May Dreams Gardens gave me the inspiration for this open letter to my gardens as we head towards winter here in upstate NY.
Dear Gardens (both my flower garden at home and spouse's veggie garden at the Otsiningo Community Garden) in Winter:
This has been the strangest, mildest November and now December I've experienced in some 25 years of living in the Binghamton, NY area. The outside beckons with frosty mornings, followed by (sometimes) sunshine. And then....the sun goes down at 4:30 pm. Darkness. At least in December we have the Christmas lights to brighten those nights.
Don't you feel the strangeness of the weather, too, in some way? Things just aren't right. And I hope that we can weather this together.
It is so tempting to plant something but I know it is the time for my gardens to hibernate. At least it is according to the calendar.
Please be gentle to my sleeping plants, Winter. If really cold weather comes, please cover my gardens with a blanket of snow first. Let that cold also keep the insects that feed on my plants from multiplying too rapidly. The ecology in this area demands snow, although I personally would be most happy if I didn't have any to shovel or to walk/slide in.
And no ice. Please. My sister in law fell on the ice last year and hit her head. I fell and hurt my back. Ice is beautiful and deadly. It hurts my garden plants. Please, no ice.
Please do not allow my shrubs and trees to wake up too early from their winter sleeps. Don't let their tender buds be frozen. We need those flowers and leaves to brighten our spring.
Please let the Old Farmer's Almanac be wrong about our coming spring. If it is right, we are going to have a cold, miserable spring. Please do what you can, Gardens in Winter, to make sure that doesn't happen.
Preserve my tulip bulbs from the rabbits, too.
And finally, Gardens in Winter, please send many seed catalogs my way. (I know that isn't part of your job but please help me out here.) In the dead of winter, before the later sunsets start to kick in, and when the wind blows and the snow swirls, those seed catalogs will keep me going with their promise of spring.