2018: Four Days Left and Finally a Sunny Day

The title may be an exaggeration, but it sure feels like the truth this year.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually all in favor of a well watered growing season, but this endless gloom is really wearing me down this year.  Fortunately the colder weather seems to have dried the air out a bit and although there are still plenty of storm systems creeping across the States it’s only tomorrow which seems to be a complete wash-out.  With that on the way I made a point of taking advantage of yesterday’s dry skies and sunny weather (and a Christmas holiday!) to labour outside a bit, and hopefully work off a few cookie-calories.

garden path stones

Stones were hauled out of the construction site next door and put to use in expanding a planting bed.

The hard work was hauling stones.  For those who garden on rocky mountainsides the idea of intentionally adding rocks to a yard might seem like nonsense but I love having them scattered around.  Big enough to sit on is perfect, flat enough to step on is also good enough.  This line of stepping stones will hopefully be ideal for muddy spring mornings spent looking too closely at sprouting snowdrops.

snowdrop noses galanthus

Speaking of snowdrops here are a few of the earliest sprouts.  Depending on how the winter goes we could have blooms coming on these by January, February, or March….  Earlier sounds nice, but the stress of later, damaging cold snaps is sometimes not worth it.

Even with a little sunshine, most everything is the garden is dull and bleak ‘winter interest’, and I guess if you’re taking a winter vow of poverty that’s fine but I prefer to see a little more interesting in my winter interest.  A move further south is out of the question, a massive greenhouse is out of the budget, but maybe a few fall blooming snowdrops will fit the bill.  This summer I finally planted my ‘Potter’s Prelude’ out in the open garden, and will now see how they take a full blown, in the garden winter.  Many have re-assured me they’ll be fine, but for now I’m committed to covering them ever time the weather sinks into the low 20’s.

galanthus potters prelude

Galanthus ‘Potters Prelude’.  This year they’re about a month late, undoubtedly I wasn’t the only one waiting for all the rain to stop.

We will see if much else still gets done during these lulls in winter.  I tried to warm up to the winter garden in the garage last week but maybe it’s still just too early and I’m still not quite as desperate as I will be when the snow flies, so for now I’ll still putter around outside.  In the meantime I hope the holidays are being enjoyed by all.  The countdown to 2019 has begun and I wish all of you nothing but the best for the new year!

28 comments on “2018: Four Days Left and Finally a Sunny Day

  1. Lisa Rest says:

    Gloomy agreed. It’s hard enough to stay awake, the rain makes me feel like a long winter’s nap. At least snow reflects whatever sunlight exists. I admire your snow drops and ability to putter. Best wishes, Frank, for the new year!

    • bittster says:

      Thanks and all the best to you!
      We did get a few patches of sun yesterday but of course it was short lived and there was a dusting of snow last night. Now it’s gloomy again but they say it will clear this afternoon…

  2. I’m sorry, rain in winter is wrong. The ground isn’t even frozen yet. I hope my plants are dormant despite this. I hope half my colchicums haven’t rotted from the incessant moisture. But I have to confess, every time we get another thaw and the ground is visible, I go out looking for signs of snowdrops. Still haven’t seen any yet. But I keep looking.

    • bittster says:

      Every day the drops come up a little more here, I feel like it’s going to be a problem during the next cold snap and thaw… but of course what can you do?
      I’m afraid all the rain may have rotted a few of my new snowdrop bulbs since I planted them is a spot which may be wetter than they’d like. All the colchicums in the wetter spots already died last summer, so hopefully the ones left will be ok…

  3. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I would be out collecting those rocks too. I live in the flat lands. Sandy soil to clay, no rocks. Every rock I see is sized up to see if it would be good in the garden. I have hauled many in from the mine areas around here.
    You have had a lot of rain this year. Our weather has been weird in that there were lots of dry times. I think that is our new norm.
    I have turned to more native plants to try to combat the weathers.
    I wish you a great gardening year to come. Cheers.

    • bittster says:

      I knew you were a rock lover Lisa! Aren’t they great? I was trying to explain to my neighbor that the ones he pointed out weren’t nice and smooth like the glaciated ones I collected from a different spot. He thought they were all the same…. ugh! Then I tried to make my wife come outside and look at the bluestone pieces I found. She was completely uninterested! What’s up with these people!?
      Over the last few years I planted mostly drought tolerant plants and enjoyed how easy they were to get through the drought spells. Last year and this a bunch of them died and I’m stuck with moisture tolerant plants… It’s hard to plan when the weather is all over.

