When you live where gardens are covered with a foot or more of snow in winter, as a gardener, you have to subsist on the outline of the garden, the tracery of tree branches against the snow and sky, the traces of snow illuminating the edges of twigs and paths before the wind cleans branches bare once more or blurs edges. Inside the house, a few more things to carry a gardener through to spring: some flowering house plants (I’ve pared down to mostly those that flower: orchids, a walking iris, amaryllis, flowering cactus), old garden books and catalogs, and perhaps some painted gardens, like these old blue willow china tea cups and saucers. Look closely, trees and foliage, birds and follies, in a familiar blue and white willow pattern. They are each a small blue and white garden, painted on a tea cup, calm and full of good cheer.
I’m glad we are past the solstice, and looking forward to spring crocus and baby chickens.