A Taste of Summer in February
Freezing rain, snow, and wind kept me indoors for way too many hours this week. With time on my hands, I decided to clear out the freezer. Mostly I pitched frozen soups, but when I came upon six-year-old containers of frozen grape juice made from the Concord grapes in the garden, I couldn’t toss them. Instead, I decided to defrost one and see if it had any taste left.
When I opened the container the scent alone told me it was good. The rich purple juice tasted like a late summer day when the grapes waft their delicious scent and make me stop to graze. I stood at the kitchen counter taking sip after sip, remembering last summer and dreaming of next summer, eyes closed to the freezing rain and icicles just outside the window.
But then, as the first seedless Champagne grapes ripen and the aroma of sweet fruit fills the air, I take a break to enjoy the garden’s last offerings. I stop to pick a cluster of these petite, sweet grapes and sit under the arbor to enjoy them. When I go back for just a few more, I notice that the large, cone-shaped panicles of ‘Pinky Winky’ hydrangea have turned a soft shade of pink. ‘Pinky Winky’ is one of a half dozen hydrangeas growing on the north side of the arbor where the grape leaves shade them from summer’s heat. With a soaker hose to keep them moist and no tree roots to compete with, they’re the happiest hydrangeas in the whole garden.
“Fall is the Time for Mellowing,” from Love Letters to My Garden
A visitor enjoys the grape arbor