Brewing Spring Traditions #1, Garden Walkabouts

As warmer weather wakes up gardens, it also wakes up neighbors, friends and family. We all become more mobile, more social and more active. Coupled with this are all the spring celebrations and traditions that April, May and June bring.

Being from a strict Italian family, my whole life has been about traditions. Our traditions usually revolve around holidays and celebrations, however Italians will find any reason to celebrate; Saints' days, good report card days, anniversaries, promotions, Tuesdays-and yes, even funerals (because what better way to celebrate someone's life than by gathering together to eat some manicotti, finishing with a nice espresso?). Coffee is at the heart of Italian gatherings. The ritual of making it and sharing it closes each meal properly, aids digestion and keeps guests around the dinner table longer to continue the loud conversations, leaving no debate unfinished.

But coffee is not just reserved for the big celebrations, but is also an expected ritual to welcome anyone in your home-even if it's for a 15 minute visit. To not offer a guest who is stopping by a fresh cup of coffee may be a cardinal sin in the "Italian bible". And with spring here and more people getting out and about, visits are more prevalent. When two or more people are together, coffee must be at the heart of that gathering.

Today, however, I am writing about a quiet tradition. It's my own little personal spring tradition. Coffee is at the heart of it too, but it is a gathering between me and my garden.

When the weather warms and I see green peeking out from under the winter debris in my garden beds, I know it's time. So, the first weekend morning that's comfortable weather wise-with just the slightest bit of chill in the air so that I need my sister's bulky hand-knit sweater she made me for my birthday years ago-I grab a cup of steamy coffee, slip on my garden clogs (after I unbury them from under the mounds of winter snow boots and lost scarves) and timidly walk about my garden.

Sipping my steamy mug I marvel at what's coming back to life. I rejoice in what's already blooming. I grieve at what did not make it, yet still have hope that maybe (maybe) it just might come back. I wonder at what I put where, questioning what certain plants are and reminding myself to get my garden journal later to check it out.

It's quiet. The birds chirp. The breeze blows. The air smells clean and simple, mingling with the aroma wafting from my warm coffee mug, which is helping to keep my hands warm.

These walkabouts are relaxing. The spring clean up work hasn't started. The gardening tools haven't even been cleaned, let alone found yet. There is no pressure to do anything-unlike my summer garden walkabouts. The spring garden walkabouts are about just being, observing, enjoying, breathing, taking note and sipping away at your mug of java.

If you too want to do a walkabout in your garden one brisk morning, I highly recommend the perfect partner for your journey: The Starbucks Spring Blend. It's super-duper smooth and light, just as your walk should be.

Just promise me, no weed pulling and no pruning. Just be. Enjoy the rebirth around you, and your special, quiet morning.



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