Discovering a hidden haven in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia

At last! It’s here! The shortest day of the year!

Those who read my earlier post whining about the days closing in will know that I’m not so excited because today is such a short day, but because tomorrow will be longer. It may be imperceptible, but I will know it is true in my heart of hearts!

So, here in the Gippy Garden I am celebrating my own little Winter Solstice Festival.

As the sun reaches its ‘lowest high point’ for the year today I thought it might be a good chance to see what manages to get a little sun on its face, to help me judge planting positions better for the coming year. I’ll have to try to remember to do the same at the summer solstice for comparison’s sake.

What is thriving in your garden at the solstice, be it summer or winter?

Melvin the cat demonstrating just where the midday sun falls, a cat is always a reliable measure!

Uh oh, didn't realise that the sun does not hit the ground at all during the shortest days in the butterfly and bee garden.

Beetroot just making it into a bit of sun. The sticks are to stop the cats snoozing on them.

I've sown a few peas here...I think I'll sow some more in a sunnier spot...

...but they are starting to emerge!

Coriander experiencing a total eclipse thanks to 'Possum'. No wonder they look a little flat!

Apart from looking at what is – and what isn’t – getting a little sun, let’s have a look at a few things that are doing well at this time of year. While lots of things slow down and have a bit of a sleep, there is never a time when everything stops and you can’t find something growing around here.

Lovely lemons!

My daughter's 'paperwhites' about to flower

Lorraine Lee rose peeking out from behind the Feijoa

A Grevillea. Lots of Australian native plants flower at this time of year - so I need more!

An 'Early Pearly' bloom looking sadly upon her lost petal.

'Debbie' camellia peeking over the fence and just starting to bloom, promising more colour to the winter garden.


Comments on: "Winter Solstice – Who Feels The Warmth of The Sun Today?" (38)

  1. It’s okay for you; now we’re heading back into winter!

    Damn, the years are so short!

  2. Dear Heidi, It is of course, as IG, points out, the opposite for us. Tomorrow, however imperceptibly, will be a little shorter in the Northern Hemisphere, the nights already beginning to draw in!!

    But so much is doing well for you, even in the middle of winter, and Melvin certainly has chosen a comfortable and sunny spot in which to pass the shortest day. And those lemons – can they be real? How I should love to boast of my own citrus crop.

    • Hello Edith, do enjoy those lovely long evenings while you can, I can’t wait for them to return here!

      Thank you for the lovely remark about the lemons – citrus seems to do very well here without too much extra help.

  3. It is hard to believe as hot as it is here that you are into winter. Your lemons look so pretty. The kitties are taking over the comfy pots LOL!. Glad you have some lovely native plants blooming. The Grevillea is so pretty.

  4. It’s a very good idea to check the sunshine minimum on the shortest day of the year. I’m a big believer in not planting anything the first year I live in a new place, primarily so I can get to know the minimums and maximums of light, warmth, cold etc. We’ve found that some places around here are very prone to extremes. I think we would have lost more than a few things if we’d planted in haste.

    It looks like you might need a few extra sticks in the pot with the coriander! Great idea by the way…our cat likes to park himself under the grow lights on top of my seed trays. Might have to borrow your idea to encourage him to park his fuzzy butt elsewhere 😛

    • Hi Clare, I’m a few years late in paying attention to what happens at the different points of the year, extremes in temperature, frosts starting and ending etc, but better late than never I guess!

      Yes, I think I am going to have to go and find some more sticks for my pots…at this rate I’m going to have nothing but a garden of sticks! Maybe I should get my cats their own dedicated warming lamp?!

  5. It is funny that I just heard from the radio today is the longest day in our northern hemisphere, which I am also very glad since the summer here in south florida is just too hot!

    With warmed weather for you, I am sure you will have more garden blooms. Looking forward to seeing them! Love Love that ‘Early Pearly’! I need to do some research to see what kind of camellia I can grow here.

    • Hi Ami! I’m glad you like ‘Early Pearly’, it is my current favourite plant and I’m going to get another!

      I’d also be interested to see what camellia you settle on in the end for your garden. I love them for looking lush all year round then brightening the garden with flowers while so many other things are sleeping.

      I hope the days cool a little for you soon!

  6. It is so interesting to have you speak to the winter soltice, which on our side is something entirely different. I love your photos — of cats and plants and all the rest!

  7. I find it so interesting that our worlds are very similar, yet opposite! We just celebrated the longest day of the year, and you enjoyed the shortest (or at least look forward to longer days). I hope to visit one day and experience personally!

    I’m not familiar with the Grevillea…beautiful bloom!

