Even in California winter is a time for introspection, for hibernation. There is a quiet, contained energy, as we all contemplate the way forward. It is a clear refreshed breath. A space for tending to structural things: building foundations, gathering inspiration, sewing seeds for growth in the warmer months. Even if the pace of modernity and this remarkably mild January we’re enjoying render these conceptions less absolute than in bygone days, our collective muscle memory and the unavoidably habitual nature of human behavior elicit traditional patterns of task-completion. Like planning the evolution of the gardens for an entire year with the aid of myriad seed and bulb catalogues.
The gardens here are meticulously maintained, and while their displays do not have the same impact in January as they do in July, a recent walk through the Kitchen Garden and the terraces with Head Gardener, Margaret Koski-Kent, exposed some of the charm and understated efficiency of a winter garden. I was able to taste some of the micro greens that are so favored by our Fresh From The Ranch loyalists straight from the source. I must say, mizuna and mache are the perfect antidote to another plate of winter squash and kale (love them as I do)! The vegetable beds awaiting a fresh sewing of leek and brussel sprout seeds were lush and downy; I’ve never seen prettier soil! The fruit trees are being pruned to facilitate delicious yields come summertime, and perhaps most thrilling is the appearance of iris, tulip and daffodil tips which are beguiling in their own rite and complete with vernal symbolism as well!
The ranch is always idyllic, but these sun-streamed afternoons in the silence of midwinter with bright green grasses beneath rows of silver trees…sigh: so peaceful. It all has an exhilarating quality of stillness and of reprieve—it must be hope and anticipation. Which may be as lovely as the reality of coming delights…