December 2024 Calendar Christmas

LSU’s garden calendar a Christmas gift that’s brought Easter light: Danny Heitman

In my early years as a reporter, I came to know Jane Johnson, who handled the office switchboard in a small room that lacked a window. Jane, not one to complain, fashioned one herself — a bright rectangle that she painted with a lovely landscape scene and framed with cardboard panes. She revealed herself as a gifted artist, able to conceive light and space through her imagination when it was absent in everyday life.

EDITABLE December  Calendar, Adorable Christmas W/ Cute Gnomes
EDITABLE December Calendar, Adorable Christmas W/ Cute Gnomes

I’ve been thinking about Jane with the arrival of another Easter, a holiday grounded in the possibilities of light — the brilliance of resurrection, the quiet strengthening of the sun as spring spreads across my Louisiana neighborhood. Maybe, I’ve been telling myself, Easter isn’t really about the light that filters through my bedroom curtains as I rise each morning. Perhaps Easter’s real gift is the light within us, some tender flame of possibility that seems most vivid right now as the world greens and the yard stirs awake.

When I started a new job four years ago, I was assigned a second-floor office that also lacks a window. It’s a quiet and comfortable workspace, and there is a lovely courtyard downstairs where I can chart the progress of roses and azaleas on my lunch breaks. Those gifts sustain me when I return to a desk without an outside view.

EDITABLE December  Calendar, Colorful Christmas With Cute
EDITABLE December Calendar, Colorful Christmas With Cute

Another consolation prize arrived last December, when my boss gave me a copy of the LSU AgCenter’s 2024 Lawn & Garden calendar as a Christmas gift. It’s become for me a kind of surrogate window, too, each month graced by a bright Louisiana outdoor scene. If you want one for yourself, visit and click on the “store” tab.

The calendar opened January with a panoramic photo of water lilies by Michael Sutton — a feast of aquatic color that Monet himself might have envied. February featured photographer Jared Doyle’s picture of an Eastern redbud branch shooting across the page like a streak of pink lightning. In March, a sea of tulips has glowed red and yellow above my keyboard, courtesy of Claudia Husseneder’s perceptive shot.

I haven’t yet flipped the calendar to see what April might bring. I’m trying not to get ahead of myself, allowing the calendar’s surprises to unfold as the year does.

There are practical reasons to have a garden calendar like the one LSU’s AgCenter produces each year. It includes helpful prompts on when to plant and harvest fruits and vegetables, prepare ornamental beds, or inspect trees for disease. I like the mental and emotional benefits of garden calendars, too.

My wall calendar is the first thing I spot each morning as I tap on my office light to begin my shift. Seeing each month as a series of moments captured on camera nudges me to think of time more slowly — though it seems, with the arrival of Easter, that another year is speeding along at its usual clip.