Just like nearly all the rest of the Northern hemisphere we here in NE Pennsylvania are dipping into another cold spell. As far as cold spells go it’s not anything too intimidating, since we’ve only dipped into the single digits one night, but it is cold enough to make you reconsider running out to the mailbox without a coat on and it encourages you to think of the garden from more of a spectator point of view. Even from the comfortable side of a windowpane winter interest is still slim pickings around here, but now that a few years have passed things are starting to turn a corner.
Winter interest here does not include early snowdrops or hellebores nor the occasionally exotic winter blooming shrub, winter interest here is a desperate flash of green holding out against the winter, or a fresh blush of colorful bark or bright conifer needles brightened by the weak winter sun. I guess if pressed I’d include dried seed stems and stalks, but honestly unless they’re frosted in ice or topped with snow they really just remind me of all the cleanup yet to be done before spring.
In the meantime, before the rush of spring hits, there’s still plenty of time to sit back and consider the winter garden. Snow helps. There’s really nothing to do out there when snow hits other than watch the comings and goings at the bird feeder, but until we get a couple inches down there’s always a restlessness every time the sun comes out and things look like they’re just waiting.
If cropped perfectly and shot from just the right angle… and if the light just happens to work out, you can halfway believe that my garden has something worth seeing once the flowers have died and the leaves fallen.
Maybe in a few years I’ll be able to offer something more constructive in the way of winter gardening advice, but for now I’m just glad I can wander through without snowshoes.
More snow will come of course, and when it does things will officially enter the indoor “puttering” stage of seed sowing and houseplants, but for a few more days I’ll brave the cold and look for even the tiniest sprouting buds of hope. My anxious side wants to find them everywhere, my cautious side wants them to wait another two months.
So in the mean time we will deal with the ice storms, shovel out from the snow storms, and bundle up for the cold spells.
All this talk of braving the weather has been made a whole lot easier with a look at the ten day forecast. The fluffy snow and single digits from yesterday will warm up and melt rapidly in temperatures that don’t even dip below freezing in the foreseeable future. This wouldn’t be the first January thaw to ever hit us but considering the ground is barely frozen under the snow, I don’t hold out much hope for convincing bulbs to stay dormant. February may be ugly if too many things decide to give growing a go, but we’ll cross that bridge when it comes.