Sunday, January 31, 2016

Recommendations for Combating the Mid-Winter Blues!

Dear Gardening Friends,
     In bleak mid-winter, (now, in other words), it isn’t just a lack of vitamin D, caused by insufficient sunshine, with its attendant risk of weakened bones that one must take measures to rectify. Another seasonal debilitating ailment, is one I refer to as a vitamin “G” (as in “G”arden) deficiency, wherein a lack of greenery and the absence of color, among other things, induces a sense of spiritual lethargy manifested by indifference to ones surroundings, disdain for the political process and a weakening of ones ability to resist bad TV. The urban dweller and the suburbanite are both equally vulnerable to this condition. If a visit to tropical climes isn’t on ones agenda, one might be tempted to despair. But, fear not! Effective remedies are at hand, and accessible to every budget.
     For a lucky few, from January 22cnd until the 31st, at the Park Avenue Armory in New York, the 62cnd annual Winter Antiques Show, A Benefit for Eastside House Settlement, is underway. There, seventy vetted dealers have scoured the globe to present the most rare and beautiful antiques, art and decorative furnishings one can imagine. Among them, Barbara Israel has once again assembled an inspiring selection of garden furnishings to suit every landscape, grand or intimate. I did hear one visitor complain as she left, that “Years ago, it was possible for a middle-class person (like me) to actually afford to buy something.” “Now,” she continued, “these are all museum pieces.”

     A favorite remedy for the Winter Blues, also sometimes referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder, that is so simple as to seem obvious, is a bouquet of fresh flowers. These days, even the neighborhood grocery is likely to have a supply of flowers on hand.  In these parts, along Broadway on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, we are fortunate to have vendors whose open-air displays of flowers are by themselves, a tonic for the neighborhood. Just to view them as one walks past has an edifying effect on ones psyche.  For just twelve dollars – less than the price of a packet of cigarettes, and infinitely better for ones health – one can acquire a bouquet of twenty roses in the color of ones choice, from pure white to the deepest red, and nearly every hue in between. I encourage those with a slightly larger budget to visit the newest iteration of Surroundings, flowers and event planners, recently opened at 2675 Broadway at 102cnd street, on the southwest corner. There, Stephen Buchwald and the friendly staff, monitored by canine companion Katie, the Bischon Frise, bring their years of experience to creating delightful floral arrangements for every occasion – or, no occasion at all. They pride themselves on having one of the largest selections of cut flowers to be found anywhere in town, and welcome browsers, no purchase required.

     There is more. Chances are, if you live in the country, you already have a birdfeeder. If not, I urge you to consider investing in one. The dividend will be untold hours of entertainment by your local avian community - as long as you keep the feeder filled! Especially when the ground is snow-covered, and other sources of food are unavailable, a feeder is a lifeline to the birds, just as their aerial acrobatics will be an endless source of fascination for you. What is more, if they learn to associate you with food now, the birds will continue to return in the Spring and Summer when their songs will be the soundtrack of your landscape, and their presence can be an aid in pollination. Even urbanites can undertake to support a birdfeeder, though you may find that the birds must compete with other, undesirable creatures for the seed!
     If there is anyone who still needs to consult a seed catalogue, here are links to a few of the dozens of catalogues and online sites that I enjoy:

Keep gardening!

( All photographs copyright Everett H. Scott, 2016. All rights reserved. No image may be used or reproduced without express written permisssion from Everett H. Scott.)

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