I make my way through this cold November gloom. Days of darkness with only nine hours of daylight this month. Wistfully I remember beautiful, bright June with sixteen hours of sunlight. Seven extra hours of symbiosis with nature. Life was lengthened, twinkling. Now though it’s bleak. Cold and wet with colors of detritus: brown, slate gray, sepia and beige. But the fortunate turn of events is the plants are still there, growing and changing and holding secrets, if you know where to look. Plants can make our lives better, not just in the summer sun, but in November as well. Here are my thanksgiving plants. The ones that help me lift me eyes, smile with gladness and remain cheerful that I live in this Pacific Northwest place.
Dogwood with it’s vertical vibrant bark in colors of deep red and yellow/orange. Dawn Viburnum, promising to blossom with bumpy plump buds, showing pink and cream right now. Fruit, still abundant on pure white Snowberry, glowing purple Beautyberry, and juicy red Crabapple. Winterhazel with fat and happy buds blooming in the next few months in pale yellow drops. Paperbark Maple with a highly textured cinnamon colored bark that curls and peels. Camellia sasanqua, flowering now. It’s like a welcome surprise when you see the dark evergreen leaves with a white or red bloom peeking out, almost as if they don’t belong. The Strawberry Tree with creamy pink flowers and round, cheery red fruit. Wintergreen groundcover with a dark evergreen leaf and holiday red berries. Salal, our native understory plant, with beautiful leathery leaves that remain a rich green throughout the winter. And those amazing conifers; Pine, Fir, Spruce, Cedar and Juniper giving us structure and countless shades of green all year long. And there’s always Yew.
These are just a few of the plants that make me happy this time of of the year (besides pumpkins, potatoes and cranberries, of course). So instead of watching the misty rain fall, look beyond it to these thankful plants.