Wednesday, December 30, 2009

We'll take a cup of kindness yet

Santa’s visit left our little toddler filled with wonder and delight. Always thoughtful, Santa also left this gardener a few pretty things.

These little gems, some new books, some music, and Vicar of Dibley, Series III, are sustaining me during the holidays. Along with maple fudge and red wine – ahem, all in the name of getting rid of my cold, you understand.

I am currently reading a book of Scottish folktales and watching my new Paperwhites (Narcissus tazetta) grow. (They have roots already!!). I was going to save this little prezzie for my office but I just couldn’t wait. Santa is a smart one all right – and much handsomer in person! :-)

These are lazy days. Our big adventure has been to sneak away during the day, after handing the wee toddler over for safekeeping, and go to an afternoon matinee. I highly recommend the new Sherlock Holmes movie if you are a Robert Downey Jr. fan, as I am.

It has been so nice to visit with family, sing my wee guy’s new favourite song, “Jingle Bells” at each meal, have guests over, and go for dinner with a dear friend from out of province.

This is surely the season of hugs and promises of a bright new year - one that will offer us all new delights.

Wishing each of you a Very Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Thank you all for visiting my blog this first year of Gardening with Latitude. I've so enjoyed getting to know something of each of you through your comments. You have been very generous in your encouragement and support, and that has made this so much fun.

I have especially enjoyed visiting your blogs and learning about your gardens and their creative, hardworking and witty gardeners. With your shared experiences, I feel a little braver about trying some new things in my garden and I'm inspired by the acheivements of you all.

So, to all the generous, talented and beautiful bloggers whom I have enjoyed so much this past year, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a holiday season that finds you in a place of peace and love.

As my toddler would say, "Yayyyyy!!"

With joy,
The Garden Ms. S

Monday, December 21, 2009

We Shift Towards the Light

It seems this is a powerful time of year for memories. Perhaps because it is the longest night of the year. Perhaps because when we gyre around again and touch the same touchstones, we are closer to the centre of ourselves than we are at other times of the year.

It seems that when we open those boxes of old ornaments, when we dance the steps of the old rituals, we remember everything we tucked away all year. We trace the patterns of our experience and we remember. We remember the last “I love you's”, and the gardens we were so lucky to grow up in.

Perhaps that is why we need the transformation this season holds; the festival, the music, the rekindling of our selves, the opportunity to renew old friendships, heal old wounds and redress old transgressions.

It’s an opportunity to hold those we love closer, to make new friends, and to rediscover our own generosity of spirit. It’s a time to dig deep inside ourselves and find our “funny” – to make ourselves laugh and others laugh.

If you have lost someone, you know that in the heart of your joy this season, there is a light of love burning bright for all those whom you have loved. If you need a hug to acknowledge that love and embrace it into your joy, then I am sending you one, right now.

In case you need a smile and a giggle, enjoy this music, and I hope that it finds you grinning and chuckling as it does me:

Tomorrow, the sun turns our way and as gardeners, we walk out to meet it, seed catalogues in hand, with joy and with laughter.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Bells for the Birds

Well, I confess,

I always thought the little caps of snow that adorn mountain ash berries in winter

make the berries look just like Christmas bells for the birds.

Hey, birds need Christmas bells, too, right? ;-)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Words have Frozen to the Windows

This morning I awoke to temperatures of -31 ºC (-23.8 ºF), and it is supposed to get colder. I will be snuggling into my faux fur throw today and making my hot Ovaltine cocoa drink (the secret is the allspice!), eating stinky cheeses and listening to Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas CD.

[photo taken November 22, 2009, when winter was merely frosty]

I wasn't going to leave the house at all, except, a colleague surprised me by announcing he is conducting a Christmas concert this evening at a church very near my home, and I would so love to go. You would think I would be content after hearing Handel's Messiah at the Winspear last weekend, but I just love Christmas music (not of the Dept store variety), and particularly choral music. So, I may slip out and brave the weather and hope my eyelashes don't freeze should the music move me to tears.

I'll leave you to enjoy the warmth of your cosy homes with this quote I found a few years ago that feels very apropo to these crystalline days:

"Antisthenes says that in a certain faraway land the cold is so intense that words freeze as soon as they are uttered, and after some time then thaw and become audible, so that words spoken in winter go unheard until the next summer."
~ From Plutarch's Moralia

Hope you are finding ways to keep your spirit warm!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Winter at the Garden Gate

Off to the garden centre today to pick up greens for an urn. I couldn't resist this giant green bow. And then I found this equally over-sized frosted pewter magnolia blossom. I decided they would go together perfectly in my urn. Um, yeah no. So I popped them in the lattice by the garden gate.

For some reason, this spot just seemed to work for for my frothy little concoction. It felt, at the last light of the day when I took this picture, that it drew me into the quiet of the winter garden.

Do you find yourself stepping out into the garden in winter just to soak up the quiet beauty?