Into the Darkness

It is the season of darkness, as daylight dwindles each day until the solstice in December. In Colorado, we currently have nearly 10 hours of daylight (9:54 hours today in Denver), dropping to 9:21 hours on December 21. I grew up in Seattle, where daylight hours drop to 8:25 on the solstice, and frequent gray days make it seem even darker. Perhaps your own darkness is longer or shorter than these particular markers.

So what is a gardener to do in the season of darkness? Today I want to explore coming inside during the darkness. Future blogs during this season will also explore what is happening outside – I don’t stay inside all season!

hibiscusLast week, as we dropped into standard time, my hibiscus house plant bloomed a beautiful coral red. The blooms only lasted a few days, but I appreciated their color, probably more than I would have in a different season.

In the fall, with the darkness lengthening, I intentionally look for color and light. Several years ago I realized that I suffer from some seasonal depression. I take steps to deal with this reality each year.

When I am indoors, I make sure that I have living plants or cut flowers to light up my home. I’m not sure how frequently the hibiscus will bloom (I am less successful with houseplants than outdoor plants), but soon I will have poinsettias and a Christmas tree, then amaryllis. Cut flowers from the grocery store fill in the spaces as well.

Visual beauty and living plants are good for my soul. And honesty with seasonal depression means that I address it and take steps for soul care rather than hide out and pretend.

I also take the opportunity to get outside as often as I can in the winter, which is easier with my work-from-home flexibility than it was when I had an office job.

More on the outdoor garden during the season of darkness in future blogs – there is lots going on outside, even if the plants look dormant. That’s true of our souls too – sometimes the growth is happening in hidden, dark places.


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