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Musings of a Horticulturist in Winter

Here in the Horticulture Department, our evaluations of last year’s gardens are tucked away, and the process of designing and ordering and scheduling next year’s show of 86,000+ annual flowers is in full force.  In the midst of looking forward to the pulsing greens and rainbow spectacle of next summer’s colors, I always remind myself to take pause and appreciate the season at hand. 

In the midst of these exceedingly short, gray days, I like to think of the thousands upon thousands of daffodil and tulip and allium bulbs that are resting in our parks and in your yards, all of them encased in total frosted darkness, and I love our confidence in knowing that they will survive this wintry test and will offer their charming magic when we need it the most.

Along with that, I quietly hope for the story-book snow that will grace us just long enough to nestle onto the branches and the browned remnants of last year’s circus blooms. Almost everybody has a patch of purple coneflowers on their ground, and what’s left of their spiny, beautiful flowers is an ideal landing spot for the snow that transforms them into the temporary blooms of icy winter.

But most of all this time of year, I force myself to savor the quiet, the seemingly nothingness of outside winter that sharpens our appreciation for the bustle, the approaching somethingness of spring and summer.

Authored by Randy Hauser, Horticulture Supervisor: randy.hauser@champaignparks.com

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