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Posts Tagged ‘winter solstice’

The winter sun peeks through ice covered branches.

Happy Winter!

Today, December 21st at 11:49 PM EST marks the 2015 winter solstice. At this moment in time, the North Pole (due to the axial tilt of the earth) is at its furthest point from the sun.

My post from December, 2011 expresses my sentiments of this day.

And … my Christmas Rose is blooming! Right on time!

 

The day on which the winter solstice occurs is deemed the first day of winter. It is the shortest day of the year and consequently the longest night of the year. For eons, many different festivals have been held in observance of this annual astronomical event, most of them celebrating the birth of the new solar year.

I find it a time to reflect on the beauty of the season – the quiet stillness of winter. And when there is snow on the ground – even better, softer, quieter …

Flower buds of the native dogwood lie in wait under a coating of fresh snow.

Flower buds of the native dogwood lie in wait under a coating of fresh snow.

But even in the midst of this tranquility, one can catch a glimpse of the dynamic new season that awaits us. A leisurely walk through the winter garden can be very peaceful; but at the same time quite exciting if you are observant to the world around you.

Though most plants are “sleeping” at this time of year, many show the promise of the beautiful blooms to come with plump flower buds adorning their otherwise naked (except for the evergreens of course!) branches.

Rhododendron flower buds are wrapped up tightly for the winter but come spring ...

Rhododendron flower buds are wrapped up tightly for the winter but come spring …

Dogwoods, azaleas, rhododendrons, and other spring blooming trees and shrubs all produced their flower buds last season. These buds lay dormant now but as spring approaches they will begin to swell and then it won’t be long until they burst into a glorious display of blossoms.

Something to look forward to!

The herbaceous perennials may be brown and dry above the ground but I know that below the soil surface, the new buds are cozy and protected, just waiting for the first warm breaths of spring to initiate their growth.

A cardinal sits on the snowy branches of a honeysuckle vine.

A bright red cardinal sits on the snowy branches of a honeysuckle vine.

.

The woods are full of the sights and sounds of critters scurrying around busy with their winter activities. Walking through the woodland garden, we always see loads of birds flitting through the trees and shrubs foraging on a wide variety of seeds and berries. We typically leave everything standing in our gardens over the winter and this provides an abundance of food for the birds. There is a wonderful diversity of wild birds that live and winter in the woods around our house. They’re great fun to watch at the feeders during the winter and happily many of them stick around to gobble up some of the insect pests in the vegetable garden during the summer!

The elongated hole is typical of the Pileated Woodpecker. Notice the strategically placed holes! Do you think they were using the shelf fungus as an unbrella?

The elongated hole is typical of the Pileated Woodpecker. Notice the strategically placed holes! Do you think they were using the shelf fungus as an umbrella?

Often the silence is broken by the drumming of woodpeckers in the surrounding woods. We purposely leave dead trees standing –
if they’re in an area where we’re sure they won’t fall on the house or across our driveway! The woodpeckers love them and most of these trees are riddled with holes of all sizes and shapes where the different species of woodpeckers have been pecking for insect treats.

Squirrels are busy rustling through the dry oak leaves in the woods sniffing out acorns, hickory nuts, and other seeds that have fallen to the ground in great abundance. They scurry up the nearest tree if we get too close and then sit on a branch flicking their tails and scolding us for disturbing their foraging.

A fluffed up bluebird tried to stay warm on a snowy day.

A fluffed up bluebird tries to stay warm on a snowy day.

.

.

I have so much to be thankful for and a quiet walk through the woods on a beautiful winter day just seems to be a fitting time to reflect on all the good things that life has brought and to look forward to a wonderful new year full of promise.

My Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger) is beginning to bloom right now!

My Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger) is beginning to bloom right now!

.

.

.

So on this winter solstice, take some time away from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Enjoy a relaxing stroll through your garden and just immerse yourself in the quiet beauty of the winter day!

.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays to all!

I’m looking forward to sharing many new gardening adventures with you in 2012!

.

Noon in Alaska on the solstice. The beautiful Chugach mountain range. Sent to me by Bill McDonald

Noon in Alaska on the solstice. The beautiful Chugach mountain range.

