Winter Reflections

January—fast on the season of gratitude and gifts—tries my patience. Minus the illumination of holiday lighting and spirited gatherings, the long nights seem darker. And even though, technically, we’ve passed the winter solstice and the days are growing longer, persistent wind and rain sap any motivation I might drum up for venturing outdoors. Call me delicate, but I do my best gardening in my head at this time of the year.

In this issue we’re taking a thoughtful look at the garden—less digging, more digression. More than simply a mix of plants, soil, and sun, gardens mark the passage of time. They reflect history and reference a culture as you’ll read in stories about Seattle’s celebration of a conservatory’s centennial, and a beautiful Sonoma garden with roots in Japan.

Relationships and community provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, not to mention the latest scoop on the best plants. Whether we’re talking dry garden design and growing strategies, or choice citrus, clivia, succulents, and Great Plant Picks, our West Coast gardening community owes a debt of gratitude to plantspeople near and far.

And finally, free from the preoccupation of a busy growing season, we’re taking the time to contemplate the long and faithful life—and loss—of a single mature tree in an Oregon landscape, a tribute to a West Coast gardening hero, and a perceptive essay on nature and place.

Let winter have its way. Pull up a chair by the fire, pour a cup of tea—or a stronger tonic against the chill—and savor this edition of Pacific Horticulture. And by all means, send us your thoughts as we begin to plot the coming year and another trip around the sun.

Blue fescue (Festuca glauca), a succulent fragment (Graptopetalum?) and a florist cyclamen are keeping me company this winter. Photo: Lorene Edwards Forkner

Check out my latest indoor gardening effort and for more inspiration go here.