Celebrate!

It finally feels like winter. Hallelujah! There is a slight upswing in temperature coming tomorrow but for right now, for today, it is as how it should be. Bitterly cold. And that is reason enough to cheer. Makes me look ahead to the gardening year with some optimism. And that’s the way I like to be.

Winter months are a good time to review what needs doing and how we can improve ourselves. With the holiday trimmings and trappings removed, it seems as though there is a lightness in the air. A sort of cleansing – out with the old, in with the new. Maybe it is simply because of the start of a new year but the act of putting things right after getting rid of the tree and garlands, is incentive to purge the house of stuff not needed any more. In my case, since I’m getting some interior painting done this month, all draperies and carpets are going to the cleaners. A refreshed, more organized home is eagerly anticipated. I’m determined to be ruthless in getting rid of anything that no longer serves me. This painting project has galvanized me into taking much overdue action in organizing and sorting. I’m certain I’m not alone in desiring simplicity and authenticity. The detritus from my erstwhile negligence will be banished!

I want to get back to making spaces work for how we live. This translates to no high maintenance anything. The business of living should not require attending to the care of objects or environments that do not play a part in our philosophy. Think silverware that need regular polishing,shelves of books that haven’t been opened in ages, outdated clothes, knick knacks with no real sentimental value, uncomfortable or no longer enjoyed but nevertheless pretty furniture ( that last one goes for shoes too!) – you get my drift. What I discard could be useful to others so of course they will be donated appropriately. Thrift stores, Goodwill, Salvation Army, libraries etc.,

The same approach works in the garden. Make your plans now before the busy season. Fussy plants, over-enthusiastic/invasive growers, play-sets that are in danger of becoming fossilized, outdoor furniture that need constant care, lawns demanding way too much attention are all things to get rid of. Fix steps, paths, railings and fences that have become shabby or broken. Introduce native plants that will thrive with minimum care. Reduce the lawn area by creating new flower/vegetable beds or planting trees. Mulch and groundcovers reduce the need for frequent weeding and watering. Keep with organic, environmentally sound practices and use sustainable, native woods for pergolas, gazebos, fences, furniture and such. Alternatively, consider hardworking metals. While plastics have made huge progress in appearance, it is still plastic and must eventually head to already burgeoning land-fills. Children’s play areas should stimulate imaginations and create a sense of adventure and understanding of the natural world.. I’m a big believer in blending that activity space with the rest of the garden. Await a future post on this subject!

With house and garden set up for how we live, it translates to more time to enjoy that lifestyle and fewer obstacles or excuses for not getting on with what we really want to do. That is definitely cause to celebrate.

Announcing my art show at the Ruth Keeler Memorial Library in North Salem, NY. It’ll be on all of January 2016. Please visit!

Just for fun, I’m posting photos of how it looked last year at this time and how it looks now:

Last year:

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Now:

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(c) 2016 Shobha Vanchiswar

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