About the time that we moved into our current house, my grandmother gave me a pot of Egyptian walking onions. Winter hardy to Zone 3, they are perfect for Rockford, where many plants that are perennial in my native Michigan struggle to make it through our harsher winters.
I’ll admit that I struggle a bit myself, and not just with the winters but the summers. Growing up a mile or two inland from Lake Michigan, I never knew that other parts of the Midwest (or even of the state) didn’t experience the moderating effects of the Big Lake. Even after 15 and more years, I have my doubts that I will ever become physically native to this place.
The onions, however, are a different story. Doubting their hardiness, I kept them in that same pot for five years. They grew and slowly multiplied until, last spring, they had become root-bound. I prepared a seven-foot row in the middle of one of our raised beds and planted most of them, though I kept a handful in the pot as insurance against a harsh winter.
I needn’t have worried. The onions were the first green to appear in our yard this spring, and as I write in mid-June, it would take several pots to hold them all. They simply did what nature intended them to do: put down roots, absorb the nutrients of their newly native soil, and get about the business of creating the next generation.
Doing what nature intended...