by Karen Rose Smith
After the holidays can be a blah time. And once the frigid temperatures and snow move into Pennsylvania, I need an activity that takes my physical challenges of arthritis and fibromyalgia into consideration. I've found that growing and nurturing plants (as well as cats) does that for me.
Gardening started as therapy and it still is. But more than that, it relaxes me, takes me away from the computer and enhances my ability to live in and decorate my patio and garden surroundings with joy. I never thought I had a "green" thumb. The first year, I planted heirloom tomatoes in my kitchen, sat them on the windowsills and watched them grow. It was a surprise that they did! But the whole process was so enriching, I expanded it. My husband put grow lights in the basement over his work benches above heat pads. So each year beginning in January, I start to plant.
This week I planted Purple Pirouette Petunia seeds and Red Pirouette Petunia seeds in peat pots. These are hard to grow. Last year out of 35 seeds, I only managed about six plants. But they produce beautiful, unusual flowers.
I will also start geraniums this month. In February I will start Twinny Appleblossom Snapdragons and Marigolds. In March, heirloom tomatoes will line my tinfoil pans. I'll tell you more about my spring and summer flowers in upcoming months.
Starting plants gives me a way to increase standing time, begin lifting in degrees, and generally just add more activity to months when ice and snow might prevent me from going out. Watching seeds grow into plants and then provide color in my gardens also rejuvenates in me the promise of spring.
What activities do you plan for January and February to see you through winter?