WPC: Optimistic

January 23, 2016 Optimistic 012


“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily.
“So it is.”
“And freezing.”
“Is it?”
“Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little,”we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”


A.A. Milne

We’ve been watching a ‘sleet sandwich’ build across the garden.  We’ve watched everything pile up out there, save hail.  Snow, then sleet, freezing rain, more snow, more sleet… And we are on the ‘lucky’ side of things well south of where snow is currently measured in feet.

We’re warm and well fed.  The coffee pot tirelessly producing its sweet, vanilla scented brew; it is a perfect day for a bit of reading, a bit of daydreaming, and a lot of watching the birds come and go.


January 23, 2016 Optimistic 001


“What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.”


A.A. Milne

Reading nursery catalogs remains one of my favorite January occupations.  My favorites this year are Brent and Becky’s summer catalog, The Plant Delights Nursery catalog, and of course David Austin’s Rose catalog.  I read them all, mind you, looking for those hard to find plants dancing through my imagination. 

This winter I’ve been searching for E. “Miss Willmott’s Ghost”, a cultivar of giant sea holly, or Eryngium giganteum, featured prominently in Beth Chatto’s gardens.  I’ve also been reading her Green Tapestry this month, and admiring her near perfect gardens. 

Perhaps it is a measure of my indomitable optimism to even allow myself to hope to emulate a garden grown in Britain’s gentler climate, far from Williamsburg’s hungry deer and sneaky voles.


January 23, 2016 snow 001


“For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use to be anything else.”


Winston S. Churchill


January 23, 2016 Optimistic 004


But, I’m learning to be a more clever optimist.  At least I’ve learned to dream in January, and then make my spring purchases closer to home.  Thus far, every bulb or plant I’ve brought from the Heath’s, just across the York river in Gloucester, has grown exceptionally well in our garden. 

There is a a lot to be said for using locally grown plants, and dealing with local nurserymen, in building one’s garden.   And, I love just visiting with both Brent and Becky and their wonderful staff when we drive over to shop and visit their garden.  A conversation with any of them is far more instructive than a whole shelf full of books written by a British gardener, we’ve learned. 


Somewhere under the snow sleep little Cyclamen tubers just transplanted into this basket last week....

Somewhere under the snow sleep little Cyclamen tubers just transplanted into this basket last week…. We found the tubers at the Heath’s shop this fall.


“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”


Ralph Waldo Emerson

And so as much as I love paging through the catalogs, which arrive almost daily each winter; I’m banking my pennies to make our new purchases this year from the Heaths, the Avents, just to our south near Raleigh, NC, and the Pattons, who are growing more of their own stock each year.  I appreciate the opportunity to purchase plants for our garden from nurserymen with hands-on experience and an intimate knowledge of the plants they sell.

What luxury, on a snowy day, to make long lists of what one hopes to plant in spring.  This is the time for drawing new planting schemes, for studying old photos of the garden, and for planning how to fix the mistakes of last season….


January 23, 2016 Optimistic 010


But mostly, its a good day to stand by the window, dreaming.  And for brushing the snow off of the bird feed from time to time, hoping our chirpy little friends find enough nourishment to survive.


Can you spot our owl, who calls from the ravine?

Can you spot our owl, who calls from the ravine?



For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge: Optimistic


Autumn 'Brilliance' fern, a reliable evergreen presence in our forest garden.

Autumn ‘Brilliance’ fern, a reliable evergreen presence in our forest garden.


Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016


January 23, 2016 Optimistic 005


About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

10 responses to “WPC: Optimistic

  1. Lucky for you to have such a great local place to shop at, and I like your attitude towards the snowy weather! My parents are just East of NYC and are doing the same, even with all the snow. Snuggle in and be grateful they don’t have to go anywhere!

    • May your parents continue to be cozy while they wait this one out. They had front row seats, east of the City. I’m sure they have some stories to tell! It continued snowing here last night late into the evening, and we got another few inches to accumulate. But the storm has pulled away from us to leave behind a sparkly, sunny morning <3<3<3

  2. So glad to hear you’re safe, warm, and dreaming of spring and summer. Beautiful post. I’m on my way out to the living room soon to have a look at some of the nursery catalogs I recently received (including one from Brent and Becky’s).

    • Robin, worth the drive to come and visit their garden in Gloucester, after about mid-April. How is the wind on the Shore? Have been concerned about you two, with the low passing so close to you. Windy? Much snow? Please stay warm, this too, shall pass…. ❤ ❤ ❤

  3. farseems

    Such a beautiful post. Love the Winnie the Pooh quotes. Am loving this day, when the snow falls so quietly, covering ever so gently. And then, after this, winter does seem to have completed its cycle, with spring, not far behind.

  4. Good to see, you Forest Gnome, and learn you’re out of the reach of our new year’s “Epic Blizzard” (Called #Jonah by some, #DavidSnowie by others – and I do love that). I wasn’t too sure where you were and have been wondering if you had to deal with storm issues (And apparently not, so that’s good!). Also I’ve been pondering, and thinking of what to comment at your post a week ago – “Faux Snow” (and no, I do not think you are a nut case!) And I was going to offer weather updates from Northeastern Wisconsin – completely insignificant with all that’s going on up and down the East Coast right now. I have a daughter in Brooklyn so of course I’m riveted to all blizzard news, and busy texting: “Stay Home! “Stay Home!”

    • “#DavidSnowie” Love that! Perfect! he would love it, too, I’m sure. We are on the southern edge of this epic storm, getting wind and snow but not so deeply as your daughter in Brooklyn. We’ve been watching MSNBC, where one of their reporters has driven north from DC to NYC today. She and her crew just arrived, making through the tunnel OK and into that wintery scene. I’m glad that you are out of it, though I realize you live with weather like this for weeks at a time. I”m interested in what you have to say about ‘faux snow’ and other weather modification issues. I just read a fascinating article about the doings a few nights ago off the coast of FL, when the tornadoes developed around 3 AM. When I was up and monitoring things around 5 this AM, our barometer was around 29.7 and falling, with this monster low off the coast, according to Weather Underground. That is low, even for Hurricane Season. We are home for the duration. Our streets here are iced over, and no one is going anywhere for a while! Stay warm ❤ Wonderful to hear from you ❤

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