I remember hearing someone ask my grandmother which season she preferred best. She explained she liked them all, and that when one ended she looked forward to the next. I don’t recall her exact words in answer to that question, but imagine it was a good explanation of her views on the matter. In any event, by the time winter ended she was always ready for spring.
In early spring the snow is still melting from the woods above and behind her house, and the water flows through the garden, making it too soft and wet to do much. It was a good time to look around, and listen to Tasha’s plans for the future and stories from the past. There was always a broad range of discoveries, good and bad, to be made during the first walk-through after the snow was gone.
During the winter the snow protects plants from freezing and the dramatic swings of temperature. It hides the activities of voles and mice as well. The first place Tasha examined was the area in front of the stone walls. She had a lot of rose bushes there, and wanted to know how they had fared. Usually they were alright, but never entirely unscathed by mice or wind or cold.
After examining the roses, she walked through the daffodils coming up through the grass by the crabapples. They were always in good shape. “But I really must dig some of these clumps up and divide them!” she would exclaim. She marked a clump with a long green stick for reference when autumn came along and the daffodils had died back and were difficult to find in the grass.
Next, she walked under the old apple tree and into the wildflower garden. She was always curious to see if any blue poppies had come back, and how the primrose fared. Further along in the wild section of garden between the crabapples and pond she would clip a spray of pussy willow, and look across to the edge of the woods where the rhododendron stood. Occasionally the deer got through the fence and ate the leaves.
Down by the pond she liked to watch the corgis swim about. She also looked for the marsh marigold and any lilies that might be coming up in the shallow end. In time she’d head up past the sugar maple and into the vegetable garden. Her green boot left deep footprints in the path in the especially wet ground there.
From the vegetable garden there is a good view of the house, stone walls, and paths leading to the upper gardens. Tasha usually walked up to the herb garden, then up the path that leads past the chicken house and to the back door. If she had been out several hours in the morning it was probably time for lunch. This time of year, as it was still very early, she would make rice and tomatoes, or mashed potatoes and thin bread sandwiches, recipes that can be found in The Tasha Tudor Family Cookbook.