Gardening with John Gabriele

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Cold weather is not that inspiring when it comes to celebration but with the winter solstice upon us there is great cause for celebration. Solstice is the day the sun is at its lowest point in our southern sky making June 21 the shortest day and the longest night.

Celebrating the solstice in the garden is the perfect way of showing appreciation for our abundance and to herald in the start of a new period of growth as the days will soon begin to lengthen. Fire is an important element of the winter solstice celebrations; it conveys passion and purification.

Since the dawn of time fire has captivated and mesmerised with its beauty. Fires create both a focal point and a social point, a gathering place that creates ambience within a garden, allowing those who gather beside it an opportunity to converse.

Their functionality can not only bring warmth and conversation but also provide opportunity for food preparation.

Fire in a garden can be quite provocative and as we search for a deeper connection with our outdoor environments it is an element that should be given consideration in any garden.

Viewed up close or from a distance, fire is mesmerising. The burning attraction to fire has seen the rise of fire pits as an integral part of outdoor areas, fulfilling the obsession that has long drawn us into a relationship with the flames that will continue to be fuelled eternally.

Fire pits are a social hot spot, a great way to bring people, family and friends together. The warm glow of a fire's colours can also be captured in garden planting with some careful selection.

Citrus with their yellow and orange fruits are the ideal plants for a solstice celebration as yellow and orange are symbolic of the sun. Citrus also produce most of their fruits during the winter months when their colours transform the winter garden. The yellow of lemons and the vibrant tones of oranges, mandarins and cumquats are perfect referents to the sun and flames.

There are also a few flowers to provide some vibrancy in the garden, Calendulas, Red Hot Pokers and a range of Aloes will stand out and command attention.

Mark the winter solstice by gathering around the hearth, a fire pit, barbecue or chimenea for a night of feasting.

This story Get fired up for winter solstice celebrations in the garden first appeared on The Canberra Times.