"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Impatiently waiting...

I would never say that patience is my best quality, in fact it's something I wish I had more of.  I know I can't hurry spring along, that the winter season has it's purpose, but am I ever having a hard time trying to be patient.  I always take full advantage of dry and or sunny days during the winter and head out to the garden if I have free time on those days.  I can always find something to do out there, and enjoy getting my "therapy" while I'm working.  On the days that it's not so nice I look at seed catalogs, online nurseries and look out the window thinking about changes I'd like to make.  Over the past few weeks I've ordered some seeds, placed a small plant order from an online nursery and ordered a couple of roses online as well.  I don't go crazy on these orders because one, I have a budget and two I like to be able to do plant shopping later in the year at nurseries too.  I also have a fairly small yard and there's only so much space.  Just like I recently cleaned out closets, getting rid of unused toys, clothes and other things that just take up prized space in our small home, I'm doing the same thing outside. 

Here are a few things I've been working on to help pass the winter:

The pond is probably the best looking part of the yard, front or back, right now.  But the ground has settled quite a bit on the right side and I decided this would be a good time to build up a small bed along the side.  You can see the back side of the edgers here, I still need to add quite a bit of soil.  Then those poor Primroses might actually get planted.  To the right of the Heuchera above I was finally able to get a very stubborn plant out that had seeded itself there a few years ago.  I think I will add another Geranium 'Rozanne' there.

Next to that new bed area, I pulled out some very woody and overgrown Heucheras.  These had been here many years and were long past looking good.  Now I have made room for all sorts of new plants!

I cut back all the Hellebores in this corner and under the Sword fern I found a nice big rock that had been completely covered.  Yes, that's a gnome in my garden and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Another thing I did was to hang this owl bell, it cost all of $5!  I wish we'd see some real owls here.

I also scour the yard on a regular basis looking for signs of spring.  In this entry bed there is lots of Muscari foliage, and tulips and crocus are just poking through.

As I walked toward the back gate I spotted the tiniest sign of life, a teensy Snowdrop!  I planted these the fall before last and barely had any come up so seeing this one tiny guy made me especially happy.

I will keep trying to be patient, but it's hard!
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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Now you see it, now you don't.

After a week of snow, snow, more snow, an ice storm, heavy rain and wind we are finally enjoying a nice break in the weather.  After a nerve wracking night listening to the wind blow through the trees we woke to sun and some blue skies.  It's almost hard to remember all the different weather we experienced in one week.  I was anxious to get out and see how the garden did now that I could see most of it again.

This was the pond just a day and a half ago.  I love how the snow looks at night.

This was the pond this afternoon.  What a difference!  There is still some snow around the outside and lots of slush in the pond.

Even the fish came out to see what was going on.  I saw at least 4 today.

Hellebores that were completely buried look no different than before the snow.

This Euphorbia looks so fresh and colorful.

Can you believe this Red Valerian is still blooming?  I can't.

The Wallflower 'Bowles Mauve' is still blooming.

The rosebuds were completely encased in ice a few days ago.  This one looks like it will still bloom.

Primroses that we bought and left outside before the snow.

Yesterday these Pansies were completely flat and looked awful.  Today with a little sun they've perked right back up.

I feel extremely lucky that we made it through without any major damage.  A few broken branches here and there is all.  We've driven around and seen many branches down, many laying over power lines.  Other than the power flickering we had it the whole time.  Many others weren't so lucky and  have been without power for days.  I'm sure there are still people waiting to have their power restored.  
Looks like next week we'll have lots of just regular old rain.  I never thought I'd look forward to rain, but after this past week I sure am!
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Okay, I get it. It's winter.

Okay, okay Mother Nature we believe it's winter now!  The snow has been piling up for days.  We've had snow falling since Saturday, with our biggest "dump" yesterday.  All week the forecasters have been changing and putting off the snow and rain.  As of right now it's still snowing heavily.  The worst part though, is that last night and this morning there was freezing rain and now many trees' branches are breaking under the weight, it's actually dangerous to go out where there are large trees.  Sadly one person has already lost their life from a falling tree.  I know much of the country makes fun of us out here because of our "wimpiness" when it comes to snow, but we just aren't as prepared to deal with it here.  No roads close to our house have been plowed or sanded and to get anywhere we have to drive down hills.  School has been canceled all week and most likely will be again tomorrow.  We all are getting cabin fever - as the fun of sledding and snowman building have lost some of their appeal with the iciness of the snow.  Anyway, we're still enjoying it from indoors, but looking forward to getting out soon.

A view of the snow this morning, it's difficult to measure because under the last few inches is a layer of ice.  We probably have 7 or 8 inches total.

Footsteps and tire tracks are quickly filled with the new snow.

The Snowgardeners are up to their waist in snow and all the uncovered greens have been reburied.

The snow penguins are shoulder high in snow.

It does look pretty though.

We are under an "ice storm warning" now, Sea Tac  airport is closed.  I don't remember having one of those before.  Ice has coated everything.

We found the neighbor's cat on the pond drinking from a spot kept open by the pump.  They do leave bedding and food out for these outdoor cats, but they seem to prefer going under our deck.  Sweet Pea has put out fresh water and bedding for them under the eaves of the house.  The neighbors say the cats won't come inside.

