Mama Reindeer, seen in the "middle" of the image posted above, is someone whom you may recognize, dear reader, as she came with her twins (standing to her right in the aforementioned image), to spend the 2011-2012 Christmas season in my urban (NYC) garden, and as of today's posting, January 2nd 2012, they are still here.
Perhaps their extended stay is due to the fact that Christmas does not end until the Feast of the Epiphany (celebrated on the third Sunday after Christmas in the United States), which will be January 8th 2012.
Moreover, the Christmas season extends to February the 2nd in many parts of Europe, when The Feast of the Presentation is celebrated; bringing the Christmas season in those countries to a close.
Be that as it may, the aforementioned reindeer made their arrival a little over a week before Christmas, which is a fact that you may recall from some of the things I wrote about them on TLLG, as well as some of the things I posted about them on nybg's (New York Botanical Garden) tumblr, all of which I pegged, "the reindeer effect". At that time I featured these reindeer in a couple of images, including the image posted above today's entry.
In the aforementioned image, taken on December 15th 2011, Mama Reindeer and her twins were – as you may recall — conversing about the unusually warm weather temperatures that were prevailing in my urban garden at the time of their arrival; and, they were marveling that the little yellow flowers from my Helichrysum bracteatum (Strawflowers), seen in the lower left hand corner of this particular image, were still going strong — blooming as if it were summer.
At that time the reindeer came to the conclusion that "perhaps, these Helichrysum bracteatum flowers were living out the adage, Christmas in July", but I think it is more likely that the things still thriving in my urban garden were confused by the unusually warm temperatures.
The Helichrysum bracteatum flowers were not the only ones that did not seem ready to settle down for a long winter's nap: some of the other things in my garden were still going strong too. Not only were my roses, White Swan Echinacea, and Tropaelum majus AKA Nasturtium (all off camera) still thriving, but sprouts, from the bulbs of the Tulipia Tarda, Tulipia Curley Sue, and Original Poets Daffodil plants (also off camera), that Juan V had planted in containers in my garden this past November, were beginning to peak out from their slumber — which is way too early — since they need to sleep until April or May of 2012; and it was only December 15th of 2011.
Either the things I grow — like their gardener, yours truly — have a tendency towards insomnia and therefore they were not ready for a winter's nap, or the things I grow were not wanting to fall asleep because they were enjoying the company of the reindeer; or the things I grow are experiencing the result of global warming, and seeing first-hand how it is directly affecting their lives — something that I do not mean to make light of on any level. For, while the milder and warmer temperatures have made it easier to get around the city — as opposed to navigating the city streets when snow and the wind which "normally" prevail at this time of year — and, while I enjoy seeing things in my garden thrive, the "normal" conditions of winters in the northeastern portion of the United States, where the things which I grow and I live, are essential to our lives.
This year's warm spell is something I consider to be quite unusual in my years as an urban gardener, and, in fact, in the past I have had to winterize my garden by late November, or early December at the very latest, using methods I discussed as a guest blogger for Fern Richardson. As you may recall from one of my previous posts, Richardson, like yours truly, is a container gardener, and her blog is titled, Life on the Balcony.
My opportunity to write for Fern was one of the many blessings I experinced in 2011, but little did I know at the time I queried her, proposing that I do a winterizing post (pointing out our different climates, hers California, and mine New York City), how emotionally different my urban garden winterizing experience (for the 2011-2012 season) would feel. For this year it was much harder to accept that the things I grow in my urban garden, and I, have to say "goodbye for the winter" (putting a spin on the famed lyrics of Brian Hyland's "classic-song" which was discussed in a blog entry on TLLG this past September).
And so, realizing the saying of goodbye for the winter was inevitable, I asked Juan V to help me do the wrapping of the 80+ things that I grow in containers placed atop my terrace garden. These things include herbs, salad greens, vines, grasses, flowers, plants, succulents, sedum, shrubs and trees, all of which need their homes (eclectic containers) and themselves protected from winter's "standard" cold temperatures and high winds. The wrapping of all these things is vital to their comeback in the spring, and this method of winterizing has proved successful over the past winter seasons, as I indicated in a segment of my post regarding container garden winterizing on Fern Richardson's blog.
Juan V and I scheduled our work for Tuesday, December 27th 2011, which was nearly twenty days later than last year. Perhaps because I had had the things I grow with me for part of the Christmas holiday season this year, it was much harder to say goodbye for the winter this season.
Rain was predicted for our scheduled wrapping day, and part of me hoped that Juan V would reschedule, so that I could have the things I grow with me through the new year, but alas, Juan V did not reschedule, and he arrived — with big bags of mulch — at my apartment where I had been living amongst reams of bubble wrap and rolls of burlap in anticipation of the inevitable.
