When the air is crisp and the leaves are falling leaf removal is on our mind. Which is why autumn in winter is a gift for this gardener. The stillness of winter beckoned me to see what I could get done on a warm December day.
I gathered the necessary tools to not work but linger in the garden on my own terms. None of my neighbors were outside enjoying the stillness of the day. The birds were chirping, dogs barking and I was alone to commune with nature. I reached into my curbside flowerbed and gently lifted the leaves. Away from the crowns, from in between the foliage, I tossed them to the curb. Tossing over my shoulder, the acorns which were trying to take root, landed softly on the growing pile. Noone heard this but me, in the stillness of a winter day.
GIFTS BENEATH THE LEAVES
I chose to linger in certain spots because of the gifts that continually appeared as I sorted through the leaves. The bold bloom of a dandelion, with basal foliage peeking from beneath a clump of yarrow. Often under-appreciated, the dandelion brings so much to the garden. This gift, considered a weed to some, a plant many people abhor, desperately attempted to eradicate by others, is actually good for the pollinator community. Did you now that bees and birds love dandelions?? Dandelions are a terrific source of nectar and pollen for hungry bees and pollinators. Who knew that such a gift could be found when venturing outside in the stillness of a warm winter day.
Gently running my hands over the surface of the soil, I felt a bump that jarred my memory. A peony root, planted with a kiss for good luck, had survived. One stalk emerged and one leaf spoke to the strength of the root. There was no bloom, but this tip emerging from the chosen spot gives me hope. I hope that this year, I might get two leaves.
I paused and strolled over to my garden heroes. The tree peonies trampled by roofers last year were beginning to swell. My heart, melting in the stillness of this moment, was a bit overwhelmed. These ladies bring a bodacious bloom as they lift their heads and dance in the breezes of Spring. In African American folklore, peony seeds were given to those who are indecisive about something. In my garden, it offers a brief moment of bloom after a winter thaw.
What is that I hear? A subtle rattle disrupts the quiet in my garden as I brush past the Baptisia, also known as False Indigo. The blackened pods hold seeds that create music, which disrupts the stillness of the moment. I gather a handful of stems and shake them as I dance my way to the pile of garden debris. The joy of peace and quiet of the garden in the stillness of winter never ceases to amaze me.
Loss in the garden is an expected reality. We can appreciate this act of life and consider it an opportunity. To remember and replace with something different or similar. The Pieris Japonica will be a memory and instead of replacing it, I will allow the azaleas to spread in girth and close the gap.
Winter allows us to spend quality time in the garden. The quiet time which allows us to remember the summer garden party and embrace the absence of the same. The stillness found in winter is a special gift to the gardener.
Do you appreciate winter’s warm days? Is walking through the garden and assessing future changes a task you enjoy? Does the stillness of winter encourage you to go outside and embrace the beauty that surrounds you??
Celebrating finding stillness a gift,
Teri, Cottage In The Courtby