The Seasonal Rhythm of Plants

Today we live in a world where you can have anything at any time, if you’re willing to pay the price. Fruit out of season. Fresh flowers in the snowy dead of winter. Two-day delivery. On-demand what-have-you. We humans have developed our lifestyle and trade to the point where we can live out of season. An amazing feat, but one that often disconnects us from the natural cycles of the year. However, there are still some living things that reliably mind the seasons, and one of those is the plant world.

We can pretend we’re not in the season we’re in. We can live artificially and we often do, for better or worse. But the plants know better. The plants always know where the light is shifting, how much the humidity is dropping, and when the night starts to fall earlier and earlier. Though our focus might not be attuned to these slight shifts, our plants and our gardens sure are, and we would be wise to follow their lead. 

Your plant friends will have different needs at different times of the year, and by asking that of you, they help you to slow down and notice your environment. The dance around your house to catch the angled chunks of light while you try to find their “winter spot”, sticking your finger into the soil to feel if it’s drying more slowly, the funny feeling of pruning back certain garden plants so much that they look like a loved one with a surprisingly short haircut, these things don’t just help the plant thrive through the changing season, they help you live presently and with good humor in times of transition.

Not only do we need our plants to rest and flourish in their rightful cadence so that we might harvest food and medicine and breathe fresh air, we also need them to remind us of the pace of life. Not the artificial one we as a species have created, but the natural one. 

We need their patience, their wisdom, and their nurturing. We need to remember that we too have seasons, and that no living thing should be expected to bear fruit every day of its life, but should be loved while sleeping, while growing, while blossoming, and even while dying or decomposing. It’s in the texture of life, the texture of a leaf, the fallen flower, or the freshly plucked fruit… the reasons our hearts beat and the world spins and the plants inhale and gently sigh.

Diana Wilson 
Chief Editor and Contributor