Summer solstice

Thu. Jun. 21, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Summer Solstice

It is officially the first day of Summer!  The summer solstice took place at 5:07 this morning!   Of course it felt like we were in the tropics last week!  ARG….  Still, happy to celebrate!

This is the longest day of the year, for some it means the middle of summer, but I would say for most of us in colder climates, it’s more like the beginning of summer!  I’m cool with that!

Cultures have celebrated this day in a variety of ways, mostly centering around fertility and/or religion. Ancient Greeks celebrated the God of Agriculture, Cronus.   (I would have put a picture up but, frankly, they’re all kind of weird). 

Many Native American tribes took part in centuries-old midsummer rituals, some of which are still practiced today. The Sioux, for instance, performed a ceremonial sun dance around a tree while wearing symbolic colors.

Sorry Wisconsin, i’m going to talk about the Vikings!  Well, the ancient ones. Midsummer was a crucial time of year for the Nordic seafarers, who would meet to discuss legal matters and resolve disputes around the summer solstice.

They would also visit wells thought to have healing powers and build huge bonfires. Today, “Viking” summer solstice celebrations are popular among both residents and tourists in Iceland.

As for the Druids and Stonehenge, well… I hate to disappoint you, BUT, according to the History Channel, while the Celtic high priests led ritual celebrations, it’s unlikely they did so at Stonehenge.  


So what does it all mean for we gardeners? It means we can believe in magic and fairies and bask in the glow of sunshine for those of us who grew tired of our long dark winter!

Get out there and plant a plant, stroll a forest, run through a prairie or do a happy dance! Those of us in the Upper Midwest have much to look forward to, like homegrown tomatoes on a BLT… roadside sweet corn from the local farmer… farmers markets carrying the freshest produce and gorgeous flower bouquets.