Waiting for the Chiltern seed order – which included a dozen varieties of sweet peas – to arrive tested our faith (and taught me a little lesson about putting so many precious eggs in one basket). But Gail and I remained as optimistic as gardeners, and didn’t the package finally land in our mailbox like a little miracle the day after we opened up bench space! We always sow the sweet peas first, during the last week or two of February so that they’ll be sturdy enough to set outside and plant by the last week in April.
Every year I worry all over again that the seeds I sow won’t germinate (and that’s partly why I prefer Beverly, one of the Rockettes, to do it – that, and I love her company). It just seems so unlikely that a whole blooming plant would ever spring from such a tiny package – even if it’s as fat and perfect as these sweet pea seeds – with or without help from me.
Gail and I started some others with the reputation of taking an age to germinate and a few like corydalis and primroses that need alternating weeks in the fridge and out of it. — It’s no wonder I doubt seeds when there’s trickery involved… But unless the seeds are no longer living – some are viable for only a short time after ripening while others can remain dormant indefinitely – they’re hardwired to grow soon(ish) after we trip their trigger by tucking them into moist soil. At least that’s what I remind myself around this time every year. All will be well.
Spring requires the same leap of faith. That buds will stretch into flowers, like the witch hazels already did, and that the birds will sing. A more confident friend reassured me this morning that I didn’t hallucinate hearing a red-winged blackbird’s call. It is, in fact, time for them to come back. Like clockwork. So despite a chill wind again from the north and snow in the forecast, spring is on its way. — Isn’t it?