My winter kitchen is filled with fruit trees. The falling temperatures beckon a seasonal folly involving my rolling their heavy containers across the patio, over the threshold and positioning them along the large western facing windows. All of this must be executed carefully to avoid knocking any of the precious lemons, limes and grapefruit from the swinging branches. As winter arrives, I bring summer inside.
This measure is only afforded to a few beloved treasures. The rest of my garden will now face the cold and bitter winds unprotected. Trees and plants prepare for the coming changes by dropping their leaves and pulling energy back into the earth. They return to their roots.
Gardeners must not only accept change but learn to embrace it by making choices for the benefit of our future garden. It is crucial to time the last harvest of peppers, tomatoes and basil before an unexpected freeze, if they are not to be totally sacrificed. There are those industrious few of us who will attempt to bring the outside in, delaying the inevitable close of a growing season. But there is comfort in knowing that as one season is ending, a new one begins.
Everything may seem to be sleeping in a winter garden, but for gardeners, this is a time for dreaming, not sleeping. We plan for our future garden by pouring over all the newest seed catalogs. We take note of what has worked in the past and what has not. Easily seduced by something new to try out, we imagine flowering triumphs and future harvests. We are enticed by a lush array of possible additions to our garden. This source of inspiration will sustain us through many days of waiting for the first signs of spring.
When the inevitable storms blow through, we realize that we have experienced this before, and we wait to assess the consequences. We have already lived through seasons where our garden looked completely devastated yet it could still recover and become something beautiful once again. The trials of life do not unhinge us anymore. We have learned to accept the rhythms of nature.
Winter becomes a time to relax, a time to dream about everything wonderful that lies ahead. Winter becomes a season of dreams.
Happy dreaming my dear gardeners, and remember,
“There is a continuity about the garden and an order of succession in the garden year which is deeply pleasing, and in one sense there are no breaks or divisions. Seed time flows on to flowering time and harvest time; no sooner is one thing dying than another is coming to life.” Susan Hill and Rory Stuart