Last week the temperature got up to 80 Fahrenheit, but yesterday we were back to normal Berkshire spring weather, with a rumor of snow in Alford, a nearby town. This means the daffodils will glow for at least another week, and it still doesn’t stop me from planting. One of the great revelations about gardening is that there are plants for every clime and season. Just go to the nearer place that sells seeds and read the packets. Many say, “Plant as early in spring as soil can be worked.” Even when it’s cold, you can put in mustard and other greens, radishes, carrots, and peas. Sweet peas–do choose the highly scented heritage varieties–should be in the ground already. They love cool weather.

It’s taken me 10 years to feel like I’m getting the hang of New England gardening. I started gardening as a teenager in California, where you can grow all year round, and then learned a whole new range of plants in England. The Berkshires is completely different, too, though I’m doing my best to recreate some of the things I love best about English gardens, as well as using the raised beds and organic techniques I learned in Palo Alto in the ’70s. Tomorrow, I’ll list some favorite books and seed sources.

karen christensen's corona typewriter on t s eliot's desk

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