29 February 2008

The Attack of the Dreaded Farch

Carolyn Gail of Sweet Home and Garden Chicago started us off with Garden Bloggers Muse Day a while back, and I"ve been contemplating whether to post today or tomorrow. Since in most years this would be March 1st, I figure today is as good a time as any.

“April,” we are told by the great poet TS Eliot in his epic poem The Waste Land, “is the cruelest month, “breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.”

Much as I love Eliot, he’s all wet on this one. That’s because he never endured the interminable attack of the dreaded Farch in Nova Scotia.

Farch, you say? What the heck is a Farch?

Farch is what some people know better as the months of February and March. But because they are interminable, obnoxious, and downright unpleasant, I tend to roll them into one loooonnnnnggggg month and call it Farch. And I like it just about as much as I like goutweed (and people KNOW how much I detest that justly-maligned plant.) This year, of course, Farch is even longer, thanks to today being a Leap Day. Like Carol at May Dreams Garden says, it would be nicer to have that extra day at a nicer time of the year, although those of us in the southern Hemisphere probably think that an extra late-summer day is just fine.

We've had the full meal deal of winter weather tantrums in the past couple of months, that's for sure. I don’t mind the cold or the snow. It’s the grey. Grey skies, grey landscapes, grey pavement and heaps of grey snow, more grey skies. Days the sun is out, no matter if it’s 40 below, I’m okay with it. But I’m starting to get impatient to be grubbing in the dirt, bringing home new ‘groceries for the garden’ in the form of plants and more plants and accents and garden art and mushroom compost...pruning and cleaning up and making new beds and hardening off seedlings and doing all those other wonderful things that we do.

It's still too early to plant most seedlings indoors here, because they can't be transplanted outside until at least May, unless I decide to put something in the greenhouse for supplemental heat. I did sow a bunch of catgrass, to keep the cat-children from chewing on my houseplants. And while I didn't get that azalea I talked about, the orchid show is tomorrow and Sunday, and we do plan to trek into Halifax for a bit of that. So who knows what might get to come home with us?

And despite reading all kinds of other blogs, I'm just beginning to feel really bludgeoned by the weather. I want to see this sight in my own garden.

I'd even welcome seeing this, snow and all:

Of course, I’ve been pushing back the greys by keeping busy with work, reading all kinds of new books, browsing through catalogues and magazines and websites, and tending the plants here in the house. They tell me that spring will come, as they’ve started to wake up from their resting period and put on new growth. And if it weren't for all of you posting about your gardening adventures or plans, and taking part in the Garden Bloggers Geography Project, I'd be even more winter-beaten. Thanks to all of you who have done posts for the project, and I'll be doing a wrapup over the weekend.

Okay, you've talked me out of being gloomy. Maybe we’re only midway through Farch. But just writing about gardening makes me realize that soon it will be time to be outside getting ready for another season’s floral promises and memories. And tomatoes.


  1. We have these farches too, but on a lesser scale. I actually live at the edge of planting zones now, and my poor perennial garden, well, I have to wait till March 20th, before I plant a thing, and see what is going to happen to old plants. The worst ice storm we ever had was in March!

    But at least we can console ourselves that when the weather is struggling this much to decide on a season, we are close to CHANGE! Spring is coming!

    I love your blog.

  2. I hear your voice BIG TIME, jodi, and now have a new word in my vocabulary. As I look out at heavy falling snow with no immediate end in site, 'Farch' describes both grey months perfectly ~ at least for those of us who hold our breath, waiting for a popping crocus nose and the 'Lusty Month of May'!

  3. Oh Jodi - I do feel for you and all the Canadian Bloggers out there who are crying out for Spring. It must be awful when we're going ooooh aren't my snowdrops lovely? Look at these crocuses, have a bunch of daffodils etc etc. Beware - there will be an outburst of daffodils tomorrow in honour of St David's day.

    In spite of all our brightness, February is usually a gloomy month here too and although it's the shortest month of the year, it always feels like the longest. March is far kinder and it's the yellows of the daffodils and primroses that help there. However, today even I feel your Farch! In spite of all my positive Leap Day activities, I just want to rip out my whole garden and start all over again. It looks dull, ugly and even the evergreen structural planting seems uninspired!

  4. hopefully we'll be out of the weather gloom in a few weeks. it seems harder waiting this year.

  5. Here in East Texas, we don't have to wait until May. I'll be planting in early March. So I'm a fortunate gardener! My cat children eat every green thing I have inside, so everything must go outside for me!

