Sweetwater

Frozen Flowers

MS

Last year, I had snapdragons open in my garden on Christmas, and I live in New Jersey.

Our unusually long growing seasons these past few years have coincided with the purchase of our first home on a teeny tiny piece of land in the suburbs, nestled between the New York City skyline and Hudson to the east, undulating mountains to our north and west, and the famed seashore to the south. The deer eat anything and everything here, but we love it.

We grow fruits and veggies, herbs and flowers of all ilks: basil, sage, and rosemary, lavender and chamomile, spicy nasturtiums, savory monarda, and radiant, mid-summer, yellow-blooming native St. John's Wort, among many others.

After the spring and summer, turning over the garden for the winter can feel like a sacred ritual. Cut down some of the once-fecund plants, now wilting, chop up their stems, mix them up with dirt and worms. Water the winter rye seeds and transplant the shrubs. The last of the herb garden's flowery sprigs become evermore precious.

As all but my chives really hunker down for winter, and I do in my house with my wooly socks and humidifiers, I hope you're able to curl up and enjoy a cup of tea in the window, enjoying the changing of season, looking out at the fat, whitening squirrels and the rain falling on the red leaves.