This may sound more like a promotion than a rant, but that’s too bad. I must express how much I appreciate good garden centers at this time of the year. There really isn’t too much to occupy me  outdoors, which has taken on its usually dreary waiting-for-snow look. (Snow-covered landscapes are our “winter interest” here.) 

There are still about 40 bulbs to get in though and that is happening this weekend. Not exactly a fun task, but I’m glad I can still do it.

But if I really want to be surrounded by lush, green fragrant life, I am lucky enough to have at least four- and probably others I haven’t been to at this time before – independent garden centers/plant stores to visit. And this is stuff I can buy and bring into the house.

Many friends take to the woods and fields at this time for various evergreen branches, red dogwood, berries and other holiday decor, but I’m a. Lazy, b. Not really sure where it is, and c. It’s too dreary. It’s not the invigorating crisp, clear cold (as above)  – yet.

My favorite IGC has evergreens of every possible description, including those that probably do not grow around here. There are flowering plants of all types. There is a crazy selection of (mostly unpainted) poinsettias. There is hot cider or chocolate and cookies. (Sometimes there’s booze.) 

There are no animatronic Santas, Rudolphs or any of the plastic detritus that fills the big boxes at this time. Walking into those is enough to put you off Christmas for good. 

Sometimes I am able to convert the flowering plants into permanent houseplant residents, sometimes not. The evergreens I use to decorate the whole property, inside and out; the outdoor arrangements last all winter. 

In our area, IGCs work hard to keep themselves relevant all year around and that includes the times when very few people are outside working on their gardens. 

I am thankful for this. There are few ways in which this is not a stressful time, even for those who try to ignore it all. Year-end deadlines are still there; the tasks mount up and there’s this feeling of needing to be happy when, a lot of the time, you’re not.

There no garden to sit in at the end of the day, but, thanks in large part to these local businesses, I can turn my house into something close.