The time of year tucked in between Winter Solstice (Dec 25) and Imbolc (Feb 2) has always been the most magical to me. Though the days have already begun to stretch longer, the cold of Winter creeping in somehow counters the light. The nights seem to stretch on and on, as the natural world quiets and sinks deeper into Winter slumber. As gardeners, we have a closer connection to the natural world and its cycles. Nature teaches us that to all things there is a season, and Winter is the season of rest.
Living in a fast paced society, we are under constant pressure to ‘be productive’. The New Year bells are rung with cheers and grand proclamations of all the changes we will make and goals we will achieve starting RIGHT NOW as if we are entering a period of growth. But our bodies reflect the world around us, and what we truly need the most is rest. When we rest and our bodies slow down to recover, we free up time and energy for our minds to run wild.
Winter is the time of year for quiet contemplation, checking in with our bodies and minds to see if our needs are being met. Resting our weary muscles from a year’s worth of work, and reflecting on choices we have made. It is a time for cozy socks, hearty soups, deep conversations, and daydreaming about all the potential of the coming year.
For the gardener, this is when we look to the upcoming almanac as we pour over our notes for what worked and what didn’t this last year. We see last year’s blooms in our mind’s eye as we imagine next season and all the promise it holds. Both figuratively and literally, we are planting the seeds for the coming year. The most successful gardens are started in the Winter, with a dream.
So plant your bare roots and start germinating your seeds, nurture and tend to your plans for the coming year. But just as you don’t expect your flowers to bloom immediately, treat yourself with patience and grace. We don’t live separate from Nature; as part of it we, too, need internal growth before we can bloom. Dream as big as you can, and start making a game plan for your personal Spring with as much love and attention as you give to the garden. Spend the Winter dreaming, planning and preparing your garden and your life side by side. Then watch as your personal goals and achievements are reflected back to you as flowers in the coming year.