The poor little fairy is just about buried in snow.  Icicles are all around the waterfall.

The shed garden doesn't get as much snow because it is sheltered by the neighbors large Cedar trees.

A look down the path.

Our large Japanese Maple's branches are almost bent to the ground with the weight of snow and ice.  I'm hoping they can hold out a little longer and not snap.  Some branches are laying right on the roof so they have a little support.

I've never been able to see the very top of the tree just standing and looking down.

I did some winter sowing yesterday, now they are covered just like the winter sowing that was already there.  Yesterday when I went to see what our dog was doing in the snow I heard a "crunch" and realized I stepped right on one of the containers.

Green Man is dreaming of spring just like me.

Hope everyone around here is staying safe and doesn't lose power.  My husband has not missed a day of work, he has four wheel drive and chains.  He's not even from a part of the country where it snows (the Central Valley of California), he just doesn't let it stop him.  I'm so wishing there was a chocolate delivery person nearby, maybe I can convince my husband to get some on his way home...  That's the only thing missing from the house right now.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gardening Snowmen!

We've gone from no winter, to full on snowy winter over the last few days.  Today a few inches have fallen, but it sounds like the big storm will be tomorrow.  Around here the weather forecasts change all the time so who knows what will actually happen.  Sweet Pea and her friends went off and so the Littlest Gardener and I went and played out in the snow.  Got to take advantage of it while it's here.

We made a couple of Snowgardeners.  This guy found that the Kale and Chard were looking pretty good after digging them out from under the snow.

This one had a butterfly on it, I guess it mistook the Butterfly bush branches for a flower.

These Snowgardeners are all organic too!

Snowy picket fence.

The pond is pretty slushy right now since it's not really that cold, just around freezing.

Yesterday the Robins were visiting, today not many birds are around.

All the plants have a heavy coating of snow.

Gracie tried her best to sneak out from the gate, luckily the snow made it tricky.

The hummingbirds have been around and fighting for the feeders.  I think I better refill them soon.  This one sat while Sweet Pea was playing right by it, not bothered at all by the activity.

It will be interesting to see if we do get this record breaking snow they keep talking about on the news.  Luckily we are fully stocked on the important things like Diet Coke and Taco Doritos.  Oh, and we have plenty of milk and fruit and that type of thing too ☺
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Sunday, January 15, 2012

A snowy January Bloom Day

Well, it finally seems like winter has arrived. I think just about everyone was hoping for a little snow since we haven't seen a flake since last winter. They started predicting it almost a week ago and sure enough we did get some. I haven't joined in on bloom day for awhile and thought it would be fun to see what was blooming while it was snowing.

This is what it looked like a little while ago from our front porch.  I had bare feet and was still in pj's so I didn't venture out much further.

The rest of these pictures were taken yesterday afternoon after our first snow:
One reason I love Wallflower 'Bowles Mauve' is that it is still blooming.  It really blooms just about all year, but as I've learned from experience it's not that long lived.  I've read that people say, "it blooms itself to death."

Hellebore - Lenten rose type.

Sarcococca blooming and smelling great!

Primroses are blooming all over the yard.

More Primroses.  The only other flowers I found blooming were, of course, Pansies and Violas

The fairies don't seem to mind the snow.

Neither do the snow penguins (created by Sweet Pea yesterday afternoon)

 Here it is this morning after a few inches of snow had fallen.

So, are you seeing snow, flowers or both right now?  
Visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens to see what others around the world have blooming now.
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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Too early and right on time.

 We are having some amazingly mild weather lately, and from what I've been reading, so has a lot of the country.  I'd say many of us are due some mild weather after a year of real extremes.  I've been seeing posts and hearing people talking about some of the plants that are already showing buds or making their way up through the soil.  As much as I love seeing those signs of spring I'm a little nervous that we could and probably will get some really cold weather.  Some plants will be fine either way, but there are some that might not be.

 The main one I'm wondering about right now is this Magnolia 'Vulcan'.  I was hoping this might be it's big year to really put out some blooms since it's still fairly young.  It's already budding out and this seems far too early, then again I'm not experienced with Magnolias other than knowing that a freeze can kill the flowerbuds.

 In the same bed the Ninebark 'Little Devil' still hasn't lost it's leaves.  The Ninebark in my backyard dropped it's leaves weeks ago.

 Thinking the Pulmonaria seemed really early caused me to check back on my blog and see that they are actually right on time.  I have pictures of them blooming in late January.

 Violas haven't stopped since I planted them in fall.

 More Violas in another bed.

 I went out to the backyard and thought I smelled something good.  I went to check that the Sarcococcas are right on time and blooming like crazy.

 Why am I showing a picture of our bunny Blackthorn?

 Because Sweet Pea found a Hellebore (Helleborus x sternii) 'Blackthorn strain'.  She thought it was meant to be that we have that growing in our yard.  She used her own money to buy it and it's planted close to Blackthorn's hutch.

As I looked at our raised beds and noticed the Chard, Kale and beets growing I found two of these plants.  Since I've never grown it before I thought I would see if anyone else agreed that it was Pak Choi.  I started some from seed and had sprouts that were quickly mowed down by the slugs. It sure looks like the pictures I've found online.

Are things early, late or right on time where you are?
All words and photos in this post are property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It