The return of Nature, after such a career of splendor and prodigality,
to habits so simple and austere, is not lost either upon the head or the heart.
It is the philosopher coming back from the banquet and the wine
to a cup of water and a crust of bread."
― John Burroughs, "The Snow-Walkers," 1866
We can see the structure of the garden, the real shape of things. We can see the need for interest in those areas that are now barren. Winter is a time to look hard at the garden and think of how the features contribute, now, in the cold months as well as the warm.
Winter is also a time for clarity about the gardening commitment.
Forget the siren-song of the seed catalogues for a moment ― this is a good time to reflect on your approach to gardening. Should you lighten the load? Let green manure tend the soil instead of your hoe in part of your veggie garden this coming year? Should you mix edibles into your containers to make them a little more functional? Should you put more native plants into your perennial beds? Many pollinators would thank you.
A move to a new place has got me re-evaluating many things, including the way I approach gardening. My gardening life is different now ― 'stripped down' from the the demands of the complex hillside garden I tended in the past. Having a smaller garden feels rather liberating. I am free to consider a new focus on vegetable growing, containers, and unique plants like succulents.
I send out a thank you to John Burroughs. The American gardener devoted his life to the careful observation of nature in and around his home in the Catskills. He encouraged his readers to see winter's magic in the details, to walk the trail and "look up at the miracle of the falling snow."
As I look up, I'm also looking around, considering the possible ― and planning what grows next.
And you. what are you reflecting on this winter? Leave a comment.