Yesterday I did something I’d never done before on a Christmas Eve day–went outside with wet hair, like a teenager in L.A. The temperature on my phone read 65°. We walked to the Groverkill to cut watercress for a salad to accompany an onion tart, the appetizer course in a delicious holiday dinner.
If you provide watercress with its one essential thing–running water–it flourishes. From a few plugs given to us four years ago, it has traveled nearly two hundred feet down the Groverkill, a bright green accent for the stream. It’s the only vegetable we grow–from stream to salad (yes, I am poking fun at the preciousness that sometimes attaches to writing about the “new” way we eat)–and it survives killing frosts. But this is the first December that it’s thriving, hasn’t yet died back. We brought a big bag of it to Kathy’s wonderful Christmas dinner tonight (along with homemade chocolate truffles and French champagne–which Géraldine, from Reims, would say is a redundancy).
This autumn was the warmest on record in the contiguous 48 states, according to NOAA. In December the average temperature in NYC, hovering just above 50°, significantly warmer than the norm of 37.5°, was great but not good.
In Stone Ridge, the dormant silver grey lavender, has responded to the warm soil and air with pale green crowns. With seasonal temperatures forecast for next week, I’m relieved that the rhododendron buds are still small and tight and that the hellebores, which bloom first, a preview of spring, haven’t yet budded.