It arrived in the mail a few days ago. I've left it sitting on the kitchen table so that I might peek inside from time to time, before I dive into page after page of pleasing images. On this sixth day of December, I feel a deep need rising, pulling me into the center where hedgerows of lilacs are always blooming and my soul is languishing in the highest branches of the hydrangea tree, where apple trees in the orchard are busy forming buds of eternal flowering and nasturtiums are not only edible, but life-saving, petal-soft wafers of sweet salvation on my tongue.
Pardon me while I catch my breath.
Dreams of a bountiful secret garden with words of irresistible possibility spring forth from inside this need, inside these pages. Amaranth alone could hold me hostage for a day. Listen ...
Early Splendor: "Incandescent crimson foliage, angular and recurved, eventually morphing to a rich cocoa-brown, " and what more could be said than the name of Love Lies Bleeding Red?
Artichokes, Cardoons, and asparagus: "Beloved early-spring crop in Europe since ancient times, asparagus is a perennial plant that starts slow but yields for many years ..."
Who could resist the history of the Knife River squash? "Color is usually salmon pink to buff, with an occasional green fruit. The variety originated when three Indian tribes, the Hidatsa, Arikara and Mandan, were living in close proximity for protection, near the confluence of the Missouri and Knife rivers. An excellent grower on vigorous vines. Superb flavor with a unique sweetness."
Then, there's the Prosperosa eggplant: "Massive fruits are nearly round to slightly teardrop shaped, and sometimes very slightly ribbed. Their rich dark purple exterior also glistens with a satiny green sheen ... the white flesh as good as the fruit looks, being mild, tender ... grown for generations in Tuscany."
Perhaps the simple garden pea, elevated to new heights in the Blue Podded Blauwschokkers (truly): "A beautiful and ornamental pea that produces lovely purple-blue pods that can be harvested young and used as a snow-pea, or let mature and shell for fine soup peas ... dates back hundreds of years in Europe."
And this, an ode to the Stelley okra:
"Louisiana variety originally collected
in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana,
at the heart of Cajun heritage and culture,
where it was found growing near an old,
abandoned homestead nearly fifty years ago ..."
Oh, Sweet Passion, I mustn't forget the melons: "According to legend, the sweet orange flesh is said to cause a state of passion if eaten straight from the garden on a moonlit summer night ..." How does one resist that? Is it even possible?
And I didn't even touch on the herbs: Persian basil, blue hyssop, lion's tail mint, and Moldavian balm, used for "lightening a discouraged heart."
Perhaps I'll just take a little nap over there by the window, where the sunlight is beginning to play on the corners of the windowsill ...
"Au milieu de l'hiver, j'apprenais enfin qu'il avait en moi un ete invincible."
"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." ~ Albert Camus
Images are my photographs. The cover of the catalog is of zinnias, Senorita Pink.