Lori and Jack in the garden: Time to prepare for winter (and spring), and hang those wreaths


Cold mornings and cool afternoons, hot apple cider and flannels, fires and crockpot dinners; who doesn’t enjoy all these things this time of year? There is a sense of peace cutting back all the gardens, pulling out all the annuals, and getting everything put to bed for the long winter rest. It’s usually very quiet, the hustle and bustle of all the traffic is gone, and I can hear the wind blow through the bare branches of the trees. As I’m taking in the moment, there’s a shout from the truck: it sounds kind of like a, “Hey Mom what are you doing out there? I want to come play too!” Although he is not a very good helper yet, it’s great to see him playing in the dirt and wanting to touch everything.

Now is the time to get things cleaned up and give everything a light feeding. I usually use about half the amount of PlantTone/HollyTone that I use in the spring. I also make note of any pruning I will want to do in early spring. Late winter or early spring is when you should prune fruit trees, and also spray a horticultural oil going into the spring to take care of any unruly bugs.

I’ve really been trying to get all my fall clean-ups done so I can focus on the final push for the year, hand-tied wreaths and terrariums. For the past 11 years, I have been tying wreaths here and in Vermont. It’s so festive coming home at night with my fingers all black and sticky from the pitch of the brush.

The wreath is a very symbolic decoration. When people used to celebrate the winter solstice, the wreath was a sign of thanks for the end of the shortening days and the days ahead with more sunshine. In Greece, the wreath was used to symbolize victory. They would wear it on top of their heads and hang a wreath on the door to show success. For Christians, it is a symbol of eternity and life, a circle with no end or beginning. The evergreen boughs would last through the harshest winters as a sign that spring was coming again and celebrate the life and rebirth ahead. Now the wreath is used more commonly as a sign of welcome and holiday cheer.

The wreath can be a gift that will keep on growing. It reminds people that spring will be here before we know it. In years past, people have commented on how long the fraser wreaths last and hold up through the winter. I had one customer that took it down when crocuses started poking up. That really does show that they can stand up to the harshest weather until spring comes again.

Bringing it back to the basics and remembering the important things in life is what I think the holiday season is all about. Spending time with family and friends and enjoying their company while you can, living life and watching it evolve and grow. It’s important to savor and enjoy all those moments that pass you by so quickly, taking the time to stop and smell the flowers while they are in bloom, or taking a deep breath and remembering to be patient when your one-year-old pulls all the leaves you’ve just raked out of the bucket. Sometimes even though I have to do the same task five times over, I can’t help but laugh at his excitement and awe over the simplest things.

From our family to yours, I hope you all enjoy the quiet winter and warmest wishes to you all!