    • Hi Kimberly, yes, it’s strange to see things you know will happen in six months time in your garden happening in someone else’s right now isn’t it?
      I hope you do get out to Australia one day – I think apart from anything else, you would love the flora 🙂

  8. It is so funny to see you so happy on the shortest day while we are going thru through the longest day. This world really is a great big place with so many dichotomies. Finding light in my garden is always a challenge. I might do what you did-smart idea.

  9. Yesterday I posted about our Summer Soltice… our days are getting shorter now. Isn’t it amazing that we can see each other’s garden even though we are half a world apart?!

    • Hello Meredehuit and thank you for popping in 🙂 I’m off to have a peek at your post on the Summer Solstice now – and I hope to remember to do one here when the time comes!

  10. I realize that you probably tire from hearing this, but I just love that our seasons are opposite. Seeing lemons starting to ripen, when ours are still tiny….

    I love the advice about checking your garden in both December and June to see the extremes of sun and shade in the garden. I will have to go and check even though I am a day late 🙂

    • Hi Noelle, no I don’t tire of it – I enjoy it too! Plus it helps me learn and plan for what is coming six months down the track, so that has been a surprise benefit of being part of the garden blogging world!

  11. Heidi, Congratulations on the turning of the season and the return of light (well, except to the coriander!). This was a very clever project to take on to mark the solstice. Wishing you lots of light-filled days ahead.

    • Hello Jean and thank you 🙂 Although the days are so short at the moment we have has a couple of magnificent clear blue days which I have enjoyed immensely. Not surprisingly they have been followed by some very frosty nights!

  12. What a funny headline to read as I scanned my read list today! I actually love winter solstice in my garden, as December is the most glorious time for this garden. All the tropicals are at their best and the camellias are in glorious bloom. I see they are for you as well right now!

    Love that grevillea! Australia has the most amazing flora!!!

    • Hello FG, yes I thought my header might be a bit at odds with others for this post 😀
      Yes, my camellias are coming into their best time of year, but I do need a lot of planning to introduce more colour into my winter garden!

  13. The cat has the right idea! Lemons grow for you in the winter time? That’s cool! We have over two more months of hot summer to come, I definitely look forward to the cooler months.

    • Hello Deborah, yes both my lemons and my limes ripen at this time of year, which is lovely.
      I wish you some cooling breezes to help you get through those hot summer months!

  14. It’s a great idea to photograph the actual sun / no sun areas of your garden at the highest and lowest points of the year. I planted things in spots I thought were full sun because they looked that way at the height of summer. As a result I have a sun loving baptisia struggling in full shade for all but the few weeks when the day is longest and the sun highest.

    I’m going to follow your example and make a record of changing sunlight. Nothing ever stays static in the garden!

    • Hi Laurrie, yep, I’ve got plenty of things planted in lovely sunny spots at the height of summer that I thought could never be completely shaded in six months time. Oh well, we live and learn!

  15. It is indeed a wonderful feeling for me to be able to witness the longest and shortest day at different parts of the world today. I guess there will be no difference in the length of my day since I am right on the Equator!

    • Hello Autumn Belle, as much as it is interesting for you to visit the longest and shortest day via the blogosphere today, it is strange and wonderful for me to think that you are in yet another part of the world, where the experience is completely different again!

  16. Beautiful post! The kitty eclipse is adorable. Early Pearly does look very sad about her lost petal, it makes a very sweet picture.

    • Thank you Rebecca 🙂 I’m glad you saw the sweet sadness in the Early Pearly bloom’s contemplation. She is almost entirely without flowers now 😦

  17. Hi Heidi !! Clever idea to take a snapshot of your gardens on the winter solstice….

    Here in Illinois, the winter solstice is much less “garden-friendly” – and you wake up in the dark and drive home from work the same way. I like your season MUCH better!!!!! (Our winter solstice is also when the cute little furry bunnies turn vicious on evergreens…) 😮 -Shyrlene

    • Hi Shyrlene, I was imagining that those bunnies would do their worst in spring…but now you mention in it, it makes sense that the winter time is when they would be looking for something to feast on!

  18. Your cat is adorable! Poor cilantro, though.

  19. Your reason for enjoying the solstice really made me smile! Here’s to longer, growing days. We’re in the midst of our monsoon season … growing days for us too (yay!)
    Those sticks are a great idea to dissuade sleepy kitties. I must try it out (for my dogs, though)

    • Hello Sunita, I’ve just enjoyed a lovely blog visit to your monsoon too 🙂
      The bamboo sticks do work well…but I’m starting to run out of them for all of the pot plants and seedlings that need protecting!

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