Friday, February 1, 2008 Winter Gardening

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For me, the beginning of each month also means the beginning of new promise in the garden. Each month brings something unique and special for me to look forward to. With January behind us, and the days getting longer, I see spring just ahead. The promise of more rain, more flowers, and more special moments shared in the garden with friends and family awaits.

On the first day of each month, I like to photograph each of my gardens. This allows me to see how the gardens are doing – filling in, seasonal interest, and comparisons from year to year. While I am at it, I do a monthly flower find photographing all the flowers I find in bloom. On this day, in the middle of winter, I am delighted to write I found: Edgeworthia (Edgeworthia chrysantha), Hellebores (Helleborus orientalis), Daffodils (Narcissus ‘February Gold’ ), Vinca (Vinca minor), snowdrops (Galanthus byzantinus ), Camellia (Camellia spp.), Daphne (Daphne odora ‘Variegata’), Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima), Quince (Chaenomeles japonica ), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ), Cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium ), Crocus (Crocus tomasinianus ), and flowering Apricot (Prunus mume ‘Dawn’.) Taking a whiff of each of the fragrant ones is also part of the fun.

As I walked out the front door to begin my photographic journey, I smelled the Daphne before I even remembered it was there. A Daphne may just up-and-die for not apparent reason, but it can’t be blamed on the drought. Tough as nails in this past summer’s extreme heat and lack of rain, the Daphne was a winner in more ways than one – nice evergreen foliage, drought tolerant, and a wonderful fragrance in the winter when it welcomed most.

Aster is with me as we walk the garden. He sees a bluebird on the telephone wire coming down for a drink of water and then retuning to his wire perch. We take a moment to watch. This reminds us to check the bluebird houses to see if we have clean boxes for them to nest. Carefully, we knock on the side of the house to signal to the bird we are coming in and then when we got no response we peeked inside. Everything looks good and we are ready whenever they are.

We also admired the Crocus blooming in the lawn. We shared the memory of planting them on that particularly pretty day last fall. Even though we couldn’t water the lawn due to the Stage 1.5 watering restrictions, we decided to aerate, plant seed and hope for the best. We also added early blooming Crocuses in the holes made from the core aerator. Lily, Aster, Lara Rose and I planted 250 Crocuses, one per hole, every so often. Then we waited for the promise of winter flowers.

Today, Aster and I agreed we would add some early blooming tiny Daffodils (Narcissus ‘Tête-à-Tête’) next fall to keep company with the Crocus and hoped the Crocus would indeed naturalize as the packaging promised.

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