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The winter sun peeks through ice covered branches.

Thursday, December 22nd at 5:30am UTC (12:30am EST) marks the 2011 winter solstice. At this moment in time, the North Pole (due to the axial tilt of the earth) is at its furthest point from the sun.

The day on which the winter solstice occurs is deemed the first day of winter. It is the shortest day of the year and consequently the longest night of the year. For eons, many different festivals have been held in observance of this annual astronomical event, most of them celebrating the birth of the new solar year.

I find it a time to reflect on the beauty of the season – the quiet stillness of winter. And when there is snow on the ground – even better, softer, quieter …

Flower buds of the native dogwood lie in wait under a coating of fresh snow.

Flower buds of the native dogwood lie in wait under a coating of fresh snow.

But even in the midst of this tranquility, one can catch a glimpse of the dynamic new season that awaits us. A leisurely walk through the winter garden can be very peaceful; but at the same time quite exciting if you are observant to the world around you.

Though most plants are “sleeping” at this time of year, many show the promise of the beautiful blooms to come with plump flower buds adorning their otherwise naked (except for the evergreens of course!) branches.

Rhododendron flower buds are wrapped up tightly for the winter but come spring ...

Rhododendron flower buds are wrapped up tightly for the winter but come spring ...

Dogwoods, azaleas, rhododendrons, and other spring blooming trees and shrubs all produced their flower buds last season. These buds lay dormant now but as spring approaches they will begin to swell and then it won’t be long until they burst into a glorious display of blossoms.

Something to look forward to!

The herbaceous perennials may be brown and dry above the ground but I know that below the soil surface, the new buds are cozy and protected, just waiting for the first warm breaths of spring to initiate their growth.

A cardinal sits on the snowy branches of a honeysuckle vine.

A bright red cardinal sits on the snowy branches of a honeysuckle vine.

.

The woods are full of the sights and sounds of critters scurrying around busy with their winter activities. Walking through the woodland garden, we always see loads of birds flitting through the trees and shrubs foraging on a wide variety of seeds and berries. We typically leave everything standing in our gardens over the winter and this provides an abundance of food for the birds. There is a wonderful diversity of wild birds that live and winter in the woods around our house. They’re great fun to watch at the feeders during the winter and happily many of them stick around to gobble up some of the insect pests in the vegetable garden during the summer!

The elongated hole is typical of the Pileated Woodpecker. Notice the strategically placed holes! Do you think they were using the shelf fungus as an unbrella?

The elongated hole is typical of the Pileated Woodpecker. Notice the strategically placed holes! Do you think they were using the shelf fungus as an umbrella?

Often the silence is broken by the drumming of woodpeckers in the surrounding woods. We purposely leave dead trees standing –
if they’re in an area where we’re sure they won’t fall on the house or across our driveway! The woodpeckers love them and most of these trees are riddled with holes of all sizes and shapes where the different species of woodpeckers have been pecking for insect treats.

Squirrels are busy rustling through the dry oak leaves in the woods sniffing out acorns, hickory nuts, and other seeds that have fallen to the ground in great abundance. They scurry up the nearest tree if we get too close and then sit on a branch flicking their tails and scolding us for disturbing their foraging.

A fluffed up bluebird tried to stay warm on a snowy day.

A fluffed up bluebird tries to stay warm on a snowy day.

.

.

I have so much to be thankful for and a quiet walk through the woods on a beautiful winter day just seems to be a fitting time to reflect on all the good things that life has brought and to look forward to a wonderful new year full of promise.

My Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger) is beginning to bloom right now!

My Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger) is beginning to bloom right now!

.

.

.

So on this winter solstice, take some time away from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Enjoy a relaxing stroll through your garden and just immerse yourself in the quiet beauty of the winter day!

.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays to all!

I’m looking forward to sharing many new gardening adventures with you in 2012!

.

Noon in Alaska on the solstice. The beautiful Chugach mountain range. Sent to me by Bill McDonald

Noon in Alaska on the solstice. The beautiful Chugach mountain range. Sent to me by Bill McDonald

Read Full Post »

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