Candidly we need to cultivate our gardens … — #Berkshireweekend

The strawberry plants are small enough to hold in a palm, but some of them have blossoms forming. I’m cupping them in my hands and pressing them gently into the earth.

The day is warm, and I’m catching my breath. I’m halfway through sawing wooden palettes in half lengthwise to make an impromtu fence frame for this young strawberry bed. Last year someone (winged, four-footed, who knows) got to the berries when they’re still new green nubs, and while I don’t mind sharing, I’d like a share …

So I’m DIYing with the wooden frames that showed up in the fall to hold the wood pellets for the stove — improvising a sawhorse, scrounding corner posts — mostly for the pleasure of seeing what I can make and breathing the air in my backyard while the lilacs are in bloom. And it feels good to feel the sun on my back and the earth in my hands again.

We’re almost past the chance of frost, and planting season is coming. So I’ll be exploring for plant starts, seeds and seedlings. Zion Lutheran Church in Pittsfield has a plant sale on Saturday from 9 to 1 p.m., with herbs and perennials. They’ll be hapening at the same time and a few steps away from the outdoor farmers market on the common, and farmers markets this time of year often have plant starts from local farms too.

Helia Native Nursery will hold their next open days May 25 to 27 — this weekend they’ll be in Lakeville, Conn, taking part in the annual Trade Secrets rare plants and garden antiques sale to support Project Sage, a local group working to end relationship violence.

A shade closer to home, Woven Roots Farm in Great Barrington has a plants ale coming on May 27 too, with ‘red and green lettuces, cherry and slicing tomatoes, red and green Kale, zucchini and summer squash, slicing and pickling cucumbers, hot and sweet peppers, eggplant, herbs, flowers and more.’

Wing and a Prayer native plant nursery is open for the spring now on Sundays and Mondays, up in Cummington, alongside the seed saving network annual plant swap. Maybe if I time it right I can stop by to look for scarlet bee balm … and swing by Sangar General Store in Windsor afterward for a samosa and an oatmeal cookie.

Events coming up ...

Find more art and performance, outdoors and food in the BTW events calendar.

A Baltimore Oriole looks out from a slender branch. Creative Commons courtesy photo.
May 28 2024 @ 8:00 am
Mass Audubon will explore Edith Wharton's historic home, including its woods, wetlands, and meadows, to find birds by sight and sound.
Foragers gather for a walk and talk on Stone Hill. Press image from the Clark Art Institute
May 28 2024 @ 4:00 pm
Naturalist and wild edibles enthusiast Arianna Alexsandra Collins from the Hoosic River Watershed Association and Offerings for Community Building leads a foraging walk
Evan Silverstein gestures in his grandmother's living room in BTG’s production of 4000 Miles. Press photo courtesy of Berkshire Theatre Group
May 28 2024 @ 7:00 pm
Amy Herzog’s acclaimed play offers a compelling exploration of human connections, grief and the unanticipated paths to solace.

By the Way Berkshires is a digital magazine exploring creative life and community — art and performance, food and the outdoors — and I’m writing it for you, with local voices, because I’ve gotten to know this rich part of the world as a writer and journalist, and I want to share it with you.

If you’d like to see the website grow, you can join me for a few dollars a month, enough for a cup of coffee and a cider doughnut. Members get access to extra stories and multimedia, itineraries a bookmark tool. Let me know what you're looking for, and we’ll explore together.

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