Even though the dark days of winter have arrived, the good news is that the days will now progressively get longer culminating in the summer solstice on June 21st. The short duration of light during the day coupled with low temperatures serves well to keep plants on the outdoors “asleep.” In fact, periodic December or January thaws will thankfully not break the dormancy of plants in winter as what is called the chill period will not have been achieved. For example, spring flowering bulbs must be planted in fall so that they may grow roots and receive a 12-14 week chill period of ground temperatures of 40º F or below. Without this period of cold, the bulbs will not break dormancy as they “know” that winter is not over. The change in chemistry in a plant’s system to allow it to grow in spring is governed by the chill period duration and the day length.
As Christmas nears so does the end of the work for the season of selling cut trees, greens, poinsettias and grave decorations! How strange that a product such as a cut Christmas tree has no value after December 24th! Cut trees almost sold too well causing the nursery to sell out early so that the order for next year will be larger from the farm in southern Ohio. While our order will be “carefully” increased, the market in cut trees can fluctuate wildly from year to year. Our order will be placed now for next year to ensure the supply for the next season as there truly is somewhat of a tight supply.
While Christmas is the celebration of the birth if Jesus as predicted and then realized as the account written about in the Bible, chances are Jesus was in fact not born on the 25th of December as more likely the date has more to do with the winter solstice and pagan rituals. Nevertheless, the season is all about the miracle of the birth and the short 3 year ministry of Jesus preaching faith, hope, charity and love so that the exact date of his birth in essence does not really matter.
Merry Christmas everyone!