It’s winter, after all

So far, so good. Certainly, a gardener should not cheer on the warming of the planet, but he can hardly be blamed for enjoying a period of mild temperatures after severe winters in recent years.

Nandina berries shine through the light snow

Nandina berries shine through the light snow

After a warm December, more typical winter weather has returned. Through the morning there was light snow as a cold front chased off our latest spell of mild temperatures. The small wet, flakes didn’t amount to anything, but now we can’t claim this as the winter without any snow at all. I will not be disappointed if this is it for the winter, though at least a bit more is inevitable.

I am only a little concerned that I have delayed in hiring a tree company to remove the dead hornbeam by the driveway. Surely, an ice storm will bring it crashing down, but it is slightly out of reach of falling into the house. The worst that should come of it is that it could fall to crush the tall, fragrant yellow flowered azaleas or the pink double flowered cherry with pendulous branches. But, if it falls I’ll be saved the expense of hiring to cut it down, and certainly I can cut the tree into pieces once it’s on the ground.

A seedling hellebore flowers despite chilly temperatures

A seedling hellebore flowers despite chilly temperatures

I read that area gardeners report damage to hellebores, witch hazels, and others that have flowered prematurely in December, but I see none of this in my garden. Temperatures reached nearly seventy degrees in late December, and a week later dropped to nine degrees overnight. All I can see is that the cold has slowed the progression of flowers, and this isn’t such a bad thing as many were fading too quickly.

The typically late winter flowering leatherleaf mahonia is not bothered by cold temperatures. It is likely to continue flowering into early March.

The typically late winter flowering leatherleaf mahonia is not bothered by cold temperatures. It is likely to continue flowering into early March.

I am content to remain indoors on this cold and breezy afternoon, but on milder days I am encouraged by the many winter blooms. I have not yet been motivated to begin cleaning up the bountiful crop of winter weeds that sprouted in our warm December, but I have spent many more hours in the garden, wandering joyfully between flowers.

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