As we wrapped my things, I felt pained when he plucked and handed me the surviving Helichrysum bracteatum's (straw) flowers, seen in the image below,
where it seems they are now looking at each other in surprise as they attempt to embrace their new, and very temporary home, a ball-jar vase. While I have appreciated the look of cut flowers, I often find myself agreeing with a quote attributed to Jacques Deval which is this, "God loved the flowers and invented soil. Man loved the flowers and invented vases." This is a variation of a saying by Deval which went like this, "God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages." So, while one might think I would enjoy seeing my Helichrysum bracteatum in a "vase" on a shelf in my small studio apartment, the truth is when Juan V handed them to me, I knew how much I would miss going out into my garden and have my Helichrysum bracteatum surprise me with their antics. They were quite entertaining; and I documented several of their adventures in my posts on TLLG, which you may refer to by clicking here. I also described some of their comings and goings on nybg's tumblr. Additionally, I posted an array of photographs of them in a set on my Flickr Gallery which you may view by clicking here. AND, moreover, this past July (2011), one of my Helichrysum bracteatum's flowers authored its own post which you may read by clicking here.
I was surprised that Juan V cut the flowers off the Helichrysum bracteatum — in order for him to be able to mulch it and then wrap it up (as seen below),
because this plant is considered an annual, and I thought he would leave it there to live out its last days.
However, the things that I have grown over the years never cease to amaze me. A few things known to be die-hard perennials have not returned, and things known to be "just an annual," have returned time and time again. If this is the case, and my Helichrysum bracteatum ends up returning next season, I will feel better about the flowers that were sacrificed. Meanwhile, my reindeer seem a bit in awe at the fact that my Helichrysum bracteatum have disappeared, and that instead of finding themselves amongst thriving foliage, they find that they are in the midst of things that are attempting to take a winter's nap, as seen in the images posted below:
The images above show only a small portion of what we wrapped, and I plan to feature more of images of the "winter look", during my year in review segments, which are scheduled for "airing" here on TLLG during a number of "follow up Friday" posts in the weeks ahead, as per a plan I laid out on TLLG this past Saturday (please click here for details).
Meanwhile, I should add that the Helichrysum bracteatum's flowers were not the only ones that were cut whist still blooming, my White Swan Echinacea had its flowers cut to so that we could winterize it (as seen in the image below),
and while its flowers look sweet in a little curette that I have on my easel, as seen in the image below,
I will miss going out and seeing its never-fail-to-surprise-demise, something which I have included in TLLG posts that you may refer to by clicking here. As you know my White Swan Echinacea is quite opinionated, particularly in manners of trends in fashion, as she discussed in a blog post that she authored on the "wearing of white after labor day", a post, which you may refer to by clicking here.
In any event, looking out my back door, before I go out into my garden is usually most inspiring. One of my main views, prior to last Tuesday's winterizing, had been looking at my lemon-lime triplets, which can be seen below.
These triplets were something Juan V brought to my garden on December 16th 2011 to fill the void left by moving my Hyssop triplets that were in my "fireplace planter" (the turquoise object seen in the image above), which had previous been a home to the containers where my Hyssop thrived this year (seen in the image posted below),
as it brought nourishment to my first-time-visiting bees, a fact that was documented in a number of posts on TLLG which you may refer to by clicking here, and an event that was featured on nybg's tumblr that you may read by clicking here.
But, as soon as Juan V left last Tuesday, the turquoise planter stood empty as seen below,
(as we had to bring the lemon-lime triplets inside for the winter season)* and all that remained was an unsightly cord that was the power source for the lights which are still on my Japanese Larch (Larix Kaempferi), which stands to the right of this planter. I would provide an updated aerial view of this, but Juan V and I were working under very rainy conditions during the end of our "it's a wrap day" and we could not chance him getting injured in a photo-op. As of today's posting, Juan V has agreed to come back on Thursday, January the 5th of 2012, to take a final aerial view for the season.
* I am very concerned about my having to bring the lemon-lime triplets inside — as bringing things inside my apartment in previous years was unsuccessful — and it is something I wrote about in Part Two as a guest blogger for Fern Richardson. This time, at the suggestion of Juan V, I will build a special shelf in my kitchen window, near my armoire whose top provides the living space for my indoor succulent garden and the figurines who frequent it as per the "stories" you may refer to by clicking here.
My conclusion on the sense of loss regarding this year's winterizing is that, while it was totally expected, it came suddenly with a BOOM. It came amidst the push to get things done before a new year, it came amidst a push to honor the holidays, it came amidst trying to fulfill many obligations, and now, suddenly, it's all over! As for my planter, looking so empty and in competition with an unattractive cord, I quickly disguised the cord by putting chard filled containers in the planter (as seen in the image below).