It’s January, and in much of the country that means that the sight and smells of green growing things is buried under icy brown leaves and inches (feet?) of frozen white stuff.
Last weekend I was trying a new recipe that called for arugula. Not wanting to make another trip to the grocery store, I went out to the garden to see if any of the fairly hardy greens were surviving under the layers of leaves I had heaped on the garden last fall. I pushed aside the slightly frozen, damp leaves to find … mush! The merest hint of arugula leaves were languishing under the composting leaves, looking exactly like the sodden mass that they were. Ah – it was a noble effort.
However, the serendipity of the situation was discovering that the brown, seemingly lifeless stalks of Sweet Annie (artemesia annua, also known as Wormwood, a tall, aromatic plant with fernlike foliage) were still giving off their distinctive sweet aroma. I cut a few branches to hang in the kitchen. On the way back to the house, I checked out the sage green stalks of lavender by the back patio. Their leaves, also, were wonderfully aromatic, so I cut some sprigs to add to the bundle
Now, despite the melancholy, dark days of winter, my kitchen is graced by the smells of summer. It makes the wait for spring less arduous.