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Light at the End of the Tunnel

We had our first taste of winter at the Gardens yesterday. The forecast of a few snow flurries in the early morning turned into over an inch of the cold white stuff. Mother Nature gave us a little preview of things to come and a reminder that she is still in charge of the ultimate gardening schedule.

This pushes us into a final frenzy of fall clean up before “the big one” arrives. The last bits of raking and cutting back take on a little more urgency. The pots that need to be put away, the hoses that should be recoiled and covered, and a host of other small projects suddenly rise to the top of the to-do list. I begin to realize why all the squirrels seemed to be so frenetic the last few days. Arctic cold fronts have replaced the warm golden days of autumn.

All this activity is really more in preparation for spring than girding for winter. Getting everything neat and tidy now enables us to hit the deck running when the weather eventually warms again. The outline of projects and changes for the Gardens is beginning to take shape and next year promises to be a busy one. Everything we get done now makes work easier in the spring.

On a similar note, most calendars (and people) view December 21 as the first day of winter. I, being a bit of a contrarian, consider it to be the first day of spring. The days start getting longer and the sun’s angle on the horizon starts to rise. This, in my view, is the starting point to the gardening season. Happy holidays and remember—-spring is right around the corner.

– Will Bridges, Horticulturist (November 27, 2013)