A Duchess of Dirt holiday poem

DUCHESS OF DIRT Leslie Cox leaves gardeners with her best season
DUCHESS OF DIRT Leslie Cox leaves gardeners with her best season's greetings.
— image credit: Photo by John Cox

T'was the night before Christmas and all round the yard

Most plants are sleeping like Geranium 'Ann Folkard'

The beds are all mulched, piled high with old leaves

Protecting such gifts as my mom's 'Brazen Hussy'


Our roses are staked, their rambling branches secured

Against fierce winter storms the better endured

Rhodos and pieris lend green delight to the scene

But wet snow on branches, jump quick you must clean


Our clematis are tied to their trellises with care

As those fierce winds will likely not spare

Many clematis are not yet ready to prune

Until four, maybe five, months this side of June


The pond is winterized, pump removed and stored

But the waterfall repair is still on The List to be scored

Our two fish, Larry and Curly, will miss buddy Moe

Who sadly was dinner for a Great Blue Heron foe


No bird bath this season for our fine feathered friends

It is a cherished gift from our two-legged friends

Reason enough to put it away lest it freeze

A crack would ruin, not to be replaced with great ease


No beans, no peas left in the veg garden this season

The bed covered with clear plastic for very good reason

And come March we will sow seeds in the ground

Warmed by plastic for earlier harvest abound


Tomatoes, green and red, were plucked by our grandson and me

The greenhouse emptied for storing plants not meant to freeze

Dylan weighed them all before we packed the green ones away

In beer flats under newspaper to slowly ripen one day


The fruit trees have been barren of fruit a while now

Pears, apples picked and processed...many of you know how

For the first time I made Spiced Pear Butter this year

Using an old food mill from my granny most dear


The porch railing is festooned in its garland of green

Gaily wrapped with red lights, Christmas colours supreme

Our brightly lit villages are set up with train circling round

It's not just for grandkids these two grandparents have found


Outside moonlight casts shadows on bare branches galore

Creating the stage for what was sure to be in store

So imagine my glee when on the scene who should appear

But St. Nick, himself, in his sleigh pulled by eight reindeer


Decked out in his red suit complete with white trim

He looked exactly as I had always imagined of him

There was that twinkle in his eye as he reached in his bag

To leave presents for two gardeners including plant tags


Everything on our Wish List from new rake to new boots

Warm gloves for wet springs, lots of pots for new shoots

Shiny new pruners for John...he is the master of those

Though this spring I must apprentice, I do suppose


Two books on gardening will give us winter delight

'Til spring comes knocking and the time change in light

Seeds for the veggie garden, a wheel for the barrow

How I wish I could play in the garden tomorrow


St. Nick was finished with us, time to move on next door

The night was waning and so many houses more

He winked and exclaimed, as in his sleigh he stood tall

"A very Merry Christmas and Happy Gardening to all!"


Leslie Cox co-owns Growing Concern Cottage Garden in Black Creek. Her website is at and her column appears every second Friday in the Record.

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