Psychology Today reports that moods are affected by what is absorbed through the five senses. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell are processed both neurobiologically and emotionally. Those who are prone to the winter blue moods or the more serious seasonal affective disorder (SAD), take heart. During the winter months, Colorado is a wonderful place to get outside. Take a daily ‘light break’ to visit the landscape and elevate your mood by pleasing the five senses to help chase away those winter blues.
|Arctic Sun Dogwood|
photo credit: pridescorner
|Crimson Spire Oak|
photo credit: midpark
|Mountain mahogany seeds|
photo credit: plants of the southwest
What does winter taste like? Canning or freezing delicious produce such as tomatoes, carrots, corn, peppers, and pickles can become favorite winter flavors. Root vegetables such as carrots, beets, turnips, rutabagas, and parsnips that are removed from the ground in late fall will remain fresh with proper storage; think root vegetable risotto on a cold winter evening. Garlic stored from the July harvest and herbs grown indoors provide mouthwatering flavor. Many recipes transform edible parts of landscape plants into a myriad of teas and soups. Preparing salsas, sauces, and relishes from vegetables, and butters, jams, jellies, and marmalades from fruits can result in a delicious taste of winter.
|Cook's Peak Arizona Cypress|
photo credit: csucohort blogspot
Science has proven that noses are not as sensitive to smells in the winter as odor molecules move slower in colder weather. Besides winter’s chimney smoke, there are wonderful scents in the landscape. Evergreens such as firs (Abies), pines (Pinus), cedars (Cedras), junipers (Juniperus) and cypress (such as Cupressus arizonica 'Cooke Peak') release an aroma when the foliage is touched. Persistent berries on many shrubs or crabapple trees are fragrant, so gently remove berries from the branches and enjoy the fruity scents. Mojave sage (Salvia mohavensis) and Jerusalem sage (Phlomis fruticosa) are not only ornamental in the winter, but still maintain that strong scent enjoyed during the growing season. Perennial herbs with outdoor hardiness (lavender, creeping thyme, oregano) are also sure to stimulate the sense of smell.
Find plants in the landscape that delight the five senses that can improve the winter blues. If it is difficult to find something, make a plan to plant something next spring that will provide a mood boost next winter.