Well, it’s over. My gardening season, that is. This week, I was supposed to write an article for our local paper on “tucking in your vegetable garden for the winter,” but before I could write about my cold-hardy spinach, arugula, and kale, an arctic blast sunk down over Colorado, and my gardening season abruptly ended. When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I could garden all year but chose to take a break from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day. But here in Colorado, you can’t deny the seasons. It’s -8°F and everything is icicles.
Though I need to say goodbye to my garden for a time, I still find ways to enjoy its beauty. With every fresh snow I take inventory of the comings and goings of the garden’s winter residents by studying the animal prints they leave behind. I hang houses for the tortoiseshell butterflies and leave zinnia, sunflower, and rudbeckia seed pods for the birds. I also leave my tall grass stands uncut and clear a few hollow logs to house my resident garter snakes. While it may not look tidy—my mom jokes that my winter garden looks like “a bomb went off”—it is definitely a busy place. Buddy, my sweet black Labrador, never knows what to do with these garden visitors. More than likely, he considers them trespassers.
Even though I must break from gardening for the winter, I am comforted that my garden is still enjoyed. Just not as frequently by Buddy or me.
Happy Holidays from Thanksgiving to Valentines Day to all!