I can trace my personal winter doldrums back at least to high school. Interestingly enough, my huge collections of house plants also began around that time. I wonder if I was trying to simulate Florida?
In any event, I suspect I don’t have true seasonal affective disorder–that “SAD syndrome” that they talk about every winter. If I did, my house plant collection would probably die of neglect! But I do know that by the time I get to this point in the winter, I am about to run screaming into the streets!
It doesn’t help that I’ve already taken my winter vacation and that I’ve taken it to a place that’s cold and snowy. Usually I can count on seeing some sunlight there, but not this year. This year, it was almost unrelenting clouds, and blizzards! And while the skiers were undoubtedly glad for the snow, it did nothing to lighten my mood. As a result, I am in even greater need for some “horticultural therapy.”
Ten or 15 years ago, I might have started some seeds. I used to be a huge grower of seeds and that would get me through these winter months. But the problem there comes when I go to transition the seedlings to their final outdoor home. I talked about my chipmunk population on Friday. One of the things I failed to mention was their alarming propensity to dig in pots. If they do that to tender seedlings, that’s it, you’re done. I have lost an entire year’s worth of seedlings to chipmunks’ damage. It’s just not worth it.
I’ve also lost many young plants–purchased annuals–as well. That could be the squirrels. I can’t blame the chippers for everything.
So how am I coping during this exceptionally cold year? Not as well as I’d like, of course. But that’s where the house plants come in. If we can’t rely on house plants this time of year, what is there to rely upon?
And thankfully, the different plant societies have begun putting on symposiums. Just spending a day listening to folks talk about plants and seeing all those lovely photos of plants does wonders for the soul. It also helps that some of them have vendors actually selling some plants and plant-related items.
And of course the Flower and Garden shows begin in less than a month. And if all else fails, there are always the garden centers. A few do stay open during the winter. A trip to one of their greenhouses is the next best thing to a tropical vacation!