Winter. A word that, for many, arouses both positive and negative feelings near simultaneously. Gardeners are definitely a group with mixed feelings concerning this season, to say the least. I must admit, it is hard to see the outside world fall into a long, deep sleep, to see the days grow shorter and yet also experience what seems like a slowing of time itself. But each year I am learning more and more to enjoy and appreciate this needed, wonderful season.
Winter should be a time to slow down and breathe deeper… well, after Christmas at least. Since we can’t enjoy the outside world to the fullest at this time, we can put those hours to good use elsewhere. Winter is an opportune time to reflect and plan. We can assess our successes and failures of the prior year, and then plan accordingly. I am definitely a planner, regarding gardening at least, so I do appreciate a season when yard maintenance (but unfortunately enjoyment as well) is lower so I have no choice but to redirect those gardening hours to planning instead. And of course no discussion on winter is complete without reference to all the celebrating, socializing and eating we do. Who can complain about that?
Many plants need this time of rest as well. Fruit and nut trees, as well as bulbs, especially need this season of cold to vernalize. These plants need a certain amount of chill hours to properly flower and seed in season for the upcoming year.
This is also a unique time when berries and seedheads are plenty and the bare bones of trees, shrubs and other plants are left to define our gardens along with the faithful evergreens. More to follow regarding winter’s wonderful offerings in a later post.
And for those people that may see Old Man Winter as playing more of a villainous role, I believe you should still applaud his performance. The protagonist needs the antagonist, or hero the villain. There is no true love without hate. Now, those are strong comparisons to the seasons, but my point is that winter is a great contrast to summer and it truly gives us an appreciation for those warmer, longer days when all is busy and bustling. As Samwise Gamgee said, “Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.”
But even the more vibrant, beautiful days of spring and summer cannot compare to the peacefulness or serene beauty that a wintry snow-laden landscape can provide.
With that said, it’s this time of winter, later in the season, when all outside looks tired and the chances of snow diminish, that I begin to get my spring itch and am ready for more sunrays, warm weather, and wanting to just get my hands soily again. And again I must remember, this winter season is helping me develop character… can you tell I have mixed feelings as well?
How about you?