Tuesday, January 15, 2019

A Frozen Bloom Day

It snowed lightly in the night in the last puff of a near all rain, three day winter storm. There was a remnant etching of it in the garden when I came home. It was also below freezing. No worries.

I have frozen snowdrops for January's Bloom Day and they will be just fine. This is when they are supposed to bloom. I planned and planted ahead.

I actually have a twelve foot diameter circle of snowdrops coming up. On a winter day at just the perfect moment, a ring of snowdrops will be a pure white circle of peak bloom. Their numbers have grown enough that is becoming visible from a distance.

And if you go walking this mountain, you can find thousand more snowdrops. Cause Bulbarella.

I really did plan and plant ahead. After living in the tropics and sub-tropics for so long, there was no way I was going to be without a fully functioning garden twelve months of the year just because I moved to a zone 6a/bish, on a North Carolina mountain top.

The Witch Hazel 'Jelena' is blooming now. No worries. Freezing doesn't matter. It's all good. This is the right time.

'Jelena' has grown enough to start becoming a presence in the winter garden.

Getting flowers to bloom in January isn't even the main part of a garden that works twelve months of the year. That's just a bonus.

Much is going on around 'Jelena'.

'Arnold's Promise' will bloom next. The flower buds are swelling and peeking yellow.

For January's Bloom Day and the entire cold barren time of winter, as the snow melts, the Under Garden of a low mounding tapestry of texture and color comes into full bloom. I planted it so.

More kind flowers can be found at Bloom Day Headquarters for sure.

A garden in winter is a living canvas that calls you outside to enter. There you can find actual flowers may very well be dancing through the grass.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Damn Varmints

Well, Jane, it just goes to show you, it's always something. If it ain't one thing, it's another.

The voles are just plain rude. They have an annoying habit of picking a big plant to eat for the winter. They move in, set up house, then proceed to eat the house down and turn it into an insulated basement dwelling.

Damn varmints attacked one of my evergreen clumping bamboos. I don't mind sharing, but these concentrated and often lethal winter feeding habits suck.

I saw Button hunting here several times and assumed he was on top of things. Then the bamboo clump started looking a bit off from a distance. A closer inspection revealed the advanced state of destruction.

It's one thing to eat the top of the house down, but voles are quite fond of the roots. That is where all the energy is stored. They will take the foundation too.

This is one reason you don't won't piles of leaves to clump up around the base of plants. They provide good cover for invaders to move in. I hope I stopped it in time before the roots were all gone. They have been exposed.

The two smaller bamboo at this end of the garden have been ever so slow to grow. They get less light and have less soil than the much larger grouping. I finally got tired of waiting and planted two rooted rhododendron stem cuttings just upslope.

Even the larger bamboos have not reached the size I envisioned after all these years. Being a gardener, I read the tag, then added time and two more feet.

The bigger bamboo is about seven feet high, working on eight, assuming the damn voles don't move in and eat the whole house down. One year they froze to the ground and had to start the process of stacking up height all over.

It's always something.

There has been no snow in this winter storm. There may have been some freezing rain. It all melted in the rain.

It's been an odd indecisive winter, circling around thirty two, not knowing which way to go. I'm not even sure what it is that is falling from the fog right now. It could turn to snow.

I was out there moving slow until the drizzle turned thick and steady. Drizzle does not seem to induce house cleaning. I think it takes snow.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Outside In A False Alarm

Where looking in is still outside.

And inside is a very different world.

Inside, 'Jelena' popped out all of a sudden. It has been a warm winter so far. It is the usual time. No need for alarm.

The cold wet slop I was expecting to wake up to has been late in arriving. It was a chance to burn the rubbish pile that had been drying all week so I went outside and lit a fire before the slop arrived. The last attempt failed because the pile was too wet.

I did stick with the main lounging/house cleaning plan. I do need to rest up for next week. I think more tidying than actual cleaning may have occurred. Three cats and a gardener covered in bits can make a mess of a hairball inside. I had to stick with the inside plan no matter what outside.

The gardens are quite tidy for this time of year. All that cold wet slop did a major knockdown of the meadows. Chop and drop will be a breeze this year and still no hurry. We haven't done winter yet. There is more slop to come. At some point there could even be snow made with real cold.

I was also pleasantly surprised there were not large quantities of sticks and branches down in my walk to the ridge top garden next door after all those raging winds. Apparently the forest canopy has already been whipped pretty clean. There isn't much dead currently left to fall.

It is cold outside, much more doable without the wind, but I have been inside more of late which seems to allow for more blog posts because it gets dark outside before six, sooner when wet slop is on the way.

At least the hairball of Creation has been released.

Friday, January 11, 2019

A Walk Before Snow

Let it be known. There is a high hump in my driveway, soon to be covered in some aggregation of more cold wet slop. It's looking to start cold and turn to rain with who knows what in between. That is so backwards.

I plan to lounge this weekend anyway to rest up for finally removing all the damage gathered up from the last round of heavy wet slop at The Inn. I've been making piles there for a couple weeks. A quarter mile drive is lined with White Pine, the absolute worst tree in bad snow and ice storms for loosing huge branches. The place got smacked. The baby gardens there did fine.

My week of cold and dry is over. I came home and went for a slow stroll through the wild cultivated gardens. Come on along.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

A Cold Dry Wind

We needed two things, a dry spell and some cold. That was all. It came packaged with waves of strong winds. I could do without the wind. I'm liking the dry. I can live with the cold.

The roaring wind makes being outside problematic. I hear a freight train coming, coming round the bend....

Yes, that is the sound the forest makes when the wind is roaring through. And it is cold. My minimum operating temperature might get breeched with this incoming cold.

Without snow is when the Under Garden in full living color comes out. I can at least dart outside in full layers.

All kind things come out in full color in the winter garden.

Objet d'junk

I will leave you here.

To ponder a winter under garden.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

On A Windy Day

I was expecting to stay home in the rain all day. It finished early and a dry window for work appeared. I decided to stay home anyway and go rock hunting because I could. My momentum to leave the mountain had already been lost.

I got all ready to go hunting for stepping stone kind rocks and headed outside. The wind made me stop and turn around. It was aiming for fifty degrees and the wind chill out there felt deadly. Well crap! I will be staying in today.

I looked out as the Under Garden of winter was getting a well deserved blow dry.

This will help fluff things up. It won't make water logged ground dry and the weather diagnosis still says more rain today. Whatever. There is some serious need in gardens on both sides of the county for a good blow dry and fluff after getting squashed by cold, heavy, wet slop.

I kept trying to go outside. The wind was not cooperating. Then a little voice called from down below. Come sit. No wind.

Follow the yellow brick road.

The basement patio was the place to be with the wind coming in from the SE side, calm as could be. It felt nice, like fifty degrees.

It did get near tolerable with more sun and less wind for a time around two. I did wander off into the growing gardens of winter. You can too. Click on a picture for the slide show. There are some less seen views from deep in the bowl of the garden.

Yes, there will be snowdrops.