The summer solstice marks the first astronomical day of summer, and the longest day of the year. Depending on the year, summer solstice begins sometime between June 20 and June 22, when the sun reaches its highest point in the northern hemisphere and we receive the longest period of sunlight hours all year! After the solstice, our days will begin to wane, and sunset will occur earlier in the day.
Historically, the summer solstice has been a celebration of bounty in the garden, when people who had spent all of spring tending to their gardens could take a step back and enjoy watching their hard work pay off. The summer solstice was often celebrated with bonfires, with the belief that they would boost the sun's energy, guaranteeing good harvest.
The summer solstice is an important time for our garden, as our plants begin to react to the changes in day length. This is called "photoperiodism". The solstice affects the photoperiod, which signals to plants to bloom or produce more vegetative growth depending on length of daylight. This is a fun time to keep an eye on your garden and watch what starts to take off!
There are so many ways to celebrate the summer solstice! You can make a festive flower crown out of traditional herbs and flowers that have been used in ceremonies by ancient cultures. Harvest and use thyme, lavender, St. John's wort, chamomile, fennel, mugwort, rosemary, meadowsweet, sage, mint, roses, sunflowers, and dandelions in your flower crown! You could also put together a bee watering station to show your gratitude to pollinators. Even spend the day gardening; now is the perfect time to prepare your fall brassicas!
Happy Summer Solstice!
Written by Madeleine Pesso