Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice, Gardening Style

Today, December 21, at 9:30 pm. PST is the Winter Solstice. I could tell you all about the scientific explanation ~ that the winter solstice occurs exactly when the axial tilt of a planet's polar hemisphere is farthest away from the star that it orbits.

Or.... I could list some of the cultural elements of the Winter Solstice also known as Yule, Christmas, and Saturnalia. It celebrates the birth of the new Solar year and the beginning of Winter. The Goddess manifests as the Great Mother and the God as the Sun Child. The God also appears as Santa Claus and Old Man Winter. Colors are Red, Green, and White. This is a festival of inner renewal, a time to strengthen bonds with family and friends by visiting and/or exchanging gifts and greetings. No one is really sure how long ago humans recognized the winter solstice and began heralding it as a turning point -- the day that marks the return of the sun to the northern hemisphere. Many cultures the world over perform solstice ceremonies. At their root -- an ancient fear that the failing light would never return unless humans intervened with anxious vigil or antic celebration.
 
But first and foremost, my life as a nursery owner revolves around gardening. I love the winter solstice because it means one very important thing. The days are going to start getting longer. The short days and long nights of winter are not my favorite time of year. I long for the sun on my face and  the warmth that the longer days of summer bring. So when the winter solstice hits it’s comforting to know that the days will be getting longer, and Spring and Summer are on the way.

Something that also can be done on the Winter Solstice.....walk outside....today or close to it....and take note of where the garden is shaded. This is the shortest day of the year and if you are lucky, as we are today in our beautiful valley of Fallon, Nevada it will be sunny enough that you can use this time to do some planning. Remember last year when you came into our nursery, or perhaps you were at a friends garden looking to try something new,  and were looking for a specific plant, one that needed sun all year round. Something like lavender that really does require sun the entire year to stay warm and thrive. Either jot down in your gardening journal, you do have a journal don't you?, or place a rock where it will remind you that this area is shaded all winter, it's not the place to put certain plants. The sun in the sky today is not where it was in the summer, how quickly we forget that though when picking out plants in the gorgeous days of Spring and Summer.

HAPPY SOLSTICE to all and beautiful blessings for the New Year!

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