Today my blog received an email with the subject line, "Where are you?" The message was as follows:
Some of us regular readers are wondering when you will next post. I know it's winter and all, but even so.
Lest you think me wildly popular, I feel it only fair to inform you that the self-described fan is my sister. Still, if your own family won't read your blog, who will? And as this particular sister (I have four) is quite the literary critic, I am flattered that she asked. Here is what I answered: I have nothing to say.
Now in real life, having nothing to say does not prevent me from talking. But in blog-land, I worry that I will wear out my welcome. Therefore, I try to take as my role model the eminent Mr. Ed, the talking horse of 1960s sitcom fame. Mr. Ed, we are told in the catchy theme song, will never speak unless he has something to say.
So yes, I could talk about last week's Polar Vortex, when it hit 9 degrees for two nights in a row. I could mention how I tried to cover my now rather sizable Edgeworthia so that its buds didn't freeze off a mere weeks before they were scheduled to bloom. How I couldn't find anything big enough or thick enough to cover it, so basically told it you're on your own and good luck to you. How the buds, to my great surprise, survived the Arctic blast and, if my luck holds out, should begin opening in mid-February.
Or I could talk about how I was going to spend this winter on the long-overdue task of creating nicely defined garden beds in my back yard. How I planned to purchase a real-life edger and even put down some stone as a border. How I haven't done anything of the kind. How instead of scouring garden catalogs, shopping for edgers, or researching effective mole deterrents, I have been spending my leisure time reading 800-page Dickens novels and watching what Ron likes to call "Mumbles in Costume" - BBC adaptations of my favorite classics of British literature.
But since I have four sisters and two brothers, I am acutely aware of my place in the universe (hint: it's not at the center). Honestly, the minimal goings-on in my dreary winter garden are pretty darn boring, and the less said about them the better. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, "Better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." I would do well to follow his advice.
If you don't feel like posting, then by all means don't. But I hope you aren't holding back because you think what you want to say isn't worthwhile. If everyone did that, the internet would collapse. By the way, I am almost finished with Nicholas Nickelby, just getting to the part where Ralph is about to get his just deserts.
1/11/2014 07:30:01 am
You always ready with a pep talk, Jason, and I appreciate it. One of the great things about Dickens is that people usually do get their just deserts, unlike real life. I haven't read Nicholas Nickleby yet, although I do remember loving the Roger Rees version from the early 80s.
I am glad your Edgeworthia survived the cold snap. Living in a zone 5, I do not know it, but just now we are in Victoria B.C. (zone 8) and, looking at your picture, I think I saw one the other day. Does it have a nice perfume? The shrub I saw did, even if the flowers were still in bud.
1/11/2014 07:31:18 am
That was probably it - the Edgeworthia has a heavenly aroma, and you can sometimes even smell it when the flowers are only in bud. I would imagine it does very nicely in Victoria.
1/11/2014 07:19:48 am
Sarah, thanks for your entertaining post. I am honored to be featured in it.
1/11/2014 07:32:31 am
I hadn't heard that Voltaire quotation - it's a good one. Thanks for the push. And yes, I hope my Edgeworthia blooms on cue too. Since I lost my Winter Daphne, it is the only interesting thing happening this winter.
1/11/2014 09:14:51 am
I love your posts and always think you have something to say. But part of my hiatus was the fact that I had run out of anything to say that anyone other than my dogs would find compelling. My dogs think I'm a genius. I covered my loropetalums with sleeping bags to survive our deep freeze and I think it worked. I broke a few branches but they survived. I saw your comment on Jason's blog. Have you ever used Niche Gardens? They're in NC and have a retail as well as online nursery. They have great, affordable plants. Lazy S's Farm Nursery is also incredible. They have a massive selection and are hard for me to resist. About half my plants have come from them.
1/11/2014 10:58:27 am
Thanks, Tammy. I am glad you understand. Even my dog finds me fascinating only if I am holding a treat or throwing a squeaky toy. I have shopped at Niche, and bought some great plants there. Others failed miserably, but again, I rarely blame the nursery. Usually it's my stupidity that kills them. I think you were the one who turned me on to Lazy S's Farm - I love them! I got some great ferns and a new dwarf buttonbush called Sugarshack this fall and can't wait to see how they work out.
A rainy winter is the best time to get the gardening blahs, if you ask me. I usually get hit with that during summer heat waves.
