No -- it's not a holiday -- but for gardeners it should be. Lord knows -- I certainly feel like celebrating. The long -- slow -- gradual slide into the winter doldrums is officially over. It's time to start thinking about summertime pleasures again.
What exactly is the Winter Solstice? Well -- if you want the fine details in a paragraph or less -- the handy-dandy Wikipedia says:
"The Winter Solstice occurs exactly when the earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23-26. Though the Winter Solstice lasts only an instant in time, the term is also colloqually used as Midwinter or contrastingly the first day of winter to refer to the day on which it occurs. More evident to those in high latitudes, this is the shortest day, and longest night, and the sun's daily maximum position in the sky is the lowest. The seasonal significance of the Winter Solstice is the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days....."
That last line? The underlined portion? That's probably the most important to me as a gardener. To me? It means "rebirth." To me? It means I'm counting down the days until I can harvest my first heirloom tomato of the summer. You've heard of the movie "End of Days?" To me -- the Solstice is "End of Nights." And that's always a good thing.
I didn't always feel this way. At one time in Bill Bird's lifetime -- I couldn't get enough of winter. All of that changed however -- when life with Venus began -- and the gardening gene kicked into high gear.
I've got lots of stuf planned for the coming year -- which I will spell out in every painstaking (boring) detail for you? New fruit trees for the garden? You betcha! New citrus trees? Why -- of course! Thank you for asking! New things to plant and take care of? New headaches? Yes -- and yes!
The winter blahs are officially over. It's a brand new day. Bring on 2010! Old Man Winter can take a hike...