Green Thoughts

End-of-the-Year Thanks to Mother Nature

In Southern California, we are very lucky to have sunshine more days than not and temperatures that are hardly ever life-threatening. We can enjoy our beautiful natural surroundings often with a variety of outdoor activities. But, it’s been a year of loss for many in our community. Beloved relatives have died, homes were incinerated, and nest eggs cracked. During the winter, when the days are shortest and darkest, it is sometimes difficult to face a new day. Our ancestors knew that shining a little light into that darkness could bring hope as well as comfort. Our winter festivals and celebrations come at just the right time to bring us together to warm our homes and hearts.

It is heartening to see green once again begin to clothe the blackened hillsides, and as houses are rebuilt, so will the gardens and landscapes around them. Even for those of us who were personally unscathed by fires or the loss of loved ones, no one has escaped the stress of supporting our friends in the community who have. For all of us nature lovers, the recovering creeks and trails, the resprouting of the Botanic Garden have also given us solace. No less have our own gardens helped to heal our spirit. Even if our work at weeding, pruning, and planting has been just a part of our normal routine, it has surely diverted our thoughts from those of loss to thoughts of growth and nurturing.

As those who sit in power deliberate on our future, let us continue to cultivate our own little corners of the world. Healing begins with our most modest efforts. Continue to nurture life and breathe deeply of the blessed oxygen the plants have made for us while we find a way to make sure the Earth remains clothed in green for generations to come.

Virginia Hayes, curator of Ganna Walska Lotusland, will answer your gardening questions. Address them to Gardens, The Independent, 122 W. Figueroa St., S.B., CA 93101. Send email to

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