Break in routine

I have felt at sixes and sevens ever since the garden volunteers started taking their winter break. I miss their company, no doubt about it, but I also miss the structure they bring to my day. No two days are ever the same in any garden but here at Blithewold there’s a certain routine. We’re always ready by nine and outside. In for tea at 10:30. Out again. And back in for lunch around noon. Except in spring when we’re planting, and for about a week in the fall when we’re focused on getting the bulbs in, you could almost set a clock by us.

Yesterday, one of the Wednesday Rock Garden Rockettes and I had the chance to chat and commiserate about feeling “stuck” inside for the winter. But Diane also talked about how she makes an effort every day, no matter what the weather, to walk around her garden. Applause, applause. Maybe because I have been spending so much more time in the greenhouse, which is almost like being outside, I have not made the same daily pledge. For most of us, gardeners or not, this season is the ultimate break in routine. We’re all out and about more than usual making last minute shopping trips, taking in the spectacle of holiday decorations and light displays (have you been to Sparkle yet?), and attending endless parties, concerts, and plays. It’s super festive and fun but all the activity leaves this creature of habit feeling a little wonky. And I think getting back out in the garden every day might be exactly what I need to feel grounded again. The holidays always put me in list-making mode, so here are a couple of to-dos I’m adding to my daily (lack of) routine:

  • Fill the bird feeder (they empty mine within hours); rinse and refill the birdbath. If it gets cold enough for yours to ice over, ask for a heating element or heated basin for Christmas.
  • Check the coldframe and harvest a trug-full for dinner.
  • Rake the last of fall’s leaves into the beds.
  • Take a walk.
  • Check for signs of life and slumber in the garden. If you have an insect house like ours, replace any bits and bobs that fall out when the wind blows.
  • Forage for decorations to add to your mantel or tie to packages. (Always ask permission before foraging away from home.) Leave some of what you find to enjoy and revisit right where they are.
  • Notice if it smells like snow.

Fresh water in the birdbathA healthy crop of lettuce in the coldframeChecking for tenants in the insect house in the Pollinator GardenJapanese Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema sikokianum) seedheadToon tree (Toona sinensis) seedpods

Are you enjoying this season’s break in routine? Do you still spend time out in your garden every day? What would you add to the list?