Learning to Love the Winter Garden

Our topic this week at the SFF Seven is, verbatim, On Your Mind (Winter).

So, I’m posting a photo I took this morning from the winter garden. We’ve had a mild winter, and the secret garden is walled and makes a protected microclimate, so I actually have a winter garden.

Some of you may know that I love to garden. I mention it in interviews when I’m asked what I do that isn’t reading or writing. Gardening is a big piece. It sounds like a small thing when I say it, but nurturing a garden, planning it, spending time in it, all shape how I live.

I became interested in the concept of a winter garden back when I lived in Wyoming and winters were so very bleak. The idea is to plan a garden with the entire season in mind. It’s easier to envision the spring flowers, the midsummer lushness, adding in the plants that bloom in the autumn, but thinking toward the largely leafless winter is a different kind of vision. What plants bring visual interest in their starker, hibernating states? What offers spots of color in a more monochromatic landscape?

Part of the trick is loving the winter garden for what it is, not trying to replicate the garden of warmer seasons.

I think this is a metaphor for a great deal in our lives, as gardens tend to be.

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