Winter is Fading

December 22nd is one of my favorite gardening days. Sure it’s the first full day of winter, but that means that spring is next on the calendar. From today onward every day gets a little more sun until we peak in summer. We’re halfway through the long tunnel and I can see light ahead.

My vegetable garden this week

There’s just over a week left until the “Brrrr” months are over. With a shiver, my wife refers to this time of year as the “Brrrr” months: “Octobrrrr”, “Novembrrrr”, “Decembrrrr”. The cold days and colder nights get old very quickly.

I know that January temperatures are actually colder, but January brings a new year, it’s not a “Brrrr” month, and the increasing daylight becomes noticeable. February is a short month that comes and goes quickly, and then it’s suddenly March with warming days and melting snow.

It all begins on December 22nd.

For many gardeners the presents under the Christmas tree hold tools, and books, and gardening supplies to be used in next year’s garden. Just a few days away from tearing apart the wrapping paper, visions of Japanese plums dance in our heads. Whether we are giving or receiving garden gifts, these days of Christmas present bring thoughts of gardening future.

Winter is here, officially. As I write, large white flakes are falling outside. The pines are flocked with snow. Drifts are nearly two feet deep in places. There is no sign of life beneath the blanket of white. But I know it’s there.

The Crocus and Tulip bulbs are still packed with energy, waiting to burst forth their brilliant blooms in a few months. Many seeds are soaking up the cold temperatures, a necessary step in their germination, and each time the snow melts it reveals Daisy leaves that are still viable. The excitement of the holidays has a green tinge.

I have no doubt the excitement of winter’s first day will fade in the dark, cold days straight ahead, but brief introspection will reveal new examples of gardening hope. Soon a glance at the clock will elicit, it was dark at this time just last week and the sun is still out. Before long a Robin red breast will be hopping across greening grass looking for a meal. A day of sun and warm will suddenly appear like a beacon amid the cold and dark, and many more beacons will follow.

I’m a gardener and gardeners can always fill their heads with thoughts of green and color and growth and life. Having a blank, white canvas on my landscape helps make it easy for me to draw and paint the mental images of gardens to come.

Two days ago it was fall and winter still stood in the way of spring. Now that impediment is gone. Winter is here and spring is next. A few days can make a big difference psychologically. It’s December 22nd and I’m looking forward to the gardening days ahead.

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