing that can be done about losing the sky view. A deck would give us much needed storage area, and a place for the cat to run and exercise, other than bouncing off the walls inside. We could have an outside table and chairs, I could hang plants out of the cat's reach.... I have been convinced.
So plans have been laid for the building of a deck in mid-April. Ian and Zak have said they will come and build it. Ian is extremely good at any mechanical and spent a summer working for a deck-building company back when he was 18 or 19, so he has an excellent working grasp of carpentry, and Zak, well Zak is much like my Dad. He can do anything he puts his mind to. I figure three days and they can have it done.
And I sit and think about the garden itself - and thumb my now coverless - and raggy-edged seed and plant catalogues. I'm going to try some new gardening techniques as well as adding the ferns I wanted so badly last year and couldn't find. This year I have found a couple of sources and will order a variety of ferns. Then I'm going to try something I've longed to do for years, but never had the climate for. FIG TREES.
When we lived in Houston we had two large old fig trees (and 11 huge pecan trees) in our back garden. The fig trees produced two crops a year in such quantities that every Tuesday in late spring and fall we took several brown paper grocery bags full of ripe figs to the food bank. Last summer I found ripe fresh figs in the market ONCE and the tray of four small figs cost $5.00.
Figs grow quite well in containers, and while they need protection in the winter, that is just a matter of wrapping the dormant tree and pot and putting it in a sheltered place. We're even talking about buying a couple of dwarf blueberry bushes which can be grown in a container.
We have one of those quick assembly double-walled half-height "sheds", which is inconvenient for storage. We have decided we can drill holes in the backs of each of the panels and put in that expanding foam insulation. This will turn it into an insulated space, and with the addition of a 15 watt bulb on days when it's -15 or below, it would be a perfect home for overwintering container plants - like figs. In the summer it can be disassembled and put under the trailer.
Well, these are the dreams of a slightly creaky Buddhist in late February in the still-frozen north. In the swath of brown leaves that covers my garden now the juncos continue pecking at the peanut butter and birdseed mix we've provided. Occasionally there's a bit of courtship. The cat next door watches the birds from his window perch on the back of the sofa, cleverly concealing himself in the drapery. not very well LOL We move toward spring.