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The wisdom of winter

Tammy Schmitt

Tammy Schmitt

January 5, 2013

I do not have a winter garden. No snow covers evergreens or drifts in small waves at my feet. The berries are gone, long devoured and those remaining hang wrinkled and small. My garden lies like the bleached bones of a whale, exposed and naked, stark branches and limbs jutting at odd angles against a pewter sky. But my garden doesn’t care and neither do I.

ash tree in winter

She lays collapsed in a heap, spring innocence traded for the humid closeness of summer, stem and petal separated by only a touch. Autumn came slowly and she teased it into high color as only a woman can do. But winter tells a different ending, youth and beauty traded for cold slumber. Gone is the confident sweep of bright flower and alluring scent. No sweet pleasures lie hidden, masked by the modesty of leaf and vine.

She sinks slowly into the earth, her secrets laid bare and whispering. The softness of fresh growth dies at her green hips, round curves now angular and spare. I cover her with a blanket of mulch and say my goodbyes.

Heliopsis flower Photo by Tammy Schmitt Casa Mariposa

Heliopsis thrives in my three season garden


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Julie Thomson
10 years ago

What an amazing climate zone you live in, Tammy, to have such a dramatic close down of growth and foliage. How much more exciting and uplifting to watch it all spring back to life in March/April.

What a magnificent reminder of the power and might of nature and the relentless cycle of life,
We don’t have such drama here in the sub tropics, but the summer brings a certain lethargy that heat, humidity and harsh conditions combine to sap your gardening enthusiasm. For all that it is the most bountiful time of the year, it is my least favourite time to be working outside.