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Decorating one’s home, office and oneself are all ways of honoring the spirit of the season, and the practice dates back to some very old tradition that ties more to the plantings of spring, the bounty of summer and fall and the sequestering demands of winter than we would ever imagine.

We readily draw from nature in our festive endeavors. We gather bouquets of blossoms from the generous offerings of our gardens and place them in lovely vases about our homes to mark important holidays and passages. We harvest grapevines and cattails and wheat and bittersweet in fall and fashion them into wreathes we hang upon our doors, welcoming guests who draw together before the cold of winter isolates us one from the other. We chop wood that we burn in our hearths to keep the bitter cold at bay.

Though we often lose sight of it, we are not only inextricably tied to the seasons of nature, we are a part of it.

It is a charming observation that plants always know what to wear, no matter what the season. In spring and summer roses are beautifully appointed. They give us pleasure, lift our spirits and offer their exquisite fragrance and beauty. Daisies are more rough and tumble, and seem to draw a smile. The dainty columbine offers us a bit of old-fashioned subtle charm. Each flower, bush, tree and bud knows its place in the scheme of things and dresses accordingly.

I am the kind of woman who wears orange and black on Halloween, red and green on Christmas and something pastel (and probably floral) on Easter. I just am.

Painted in my childhood memories is a dark, rich burgundy velvet dress with a rounded white lace collar. This dress is etched forever in my Christmas memory book. As a teen I remember the absolutely visceral thrill of deciding to wear a small red hat with a lavender dress and coat and high heels on Easter Sunday, making an early bold statement about my independent nature. Or borrowing my mother’s cashmere sweaters, luscious butterscotch and pale blue, and wearing them to high school classes. I fondly recall a bold houndstooth black and white wool checkered coat that sheltered me from the winter snows. I am all of this and more.

Are we so unlike the flowers?

Are you the elegant rose, the sturdy daisy, the tumbling tumbleweed rolling across dusty plains? Are you the shy mountain iris, the chrysanthemums of Thanksgiving, or December’s holly or ivy? The burning bush of Appalachia, the traditional hydrangea, beautiful though faded, or the steady and reliable geranium, tucked on a winter’s ledge next to a white lace curtain on this side of the glass, looking out? Or do you venture forth with the showy blaze of a bird of paradise?

What is it you turn to mark the special passages of time with those you love? What gay and festive treasures? What fancy flights of expressions of who you really are?

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Kathryn Hall is a popular gardening blogger and author of the book Plant Whatever Brings You Joy, in which she shares 52 life lessons honed from working in many gardens over the years, each illustrated by a story from her life, designed to spark the imagination -- and innate wisdom -- of the reader. In addition to being a passionate gardener, she is a devoted mother, a keen Nature observer and an animal lover. For more information, please visit plantwhateverbringsyoujoy.com.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I’m a changling, depending on where I am growing at the time. Dressing up is fun for me and I tend to take advantage of any opportunity but jeans and carharts rate most often in my casual (and outdoorsy) world…so what flower am I then? Fun to consider…always enjoy your insights.

  2. Thank you, Edge Magazine, for posting this excerpt from my book Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden! So appreciated! ~Kathryn Hall

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