The seed catalogs are beginning to gather on my desk like a flock of brightly colored birds. I know that I have actually only ordered seeds from one or two of their pages, yet somehow, the catalogs seem to believe that it is wise for them to gather where they can flirt with my warm weather dreams.

Perhaps they know that I have a wonderful swinging chair up in the loft, right beside my desk, where I can set the catalogs in my lap and slowly turn the pages as I gently swing back and forth and imagine what will surely be this year’s ever so perfect garden.

One thing among the many that I have learned here at the creek is that dreams really can come true, but I have also certainly learned that it takes more than simply swinging and dreaming. It takes work, real-life, down-to-earth, getting-my-hands-dirty work.

Today was one of those days. I had heard tell that a certain groundhog pronounced that winter would soon be over and that we will have an early spring. Today the sky was wonderfully blue and the sun shone bright and warm. The groundhog seemed to have been right. Spring seemed just about here, but I sighed. There is so much that I need to do to get ready.

At the end of every summer for the past many years, I have promised myself that I will tidy up the greenhouse and pull the weeds that have started to grow along the inside of the walls, but every fall as I pass by the greenhouse, I marvel at how green and jungle-like the inside of it looks. The creek valley leaves may turn color and fall to the ground outside, but inside the greenhouse, the weeds flourish, growing with riotous abandon in defiance of the cold creek valley weather.

I simply pass on by and let them know that I will deal with them in a few months’ time. The gathering seed catalogs, and the blue sky, reminded me that the time had come.

I have learned over the years that the towering weeds will eventually wither and turn brown, even inside the confines of the greenhouse, but I also know that if I let them go much longer, that they will find new life and quickly flourish.

I opened the greenhouse door. A beautiful scent greeted me. I could pick out traces of sage, basil, tomato and marigold. I opened the roof vents, took off my jacket and dove on in. The temperature gauge read a toasty 100 degrees.

My first task was to unearth my bicycle. Multiflora rose and milkweed vines had run their tendrils through the spokes and around its frame and tied it securely to the ground. After a few snips with my clippers, and several hard yanks, the bike broke free.

I then turned to clear the front wall, and with that cleared, moved on to one of the side walls. It was slow, thorny work. My dear husband must have looked through the glazing and seen me pause to wipe the sweat off of my brow. He stepped through the door, took off his jacket and began to work by my side. Slowly and surely we made progress, clearing the terribly ensnared back wall, and finally, the last side wall. The compost pile seemed very happy with two dump beds filled with prickly weeds.

I still need to pressure wash the glazing and set new liner in the float bed, but those tasks will be relatively easy, no-sweat tasks that can wait for one more day. And for now, it has once again occurred to me that I really should do a simple greenhouse weeding at the end of the summer, before the weeds get so outrageously out of hand.

Perhaps this will be the year, but then again, it really is almost magical to look through the greenhouse walls at the wild green jungle growing inside as I stand outside in the winter cold. We shall see.

Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in Ohio. Visit them at