The Garden In December

I spent a few afternoons over the holidays doing cleanup in the garden that somehow never got done in the fall — cutting down old perennial stalks, raking up leaves that inevitably show up from somewhere after I think I’m finished with them, and massaging the compost heap to accommodate the new contributions. Now the place no longer looks abandoned, and I feel I’ve reconnected with the garden.

December 31, 2013

When I gardened in Saskatchewan, snow covered everything from November until March. The garden was an expanse of white; at dusk the snow would take on a mysterious blue colour that was quite gorgeous. Gardening became theoretical during those months, but when summer came (spring lasts about a week on the prairies), I had to go through the reconnecting process really fast.

It’s hard to take good garden pictures in December. Darkness comes early and stays late. There isn’t much to do in the garden so I’m not there to observe details. With the holidays, attention is often somewhere else. And snow is rare here on the west coast; most of our Christmases are green.

If I were a better photographer, I would have gotten a picture of robins feasting on cotoneaster berries on December 22nd. The bush went from looking like this

Cotoneaster Berries

Cotoneaster Berries

to bare in a couple of hours.

Instead, I’ll close with these snowdrops, which have been in this garden for more than 20 years. I don’t know what variety they are, but they bloom very early and are entirely reliable. The 2014 gardening season begins.

First Snowdrops

First Snowdrops

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