1/11/2014 11:02:11 am
Thanks very much. I do suffer from a severe case of "who cares?" when I write my blog, but I am not sure I've set the bar high for myself. Does anyone besides me care that my tulips are poking their heads up? I think not. It would be one thing if I had great information to impart, or late breaking news from the world of gardening.
1/11/2014 03:54:38 pm
Loved loved loved this post, in part owing to the fine acknowledgment of Mr. Ed. But you, like he, are always on a steady course, and we enjoy your ever refreshingly direct observations. My own thought for this moment is if the legions of evil ticks larvae whose little bodies have been freeze dried by the lovely polar vortex. Who knows, maybe the Asian carp took a hit too. I will send by email my 17 year locust video, however, to remind us all that it's ever a losing game.
1/12/2014 01:11:30 am
I am glad you enjoyed the post, with all its scholarly references. You had the exact same thought about the freeze that I did - is it killing off all those evil insects? If so, bring it on.
1/12/2014 07:18:58 am
It is refreshing NOT to have to read a typical garden musing about the glories of the winter garden, how architectural it is, getting us back to the true structure of the natural world, with the tints of gray and brown, and so on. It makes those of us who live bright colored flowers feel so vulgar.
1/12/2014 08:51:36 am
I'm with you in liking bright-colored flowers. So if that makes me vulgar, I'll just have to live with it. Winter interest can take you only so far.
1/13/2014 12:58:20 am
I am so glad you followed up too! Thanks so much for visiting, and for your nice comments. I just took a quick look at your blog and am looking forward to spending more time there when I get off work today!
Despite the fact that you have nothing to say, you have managed to come up with a post that was a fun read. I know how you feel. Despite the fact that the weather has managed to make a big change in the garden (we lost 2 large trees) I haven't been able to bring myself to do any winter themed posts. Who want to look at snowy pictures? Glad your Edgeworthia made it through the Arctic vortex.
1/15/2014 12:37:54 am
I'm glad you enjoyed my nonsensical ramblings, Jennifer. There is something about winter that makes you want to hibernate, even if you love gardening and being outside. The bears do it. The plants do it. Why shouldn't we do it?
1/15/2014 10:44:01 am
I can't get very excited about the "winter interest" posts, either. And I, myself, am tired of snow so I get bored writing about it. Plus, winter photography isn't enjoyable. I don't like cold fingers. So, I know how you feel. I have several ideas for posts, but they have very little to do with what is going on in my garden right now--because it's all under snow. But whatever you write about will be interesting to me!
1/15/2014 11:26:23 am
Thanks for the vote of confidence. This seems to be theme among bloggers. The secret is out - we hate winter and are bored by it. I'm almost ready to trot out some recipes. How's that for desperate?
1/15/2014 01:18:58 pm
I appreciate that! I am thinking of renaming my blog "Blah Blah Blah."
1/19/2014 10:54:39 am
Remember that you may have new readers who haven't heard it before! Sometimes I feel like I am publishing the same thing, over and over. It is a challenge to stay fresh! But I also have to remember what my blog is about; I don't want to wander too far from its roots or what has made it popular.
1/19/2014 12:42:56 pm
I agree, Deb. It's hard to balance staying fresh, coming up with new material, and at the same time sticking to the topic at hand. That's why, for me, silence is golden from time to time.
Ha, well at least you are filling your time with what sounds like intellectual sorts of pursuits! I, on the other hand, have been watching too much mindless television with not even my crocheting in my lap to make it seem productive. (Though you could count the new Sherlock Holmes episodes as intellectual tv, right? Sort of, a little?)
1/24/2014 08:23:23 am
Definitely! No need to feel guilty about that! And between you and me, I've been known to indulge in some cheap reality TV from time to time, so I am no stranger to mindless television.
1/25/2014 05:37:28 am
Just a note to say your post made me smile. And that Lincoln quote is Priceless. Good luck with Edgeworthia!
1/25/2014 07:58:06 am
I appreciate that, Aaron! The Edgeworthia seems to be hanging on, although it's been darn cold here.
1/27/2014 12:54:03 am
It often seems there isn't much to blog about in winter when one is reading non-seed catalogs. English mysteries by the fire when temperatures regularly dip below zero this year - brain freezing.
1/27/2014 02:41:25 am
Mysteries by the fire - that sounds wonderful!
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The Galloping Horse Gardener is a native New Yorker who packed it in in 2005 to live under the radar in Cary, North Carolina. In 2014, she removed to a new secure location somewhere in Raleigh.
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