  6. Farch - I love it! Seasonal mood swings when it's Spring one day and Winter the next. You've got me thinking about the fact that there are way more than four seasons, and gardeners (and farmers) pay more attention to the seasonal nuances than most people. Hang in there - Spring is a commin' in.

  7. I feel your pain! Farch is an excellent name for these long unpleasant months that stand between us and spring.

  8. Here in Buffalo, the land of festivals every weekend of the summer, they have also embraced Farch. And made a festival of it. And you're all invited.

    See: http://www.buffalorising.com/story/farch_festival_century_grill#sca

  9. You do an amazing job of keeping the grays away.

  10. I'm gonna remember Farch. Perfectly lovely way to lump together two unlovely months.

    So very cold here too, my fingers can hardly type. I should be working, but can't bring myself to be productive. Too cold.

    Robin at Bumblebee

  11. I just left you my geography project entry at my blog. I didn't know about it until this, the last day!
    Brenda Kula

  12. You never know what's going to happen with Farch in NC. You could gamble and plant something the middle of March but be prepared to cover it all. I'm sure many of us feel your aggravation with the tween days--between here nor there.

  13. The picture of the crocus popping up through the snow is so pretty.

    I finally got my homework done, just in the nick of time.

  14. I sympathize, Jodi. But FARCH is one of my favorite seasons in Austin. If southern blogs can help you through FARCH, I know I'll be relying on northern blogs to get through unending AUGEMBER.

  15. Well, I don't like this, jodi, it means we are only halfway through FARCH!

    We are getting more heavy, wet snow here, and if it wasn't so white out, I think it would be grey!

  16. Oh Jodi - please don't wrap up the geography project quite yet! I've been meaning to contribute but haven't had time to get the photos together. Pleeeze can we have an extension?

    I feel almost guilty saying that it's 15°C here are the forsythia and the cherry blossom are in full bloom ....

  17. My winter-dulled brain saw the title of your post and thought it was about the dreaded "French". I was wondering what was so dreadful about the French and just had to sit and read.

    Whew, now I feel better. Really, being in the middle of Farch is better than being at the beginning of Farch.

    So happy half-way mark of Farch to you!

  18. I am with you on Farch! Hate it! Tired of it! Wishing my life away...better not! Let's post June pictures. That will make us feel better!

  19. I know if I lived farther north where spring came in April, I would be a basket case by now. I don't know how Northern & Canadians do it. We are lucky in the Deep South not to have to go through "Farch" so I feel for you.

    Jan Always Growing

  20. Farch is why DH & I haven't moved to Canada yet. Usually in March around here we have a couple of days when it's warm enough to wear shorts. While I seriously doubt that this year, stranger things have happened. Hang in there!

  21. Farch? Wow, that is a new one to me! Well today it is white on white here with lots of fresh snow and though I am sick of snow it does beat the grey and dirty snow and the mud. I go form blog to blog seeing other people's gardens emerging and at least it gives me hope!

  22. Oh Jodi... Farch is the very reason why I don't live in a cold climate anymore. I just can't take it! I know how it feels to yearn so much for the spring flowers that it almost hurts. If there was anyway I could make Farch go by faster for you, I would!

    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  23. Farch can be a fickle time, especially these last 31 days of it. We'll have a few teaser days and some "slap you down for even thinking about gardening" days, but overall, I'm willing to get through it to get to April, then my favorite month, May.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  24. Jodi, I was at a party with some of my gardening friends last night. I told them about this post, and everyone was going around talking about Farch for the rest of the evening! You would have loved it.

  25. March, for us, is up and down, down and out. Yesterday, while I went to gardening school, it was 74 degrees. Today, we're supposed to get rain. Tonight, ice. Sheesh, I hate Farch too.

    Hang in there. Spring WILL come.~~Dee

  26. Hang in there Jodi, spring is on the way! Don't let it get you down, with no winters we wouldn't look forward to the spring so much.

  27. I sympathize Jodi! We had more snow this weekend too, which kept me home yesterday, but glorious sunshine today!! I hope you got some of it too.
    We've had a brilliant male cardinal and 2 females at the feeders today. That red against the pure white snow is breathtaking!
    Think spring...think spring... :)

  28. We have a bit of Farchpril around here some years and this might be one of them. Let's just say that we have exceeded the maximum height and slope for putting any more snow on top of the driveway side drift witout heavy equipement.


  29. Personally, I think that "Farch" is so good because it sounds like you're combining the swear word of all swear words with "March." Which works really well for me right about now!


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