A Breath of Spring

January 7, 2015 winter flowers 004


“We may not know whether our understanding is correct,

or whether our sentiments are noble,

but the air of the day surrounds us  like spring

which spreads over the land

without our aid or notice.”


Abraham Joshua Heschel


We’ve not yet had a proper winter; and here is the first snowdrop.  It caught me by surprise.  I noticed it earlier, as I headed  inside laden with groceries.  There nodded a perfect white flower, harbinger of spring, on this January day.

Thus far we’ve imbibed real winter only from the Weather Channel.  Our cold has come in short two or three day bursts, interspersed with days which leave us wondering whether it is November or May.

We did have two hard freezes earlier this week.  The stalwart Geraniums, left behind near the backdoor when their cousins came inside, finally succumbed; or almost.  “….. Not dead yet!”  Damaged leaves cloak still living stems and roots.

But the bulbs are awakening.  Tentative green leaves have shown themselves in all parts of the garden now; just as the last of this year’s lot were buried in the still  malleable soil.


January 7, 2015 winter flowers 005


And the Hellebores!  Like precocious schoolgirls, they are flirting with the sun as though it were March already.

It’s January, but we haven’t seen a flake of snow.  The front lawn has sparkled with frost a time or two, so pretty in the morning sun.  But who can argue with spring?  No matter how late or how early, swelling buds and fresh green leaves never fail to make me smile.


Looks a little like a Marigold or Dahlia, doesn't it? Can you name this winter 'flower?"

Looks a little like a Marigold or a Dahlia, doesn’t it? Can you name this winter ‘flower?”

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

13 responses to “A Breath of Spring

  1. Hello to you at warmer latitudes, Gnome (and friends); I’m reporting here from northeastern Wisconsin where there is real snow on the ground, and only a high of 10 degrees (F) is expected for the next four days. However, this truly winter weather has only just arrived with January There was no White Chirstmas here – quite unusual, and such a lovely moderate autumn and early winter – we rarely saw temperatures as low as 30 (again that’s very unusual here for November-December). I’m rather expecting – and hoping for, really – that the true winter we’re experiencing now will be an unusually brief one. But, except for my personal comfort, is that a good thing? Not sure. It’s all interesting, though, as are the things you’re seeing.

    • Greetings to you, Kathlin! We’ve been watching, with interest, the storms rolling across you in Wisconsin. In fact, we’ve been watching the entire area around the Lakes as the snow has rolled in and wondered what a shock it must be after our balmy December! As you might expect, this Gnome is concerned for those trees- especially the apples- which need a certain number of ‘chilling hours’ before they can set fruit the following season. So much of our agriculture depends on ‘regular’ weather during the different seasons to produce a good crop. (I say this while sorely missing the navel oranges and ruby red grapefruits we normally enjoy in December – February. Where are they this year???) We are enjoying the comfortable temperatures and very low heating bills. A huge boost for many; especially the elderly and disabled. I’m glad the homeless are catching a break, too. But the wild swings of extremes aren’t good for us, the wild creatures, or the trees. I know the wild things are a concern for you, as well. Is there any hope of returning to ‘business as usual?” Thank you for visiting, Kathlin, and our warm wishes for happiness in the new year ahead. WG

  2. I was able to take a look around here as well, and we have a few signs of spring in spite of last week’s cold. More to come next week, but still no snow up here either…

    • We’re going to be near 70 tomorrow, then in the 20s tomorrow night. Such stress on plants who should be dormant now! We have a lot of cold coming next week, too. I’m curious to see what the next 6-8 weeks brings to the the country. And so grateful that we aren’t under feet of snow or flooding like so many around the planet. Stay warm 😉 WG

  3. This just might be ‘the winter that wasn’t’ for you! Your hellebore is beautiful!

    • Eliza, I believe just the opposite, unfortunately. It may be slow in coming, but I expect we will soon ‘know’ it is winter. That Hellebore lived in its pot all summer, in partial sun. It amazed me that its foliage looked good all season, and now its blooming without missing a beat! The snaps sharing its pot got bitten by the frost last week, but the Hellebore more than makes up for it! Hope you are warm and well, WG

  4. You’re ahead of us, so it’s nice to get a glimpse of what’s to come.

  5. Laurin Lindsey

    We to have signs of spring. The oddest to me is my Blue Sky Thumbergia. It didn’t bloom all year and now that it is winter it is flowering. Two years ago it froze to the ground in winter.

  6. Lichens are so fantastic, aren’t they? I discovered some kind of mustard yellow fungus on a branch the other day. I know absolutely nothing about either… My Hellebores are budding too, but I haven’t seen any snowdrops. Our winter has been exceptionally mild too.

    • We have the yellow fungus in places too, Anna. Winter is a great time to notice lichens, moss, and fungus when the rest of the landscape has calmed down. I love the color of the lichens which grow on the roots of this birch tree. Maybe you’ll have snowdrops before long, too. Our first ones didn’t show last year until late February. ❤

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