The Star Magnolia wants to break into bloom in the depths of our Virginia winter. February 11 Grey
“Begin doing what you want to do now.
We are not living in eternity.
We have only this moment,
sparkling like a star in our hand-
-and melting like a snowflake…”
We woke this morning to the unexpected beauty of our garden covered in snow. An inch fell sometime between midnight and morning. The clouds were long gone by the time I wandered to the window to look out on this new day; a day bathed in warm golden sunshine, reflecting off that brilliant and sparkling snow.
We are in those depths of a Virginia winter when one must expect the unexpected. We’ve more snow on the way, and we are preparing for night time temperatures to grow ridiculously cold by Saturday night. These are the days and nights a gardener dreads, when those tiny bits of life one tries to nurture through till spring finally might succumb to winter’s frigid touch.
Knowing this, we moved the olive trees into the garage at sunset yesterday. Now nearly 4 feet tall, they have made it through three winters in their very portable pots. Hardy to Zone 8, I have left them out longer this winter than ever before. But now they are situated in the garage to survive these next few frosty nights.
Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ shrugs off the cold without a single leaf withering. They may turn a bit rosy in the cold, but always recover. February 13 ‘Green Yellow’ and February 7 ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown.’
“You never know what’s around the corner.
It could be everything.
Or it could be nothing.
You keep putting one foot in front of the other,
and then one day you look back
and you’ve climbed a mountain.”
I’m always a bit restless in February. I want to keep on gardening, but most of the garden has gone dormant. I wander around looking for signs of change and growth. Perhaps I’m looking for reassurance that things are still alive.
While it is fine to have a rest from weeding and watering, I miss the dynamic change of watching plants grow and develop into the fullness of their beauty.
Selaginella and Strawberry Begonia with a new Amaryllis bulb. February 10 ‘Granny Smith Apple Green.’
This time of year challenges our spirit of perseverance.
We plan, we order, we clean, we prune, and we wait. I fiddle endlessly with those plants wintering indoors, too; taking cuttings, watering, and admiring those in bloom.
I planted up the last of our autumn Amaryllis bulbs today with some beautiful Selaginella adopted from The Great Big Greenhouse last week. Understanding how February affects us all, they compassionately have a full month of special events to promote tropical houseplants. I made it for the last day of their sale on ferns, but will miss the Orchid presentation next Saturday….
The little Strawberry Begonia has been growing outside in a pot since last summer. Today I finally rescued it, and brought it inside for this arrangement. Maybe it will respond to the warmth by sending out runners and ‘baby’ plants some week soon.
There are rarely immediate results from those tasks we tackle in winter. We have to bide out time and wait for our efforts to bear fruit sometime further along in the season. We wait and watch for those first tiny signs of spring’s awakening, ready to celebrate each unfolding.
The first tiny green tips of awakening bulbs break ground in this pot by the back door. February 8, ‘Gold.’
I am happy, this February, to participate in Jennifer Nichole Wells’s new “Color My World: One Hundred Days of Crayola” photo challenge. Jenny is working from the Crayola Crayon chart of colors, and offers a new color challenge each day for 120 days, beginning January 1. I’ll aim for one post each week, sharing photos of as many of that week’s colors as I’m able.
This week’s colors include: Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown, Gold, Goldenrod, Granny Smith Green, Grey, Green, and Green Yellow. These colors were easy to find in the garden today, even in a February garden. There are abundant signs of life in our Forest Garden, and we appreciate finding each and every one.
Autumn’s ‘Goldenrod’ yellow shines in the face of this tiny Viola. February 9, “Goldenrod.”
“God has, in fact, written two books, not just one.
Of course, we are all familiar with the first book
he wrote, namely Scripture.
But he has written a second book
Our Forsythia continues slowly breaking bud in the garden. We didn’t enjoy Forsythia until mid-March in 2015. Here it blooms by the drive.
Woodland Gnome 2016
Our pond at sunset last Saturday. February 12, ‘Green”
“Even in the mud and scum of things,
something always, always sings.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson