Monday, December 17, 2012

The Wisdom of Winter

I do not have a winter garden. No snow covers evergreens or drifts in small waves at my feet. The berries are gone, long devoured and those remaining hang wrinkled and small. My garden lies like the bleached bones of a whale, exposed and naked, stark branches and limbs jutting at odd angles against a pewter sky. But my garden doesn't care and neither do I.

She lays collapsed in a heap, spring innocence traded for the humid closeness of summer, stem and petal separated by only a touch. Autumn came slowly and she teased it into high color as only a woman can do. But winter tells a different ending, youth and beauty traded for cold slumber. Gone is the confident sweep of bright flower and alluring scent. No sweet pleasures lie hidden, masked by the modesty of leaf and vine.

She sinks slowly into the earth, her secrets laid bare and whispering. The softness of fresh growth dies at her green hips, round curves now angular and spare. I cover her with a blanket of mulch and say my goodbyes.


Heliopsis thrives in my three season garden.

I've linked this post to the Seasonal Celebrations at Garden's Eye View.

43 comments:

  1. Beautifully written. The story of the garden's inhabitants, now tucked away in winter's slumber, absolutely lovely.

    How difficult it must be for you. As a teacher, you must feel especially heartbroken over this unthinkable tragedy. Sending hugs.

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  2. Thanks! I had a few scared kids today but everybody kept the mood light. 1600 crying middle schoolers wasn't going to solve anything.

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  3. Heliopsis is a favorite of mine, it blooms for so incredibly long. I like the sentiment of putting the garden to rest - both gardens and people need their rest time.

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    1. I agree! As much as the idea of a tropical vacation calls to me all winter, I need four seasons and would burn out on gardening if I didn't get a chance to pull it all to bed every year.

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  4. Yes, beautifully written :-) I thought you were going to take a rest for the holidays, but I guess it is just your garden that is resting for now :-) I have mixed feelings about the warm winter we are having. On the one hand I love it because I can't stand the cold, but I kind of count on a cold, dormant winter so I can chill for a while because the rest of the gardening year seems to be break-neck speed. When it is warm outside, I feel like I should be out there doing something, but my mind and body just want to go in lazy mode. This happens to me in the summer, too, when it is too hot to garden. That's pretty much a given in Texas, that it is going to be too hot to garden, but winters are not a sure thing. I thought your garden had the bones of a pygmy elephant, not a beached whale :-) I do think there are sweet pleasures lying hidden in your garden -- it's called spring. But rest up because you know she'll be busy :-) Oh, oh...I just have to tell you. Guess what started to pop up in my garden a couple weeks ago -- the Fred Meyer bulbs of all things. I thought I had killed them after I transplanted them!! I'll keep you posted.

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    1. My Fred Meyer Whites have put up foliage but they did the same thing last year and didn't bloom come summer. :( I'm hoping they just needed time to settle in and will bloom next year.

      I did take a blogging break for a while but my current post just kept itching me so up it went. I already have the hopper full for January. :o)

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  5. Tammy, lovely Heliopsis! It's wonderful you have blooming in December.
    As Grace, I'd tell that this tragedy at school was terrific and unbelievable. The teachers,a Head Teacher died protecting the kids. I have only questions without answers. I'm very sorry!

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    1. My heliopsis is completely dormant right now. The picture is from summer. It's a great reminder of what's waiting once winter is over.

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  6. Ślicznie opisałeś zasypianie ogrodu przed zimą. Ale masz jeszcze piękne kwitnące"słoneczko" :)
    You described falling asleep pretty garden before winter. But you're still beautiful blooming "sweet" :)

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  7. Surprising you still have even that blooming. I do have a few conifers but also the trees and shrub limbs are some winter structure.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. The only plant blooming in my garden right now is a pink knautia that just refuses to give up. The picture was taken last summer. :o)

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  8. Tammy, your garden should appreciate this fond and tender farewell.

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    1. I think it does! I tucked it in with a lot of compost.

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  9. Beautiful as always oh word goddess!

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  10. Tammy, You are a sensitive writer and as well as a sensitive gardener. A great combination. We are yet to have our first freeze although 33 is predicted for tonight. My tender potted plants have come inside or are placed in protected locations. We have such a short winter here that before you know it, spring has arrived. Take care of yourself as you take care of your garden!

