The Winter Solstice arrived recently - which for those of us in Seattle meant a 7:55 sunrise and a 16:24 sunset! I am sure that many places across the country are experiencing a similar cloak of darkness. But for the gardeners, there is hope as each day gets a little longer and planting season will be arriving soon!
Most winter festivals celebrate "light" (think menorahs, Diwali, or how we decorate our houses). Many of the plants we think of as being part of Christmas festivities are based on ancient traditions. For example, holly, mistletoe and ivy are ever-greens and were used to reflect the eternity of the gods, who were "ever young" aka "ever-green".Historically, pine boughs were used for decoration and also burnt as incense.
Most herbs are fine to overwinter in the garden also. I recently cut back my rosemary, sage, lavender and mint to make these "smudge sticks". Smudging is a way to energetically cleanse a space to invite positive energy. When smudging a space, you burn plant material and the smoke fills the space and purifies the environment. I don't know about you, but I certainly could use a cleaning of 2020! Best wishes in the New Year and hope we all get to see more of each other!