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The Longest Night...

If you'd asked me on the summer solstice this year how it would feel to be sitting here on the winter solstice I would have answered that it seemed impossible. That getting to December this year seemed about a decade away. And yet, here we are in this very difficult year, one for the history books. 2020 was of course not what we all expected it would be. I hope that you and your family has not be affected by COVID-19, but as we wind down the year, that becomes more impossible as it slowly reaches closer to everyone's inner circles as it has in mine. Thankfully my immediate family has not been affected but some extended family and friends have been.

In January 2020 I would have never thought I would be doing this podcast in December 2020. I had just released the last episode for what I thought would be a long period of time, if not forever. I was burned out and lacking inspiration and once I published that final episode I breathed a sigh of relief. There were no more expectations in producing the podcast and I opened up some free time. And then March rolled around and suddenly my voice came back. This time I realized I didn't have to stick to producing the podcast how I had done it for the previous five years and it has morphed into what you hear now. The podcast is still morphing and I've been brainstorming hard the last few months on where I want to take it and how to reign it in from my rambling garden updates to something a bit more focused. In January you will hear those brainstorms in action when new episodes are released.

Some of that brainstorming was the attempt to do the Gathering Moss read-along earlier this fall. It was a good start and then after a few episodes I realized it wasn't what I wanted to do, that it was a struggle to produce and something felt off. Much like Goldilocks, I had to try on a few different things to figure out what fit me. And what fits is I want to reach the gardening world with more about the natural world and native ecosystems.

So that's where the podcast is going. Sure, I will still do some garden updates from time to time but I hope to start infusing more nature goodness into the podcast. Naturally, a lot of this will focus on my region and likely some Florida/southern topics as that is what I am most familiar with, but as time goes on I may branch into some other more wide-spread species that more gardeners in the US can identify. I'm excited to take this podcast in a new direction and from time to time intersperse some guest interviews once again.

I appreciate you all sticking with me through the years, for listening to the podcast, and reading this newsletter!

Good Garden Reads:
+Finding Bartonia texana via my blog-- this is the visual companion to the podcast episode from October.
+Death of a Trail via Wandering Around the Block - about the impacts of increased trail usage during COVID.

+The Blue Hour by Isabelle Simler - I read this with my son as a book check out from the library and the art work is just gorgeous. As it suggests, it highlights the natural world during the blue hour, that period of time right after sunset before the sky is totally dark. A wonderful book for a nature loving kid!

+Mastering the Art of Flower Gardening by Matt Mattus - I loved Matt's first book, Mastering the Art of Vegetable Gardening and this is his take for flower gardening. The book highlights a lot of commonly raised flowers in our gardens as well as some more special and finicky species. It is more tailored for a central or northern US growing zone but southern gardeners can definitely find value from the book. And it is just gorgeous to look at, too!

Elsewhere in the Natural World...
+ "On December 15, 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that listing the monarch as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act is warranted, but precluded by higher priority listing actions." via USFWS

Finally, as always, if you enjoyed this newsletter and would like your fellow gardeners to know about it, forward it on and encourage them to subscribe!
Previously on the Podcast
+Exploring the Natural History of Guadalupe River State Park
+November in the Garden

Coming Up on the Podcast
+Exploring the Natural History of South Llano River State Park
+2021 Garden Goals and Resolutions
+Favorite Plants I Used To Grow
+How I Use iNaturalist
Repotting Prickly Poppy Seedlings
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