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    1. Thanks for such a kind comment. :o) 33 for the central valley is pretty cold!! I'm hoping for a cold, snowy winter. We need the moisture.

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  11. Tammy this is so beautiful...I love how you are celebrating your winter garden as it gets ready for slumber...wonderful post for Seasonal Celebrations.

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    1. Seeing my garden go dormant doesn't bother me because I know it will be back, well rested and ready to go!

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  12. Very well-said, Tammy. I feel the same way--I don't mind putting the garden to rest for a bit. Especially after "she" suffered so during the drought last summer. Time for a long winter's nap with a huge, puffy blanket of snow! So glad to hear you might be able to join us for the Italy trip!

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    1. I am really hoping for some snow! I'm excited about Italy! Woo-hoo!!

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  13. A lovely written post....very much enjoyed it.
    Your garden will awake once again from slumber to be nurtured when spring comes....enjoy your rest.

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    1. Thanks Virginia! I wish I got as much rest as my garden did, though. Maybe it's telling me something and I'm just not listening.

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  14. I marvel at your eloquence in describing the passing of the seasons in your garden. Its so beautiful and poetic. After a hiatus where starkness rules, Spring would be even more lovely.

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    1. Thank you so much! Spring seems sweeter knowing I have to wait for it. I accept winter and need it so I can focus on all the work that piles up on me from Jan through March. The work load lightens a bit around the same time my garden is ready for me.

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  15. Yes indeed every living thing needs a time to rest. Love the post. By the way..
    my eye caught the side bar with the gnome in the photo. " Are Garden gnomes the new sexy?

    LoL! the thought of this cracked me up! I have always thought of garden gnomes as whimsical silly little characters...

    I'm not sure what to make of a sexy gnome..." Mmmmmm lets see.... A sexy gnome watching over my garden??? I'll have to give this one some thought..

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    1. When I saw that pix in Google images it cracked me up. The idea of naughty naked gnomes getting frisky in the bushes made me laugh. The gnome in the picture seems quite confident, doesn't he? :o)

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  16. Enjoyable post! The heliopsis photo is a light of inspiration.

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    1. Thanks! I really love my heliopsis. I find that I look forward to it blooming every year. I also have a dwarf variety and a single flowering type, too. They bloom the entire summer! I'm sure they would love your climate. :o)

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  17. As others have said, the post is very nicely written. Perhaps you will wax poetic come spring-time? Happy holidays!

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    1. Spring gardening coincides with the culmination of our school's giant Science Symposium, of which I am the big cheese. Not thinking about work while I pour myself into my garden is highly theraputic. I just hope I have the energy to post!

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  18. A lot of people talk about winter interest but here in the chilly north I can't even begin to think about going into my garden when it's cold out and everything's knee deep in snow. Winter interest for me is sitting in an easy chair in front of my christmas tree. I rather like your winter garden, as least you can still get outside and enjoy it.

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    1. You and I have the same idea of winter interest! Letting my garden be boring in the winter makes the summer show all the more special.

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  19. Very poetic! We all need a rest but my garden doesn't seem to want to let go this season and with the addition of our hummers there is lots of energy and activity in the garden.

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  20. What a beautifully poetic post Tammy. I love this sentence in particular: "My garden lies like the bleached bones of a whale, exposed and naked, stark branches and limbs jutting at odd angles against a pewter sky." So evocative! Have a wonderful holiday! All the best for the new year!

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  21. Lovely post. A beautiful heliopsis photo to savor as winter sets in. A winter rest is welcome for many gardeners I believe. As each day gets longer we can start planning our spring gardens.

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  22. You've written this beautifully. It will be wonderful for your garden to start coming to life again under her blanket of mulch. Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

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  23. Merry Christmas to you and yours, Tammy.

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  24. Oh My God! this is such a poetic writing. I am going to copy down the lines in my garden diary. Absolutely beautifully written. "...limbs and branches jutting at an angle against a pewter sky", I think is my favorite line.
    Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year to you and your family :-)

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  25. Pure poetry! One of the many reasons I love to stop by your super duper garden blog.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from
    David/:0)

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  26. Lovely words and bright, cheery photo. Found you on Donna's link :)

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