Diggin It: When the ‘season’ rolls around

While most of us associate this saying with the winter holidays, gardeners like Grace Peterson have their eye on another prize — springtime.

A few months ago, I stopped at a neighborhood garage sale and a decorative sign caught my eye.

No doubt this sign was a vintage-themed Christmas decoration given the weathered red-and-green-colored letters that spelled out, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” The price was right and the sentiment, well, it was perfect.

I paid the neighbor and brought my festive beacon home with the intention of hanging it outdoors on a patio wall. This may seem odd but you see, those words reflect my sentiments about something more than the winter holidays. Instead, I’m thinking of the spring gardening season, which is my “most wonderful time of the year.”

So, I tacked those words right up where I celebrate the garden.

I have to admit, however, that December is right up there with my favorite times of the year. I enjoy time spent with family, the special meals and gift giving. And I certainly don’t want to rush too far ahead. Time flies fast enough as it is.

We who love to garden don’t stop thinking about gardening just because the weather is frightful, do we? I mean, we’ve got at least a few chores nagging at us. And if we don’t venture outdoors, we’ll miss seeing (and sniffing) a few winter bloomers shyly hanging on despite winter’s harshness. (Winter’s flowers are some of the most fragrant.)

Fortunately, my family doesn’t have to think too hard about what to get me for Christmas. They know I’ll appreciate anything garden-related. Even used trinkets with a few dents, chips or rusty spots are welcome gifts because they add character. And I know I’m not alone because almost every garden I visit has at least a few old-looking embellishments.

Some happy gifts I’ve received include a birdhouse with chipped paint, a rusty wire trellis, an aged wooden ladder and a crusty cement urn.

Conversely, gardeners are not opposed to taking advantage of the latest technology. What gardener wouldn’t love a string of solar lights to illuminate the garden on summer evenings or a floating solar fountain to add a trickle to the birdbath? Or if you’re feeling extravagant and your budget allows, how about a digital weather station? I saw them at Costco last Christmas and was very tempted.

Of course, there are the practical gifts that can mean just as much as a decorative element to a passionate gardener. For instance, a load of compost or potting soil is always nice. Or perhaps a brawny soul willing to lend a hand with the pruning chores.

But then, maybe you know a fair weather gardener, avoiding the havoc that winter can wreak on their plants. Consider a gardening book. Oregon’s own Timber Press has an impressive selection of books on different aspects of gardening and there is always more to learn.

Finally, I want to mention that while you’re out shopping this season, you might see spring-flowering bulbs on clearance. If you pot them up quickly and leave them outdoors, they will make a very nice gift for a grateful gardener.

Happy holidays everyone.

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