Color Your World: Perseverance

The Star Magnolia wants to break into bloom in the depths of our Virginia winter. February 11 Grey

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…”

.

Francis Bacon

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 'Yellow Green' and February 7 'Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown.'

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.”

.

Tom Hiddleston

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 with a new Amaryllis

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.'

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.

~

Goldenrod yellow shines in the face of this tiny Viola. February 9, "Goldenrod."

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

called creation.”

.

Francis Bacon 

~

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.

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"

Our pond at sunset last Saturday. February 12, ‘Green”

~

“Even in the mud and scum of things,

something always, always sings.”

.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

~

February 10, 2016 winter growth 030

Wednesday Vignette

September 9, 2015 vignette 2 004

~

“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.

Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.

Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.

Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”

.

Lao Tzu

~

September 9, 2015 vignette 2 001~

Here is another of the ‘accent plants,’ grown in a shallow Bonsai style pot, I’ve been working with this summer.  The two main plants were sold unnamed, but I believe they may be a cultivar of Alocasia, another of those plants commonly called ‘Elephant’s Ears.’  Tropical, they prefer warmth, high humidity, filtered bright light, and moist soil; a winning combination for a houseplant!

I fell in love with these striking leaves and adopted both plants on the spot.  They came in tiny 1″ pots, and have been growing in their new, more spacious pot for almost three months.

~

Mid-June, right after planting up this arrangement.

Mid-June, right after planting up this arrangement

~

The ground cover plant is Sellaginella, or ‘Spikemoss.”  Spikemoss also appreciates constant moisture and high humidity, but indirect light.

These little ‘accent plants’ require the frequent,  close attention a proper Bonsai requires to keep them hydrated, groomed, and in good health.  It only takes a moment or two, but the plants must be checked every few days.  I feel more comfortable growing the little ‘accent plants’ because they don’t require the frequent pruning woody Bonsai need, and can grow fairly happily in their shallow little pot for a long while.

They grow on a windowsill where they never get direct sunlight, but have bright light all day.  This has been a good windowsill plant as it never drops a leaf or petal and fills its space elegantly.

Caring for little plants such as these helps us cultivate mindfulness and patience.

~

Our little Alocasia after a summer of growth.

Our little Alocasia after a summer of growth.

~

“Time is a created thing.

To say ‘I don’t have time,’

is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.”

.

Lao Tzu 

~

September 9, 2015 vignette 3 003

~

My appreciation to blogging friend Anna at Flutter and Hum for hosting Wednesday Vignettes each week. 

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

 

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