I have long been of the mind that the gardening season can thrive during the late fall and can not only endure, but robustly represent a gardener’s point of view throughout the winter months. The stakes are high. The winters in my zone can be fierce. The skies are an unvarying shade of gray for months on end. We pile on the winter gear, and slog through the snow to work. Our winters are cold and dark. Winter gardening asks for a different idea, different tools, and an active imagination. I may light a dormant shade garden with twinkle lights strewn on the ground, given that the chartreuse hostas have gone dormant. The mixed fir evergreen garland wired up with pine cones and other natural materials that will go over my front door for the holiday season will please the gardener in me. I most assuredly will stuff my containers with cut greens, fresh cut twigs, and anything else I might fancy, with the idea that they will recall the warmth and comfort of the garden over the winter.
Gardeners are working people. Once the last of the spring flowering bulbs are planted, those hands are hard to keep still. I am not ready to cozy up to a stack of books. It was many years ago that Rob and I decided to make something more of the coming of the cold than resignation. We transform the shop into a destination for materials to enrich the holiday and winter season. Most of the shopping was done this past January. When our purchases begin to arrive in July, it is easy to spot why we liked them. Invariably, there is a reference to nature and natural materials.
Every year we feature one sort of holiday tree or another. This year, Rob has sourced tall and thin trees in a variety of species that share a certain look in common. These trees have been deliberately pruned and grown to produce an old fashioned shape. These sparse, short needled trees are grown Victorian style, meaning those big open spaces are friendly to hanging ornaments, birds on clips, and garland.
We will have plants. We have a great selection of amaryllis, available as bulbs, potted up, or growing in water in glass cylinders. There will be pots of berried wintergreen, and white variegated club moss. And of course, some hellebores. But the majority of what we have available are garden ornaments that evoke the materials and spirit of the garden.
The grapevine deer sculptures are life size, and beautifully made. The frames are steel. The vines will last for many years, given a yearly application of sealer. These are the kind of deer one could welcome to a garden-especially a winter garden.
We will open our winter/ holiday season tonight from 5 to 9. This party is in large part a thank you to the community of gardeners that frequent our doors. We always have new people, for whom this night is an introduction to our place. We will have something good to eat and drink, live music, and lively conversation. We invite everyone to preview our winter collection.
And finally, Rob’s lighting collection. We have some very exciting new options available this year. For those of you who are too far away to attend, I will post pictures of how the shop looks at night. Great lighting can transform a winter landscape. You’ll see.