At first a small line of inconceivable splendour emerged on the horizon, which, quickly expanding, the sun appeared in all of his glory, unveiling the whole face of nature, vivifying every colour of the landscape, and sprinkling the dewy earth with glittering light. ~Ann Reacliffe
I am a creature who craves light. Even on a cloudy day I can get my fix, but these days I am light deprived. We have had one of warmest Novembers on record, but I am still not satisfied. This is the darkest month of the year. The sunrise gets later and later, with dusk racing in early to end the day. I barely see 9-10 hours of daylight. The wonderful part of the day has been the sunrise and sunset which are amazing this time of year. Blazing in hot colors of orange, red, purple or sometimes milder colors of peach and pink with shades of blue. These vistas greet me as I start and end my day driving to and from work.
So what can we do in the Northern Hemisphere as we dash to the end of fall and the shortest day of the year? I mark that day and the day after. I know I have made it through the darkness, and am on my way to more light. I start to reassess my goals, where I have been and where I may be headed. Have you noticed I become more philosophical without enough light?
Beth@PlantPostings has asked what we have learned this season. So here are a few of my lessons:
1. Plan for the worst and enjoy the best of the weather. I always clean up the garden and plant by the end of October knowing snow can come early here.
2. Get out as much as possible to view the season as it changes. Fall sneaks up on us and the subtle everyday changes are beautiful and full of wonder. Take your camera wherever you go to capture the beauty.
3. Take stock as you view more of the structure of the garden and note what needs doing for spring. As I plant and weed in fall, I see what changes may be needed, and the list starts so I can plan all winter dreaming of wonderful new gardens.
4. Lastly, plan for the darkness coming; the cold; the lack of flowers and plants. Read on to see my plan.
This year instead of whining about the natural course of events, I am keeping myself busy. I brought in some herbs I was growing outside this summer. My rosemary and Italian parsley are usually composted before the first frost since they are only annuals. But this year I thought why not try to keep them alive using my grow light and heat mat. Then I had another idea. Why not dig up a few perennial herbs I know I would use and bring them in as well. So I dug up oregano, sage, peppermint and spearmint; potted them up and put them under the same light.
I call this the Great Herb Experiment not be confused with the Great Seed Growing Experiment. That is coming after Christmas. But the herbs seem happy. We did have a minor setback when we were away for Thanksgiving. We had to turn off the light and mat. Some of the perennial herbs were not happy and died back a bit, but I think they will rebound. After all, nothing kills them especially mint. Just need to give them a bit of a trim so they don’t become too leggy.
Being able to grow a few herbs has been wonderful, but I am adventurous and bought a seed growing station. As you might remember last winter, I experimented with growing a tray of some herbs and lettuce. It was mildly successful, but I realized I needed more room. As you will see by the picture, this contraption will hold many more trays for growing herbs and greens all winter. Then as early spring comes I plan to grow my own viola and pansy from seed. I missed buying and planting them this fall so I would have a bit of spring color. Of course I plan to start all veggies, herbs and many flowers inside in early spring to plant outside in late May.
1. I am still learning to grow plants successfully from seed.
2. And I still am learning the process for bringing these sprouts outside so they will successfully transplant.
The best way I learn is from mistakes so there will be many failed crops of seeds-no germinating, damping off disease, etc, etc. But with each failure comes more learning and more successes. So I will keep you updated as I have fun experimenting all winter in my basement. I also have my road bike in a contraption that makes it stationary in an effort to do a bit of exercise when I am checking on my seedlings. Exercise is my second 30 Day Challenge. We shall see how it goes!!!
No matter how dark the night, somehow the sun rises once again and all shadows are chased away ~ David Matthew
Gardens Eye Verse
It’s the first Monday of the month and that means it is time for another unveiling of some of my original poems. For December, I had poems ready about snow, but since we are a bit sparse with the white stuff I have concentrated on how cold and dark December days can be. So I hope you enjoy these 2 entries.
On a special note, my dear friend Steven Tryon has graciously allowed me to use one of his fabulous photos to illustrate my second poem. Steven has an incredible gift for taking photographs. The camera is part of him, and he creates beautiful thought provoking art. You can check out his website Steven Tryon Photography to see his pics. I warn you though, you will be tempted to purchase one or two. Don’t resist…I hope to use other photos of Steven’s as part of upcoming Gardens Eye Verse posts. Steven is also one of the two creative minds behind Walkabout Chronicles.
Clean, crisp air of a December morn,
Penetrates to your bones.
Waking you with an ache,
Beckoning you to explore-
The frozen landscapes born.
Fire in the Sky
on the glowing embers of the day,
all color fades to black.
The silence sparkles under moonlight,
as an obsidian horizon spins toward the new dawn-
Fire in the Sky.
Coming in the next few weeks will be some reflections on the garden and life, The Making of a Meadow, a plant profile and some holiday musings. And please join me at Beautiful Wildlife Gardens for my next post on December 8th.
As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday. So drop by to check out all the wonderful flowers this Friday.
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