The title is one of those famous biblical lines, ubiquitous, everlasting in both serious and pop culture. It’s an interesting and true statement that continues to resonate in almost every area of human behavior you can imagine.
I’ve heard many folks say, “My year starts after Labor Day and not January 1.” Every parent knows this feeling. School starts and an entirely new adventure begins.
And yet, we celebrate January 1 as the beginning of the year with serious celebrations around the world. Some folks say they start their year when the clock gets set forward in the spring. This means it’s summer for them.
In My World
In my world, I find myself still tied to the nursery seasons. Even though I left that production world behind in 1998, I still relax into its rhythms.
For example, my nursery year started on January 2. I’d turn up all the heaters in my propagation greenhouse and warm it up. On the 3rd, I’d sow seed. That was the start of my year. Things got busier and busier as the months unwound. By the second week of March I’d be on full 12-hour days, 7 days a week and by the end of March, those hours would creep higher and higher.
April and May were flat-out energy busters as I’d either be in the nursery or I’d be sleeping.
June saw us slow down and beginning on the Father’s Day weekend, we closed on Sundays. I’d still have to water but nothing else would get done. By the end of June, we were in full propagation mode, taking cuttings and maintaining the trial and perennial gardens (not to mention the massive vegetable garden that fed 6 of us year-round.)
August was often too darn hot to work and other than get irrigation systems in place and weed, I’d try to do as little as possible in the heat. I hated August with its high humidity and temperatures. I hated to see wilting plants – no matter the soil moisture was fine – it was just too hot for the plants.
Labour Day saw the kids head back to school and me in full digging, seed collecting, propagation and potting-up mode. October was cleanup month and conference month to catch up on the new plants and techniques. The nursery would be ready to be put to bed by the end of October.
November – the harsh month – I’d get the nursery winterized and then it was holiday time. No watering, no phone calls, no nothing but reading and enjoying a family outing. We’d often pull the kids out of school and head somewhere. They’d have their assigned homework done in the family van by the time we got where we were going, and nobody worried about anything but having a good time.
December was Christmas and cutting wood and doing any number of bookkeeping things for the upcoming taxes. The challenge was to clear off the desk by the end of the month because…
When I started my new year, and seed sowing, the desk would pile up again.
I love May now because I’m a shopper and not a 16 hour / 7 day a week nursery owner.
I love June and most of July with their exuberant growth and flowering.
I still hide in August. I garden little if at all this month other than watering. I know I should – there are weeds out there but it’s too darn hot and I’m waiting for September.
I know September will be cooler, wetter and the garden will be alive and not struggling in the heat as this head gardener is doing. I get recharged in September, always have, and I look forward to those glorious days.
November is still when I want to take a holiday escaping the dull, dreary months. Now though, I hunker down and write, immersed in my words and pretending the world outside isn’t there.
I still think of gardening in January and get excited. It’s not that I want to run out and garden, it’s that I feel the need to sow seed, trim and prune stock plants and 1001 details of getting a garden going.
I measure my year by my old nursery schedule. It’s a strange thing to do, I know that but hey, it’s still how I see myself – as a nursery guy. And yes, every now and then I consider starting a small micro-nursery.
But then I remember August. And I don’t like August. Not one bit.