  4. Pauline says:

    The warm weather is starting everything into growth here too. There are quite a few flowers already, I just hope we don’t get hit with a cold spell. Wishing you a wonderful year ahead with lots of beautiful flowers and no weeds!

    • bittster says:

      Thanks and a wonderful 2019 to you as well!
      I’ve been seeing snowdrop photos showing up in facebook posts from overseas. It is a very early season and I also am hoping it works out well.

  5. A warm day of rain yesterday but now temps are going down again. I just went out to cut some foliage for bouquets and really wondered if I should rake up the leaves that are going to smother the grass. But bags of soaking wet leaves just doesn’t sound that appealing at this point. Sun or snow would be a nice change from all the grey here as well.

    • bittster says:

      Raking up wet leaves is not my idea of post-Christmas fun, but I was looking at the same thing. I’d love to clear off the lawn one last time but have to acknowledge doing that might be a little more obsessive that I’d like to be 😉 . Maybe I’ll just cut back a few more things which I had planned on ignoring until spring.
      We had some snow last night and now it’s snowy plus gloomy. I’m actually looking forward to one of those blindingly bright snowy days, I hope they make it here this winter.

  6. Christina says:

    Gloom is bad whenever it appears!we’ve also had some lovely sunny days for working outside over the Christmas festivities. I’ve been tying in the Trachelospernum around the cut flower beds and mulching Dahlias. It feels good to have spent time outside, it may not be so pleasant later. I hope the snow holds off for a bit longer for you Frank.

    • bittster says:

      We did have some snow but the temperatures keep coming back into the warmer range. More snowdrops keep showing, which is exciting, but also worrying.
      I’d love to have some of that sunshine, keep me in mind as you stroll dry gravel paths and feel the warmth shining down on you!

  7. The rain and gloom are wearing me down, too, Frank. I haven’t done any pottering about in my garden lately so don’t know if I have any snowdrop shooting up, but glad to see yours. We can only hope … Happy New Year to you and yours. P. x

  8. Of all the drawbacks of winter, continual gloom is the worst. I’ve got a special lamp that when it gets too bad is placed on my writing desk and it does what it has to do on my retina. That said, it’s been very mild and fairly bright lately here in the UK. The temperatures certainly accelerate the bulbs. And speaking of which, ‘Potters Prelude’ is a new one to me. They look good even a month late. Have a great New Year, Frank.

    • bittster says:

      I’ve been following your early snowdrops, it’s exciting to see!
      We had a few minutes of sunlight this morning, but by the time I unlocked the door and scurried outside it was already gone, so we’ll see if 2019 shows any changes…
      I would almost welcome cold weather if it meant some bright winter sun!

  9. rusty duck says:

    All the best for 2019 Frank! This time of year is so full of promise for the season ahead and I can’t help getting excited. Even more so this week as I’ve been wandering around an English garden in Tasmania.It almost made me homesick. For summer though, obviously. There’s a bit to get through first.

    • bittster says:

      You picked an excellent time to head south and follow the sun! By the time you return days will already be picking up a few minutes of sun each day and snowdrops won’t be far behind.
      It’s good to have this midwinter dream-time to get the ideas flowing.

  10. In a way I envy all the stones of the northeast – they give the garden a real character. And shouldn’t stones be incorporated into a garden in a part of the country where they are integral to the landscape? I didn’t know that there were fall-blooming Snowdrops – you learn something new every day. Best wishes for a New Year, Frank!

    • bittster says:

      I guess there’s always a happy medium in the garden between open space and hardscape like rocks. I prefer to lean towards the hardscape side of course!

  11. Cathy says:

    The damp and grey weather in December is disheartening, but the sight of snowdrops or even just shoots is uplifting! I shall be scouring my beds when I get back from my break in the UK. Happy New Year Frank!

    • bittster says:

      I’ve been scouring my beds each day and it’s just not working out for me! For as much as I wish they’d start growing they fortunately know enough to hold back until the real winter weather comes. Now if I pot up a few things might be different…. hmmmm 🙂

  12. Peter Herpst says:

    Rain and clouds are par for the course here in the soggy Pacific Northwest but it makes this dark time of year seem even darker. Hope you’re enjoying the new yea. The garage winter garden is waiting.

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