Now we have the wintry weather I was yearning for a few months back with all its attendant discomforts. Yesterday afternoon I was at the shops with the wind blowing fast and furious and battering my face with mini ice balls. They were utterly unlike archetypal velvety soft snowflakes, the conditions were truly atrocious and I was really, really glad to get home.
But for the perennial veggies the weather can make no difference. This wintry onslaught is but one of the extremes that the weather throws at them: times of excessive rainfall, of drought, unseasonally high temperatures (sometimes), low temperatures, high winds, sunless days with relentless cloud – it all has to be accommodated, with bursts of what we might consider “pleasant” weather in between.
I thought initially of the veggies being adaptable in a way that we people are not. After all we have largely “adapted” by retreating into the comfort of weather tight buildings. But perhaps adaptability a misleading word to describe the veggies – they are not sentient beings and I cannot attribute to them the discomfort that I feel, however much I respect them and their inherent life force. Neither can they change their behaviour as conditions alter. Maybe it is more accurate to see them as inherently versatile, they are “designed” to cope with a wide range of environmental conditions; and in that part of the year when conditions particularly favour them they burst into growth and productivity.
Excluding exceptional conditions (as experienced last winter) the perennial veggies face each change of conditions, as it comes by just living through it, this is just how “life” is. Whereas human nature tends to parcel life up into bits we like and bits we don’t, we yearn for and work towards the pleasant and disdain the unpleasant.
I grow perennial veggies as part of looking towards a future when I am likely to need to be more personally resilient and resourceful. If life in general is resilient to the conditions in which it finds itself I hope that I can do the same! And as even last winter’s exceptional conditions did not obliterate all life from the garden I aim to follow nature through the good and bad using the resilience that must be actually built into me by life herself.
I went outside just now to get some photos of the garden with her winter coat of snow on, with the kales hanging limp and forlorn and smaller plants buried out of sight. It is but one extreme and it will soon enough transform into the spring that lies latent.
Whilst I was outside I caught sight of a robin sitting on a dead fennel stem. He let me creep right up close and then hopped up to the rosebush and burst into song, you can see his beak open in the picture!