Four Days in February

It’s still winter here but the days are lengthening and the sun feels stronger.  I’m pretty sure the cold won’t last forever but to hear some people talk it’s absolutely brutal, and the whole winter has been an endless cycle of cold and wind and grey, and they can’t wait for things to warm up again.  Sometimes when I’m feeling brave I’ll ask if that means you’ll be able to finally complain about the heat, but those days are rare and lately I just say yeah, it’s a tough life we lead.

skiing in NEPA

Day 1: Sunday outside in the miserable cold.  Child on right, friend on left.

Sunday was cold, but on Monday it warmed up enough for at least one person in the neighborhood happy, and that guy didn’t even hide in the muddy, bulldozed backyard, he proudly trimmed and mowed and pruned in the front yard in spite of the odd looks and obvious hints that it was still 100% winter.  Actually 100% winter meant the ground was completely frozen and dead stalks broke nicely at their frozen base, bulbs were still asleep and safe from clumsy footsteps, and most importantly there was no mud.  Did I mention there’s plenty of that out back?

winter garden cleanup

Day 2:  Monday early afternoon.  Mow it all down with the hedge trimmers.

It might be too early to do all this cleanup but guess who doesn’t care.  I’m sick of the mess and there are snowdrops on the horizon, and I want those coming up without all the debris of last year making them look sad.  Chopped leaves- ok, last year’s dead stalks and freeze dried hellebore foliage- no.  Everything was hacked down with the hedge clippers and then raked onto the lawn for a mulching with the mower.  Into a mulch bag it goes and I think it looks far better.  A final tidy once March gets moving should set everything up until June 🙂

winter garden cleanup

Day2:  Late afternoon and I think it looks all ready for the earliest spring bulbs.  I just have to keep an eye on the construction trucks so they keep the ruts to a minimum… hahahaha

Day 3 was all rain.  Warm and rain.  For as much as the sun melted the snow, it barely softened the frozen soil, but the rain did and it brought on the first snowdrops up by the house.

american snowdrops

Day 4:  I snuck out of work early and caught the last light for a few photos.  Amazing what a sheltered location and just a few warm days can bring. 

So the warmth won’t last but the urge to grow will, and when cold slips back tomorrow these flowers will lay down for a week or so and then come back strong once spring gets a little more determined.  Out back a few things are also making an effort and that’s nice to see but if I were of the complaining sort I might be tempted to mention how our ski days are numbered.  Oh well.  We shall assume there is always a next year.

galanthus rosemary burnham

Day 4:  ‘Rosemary Burnham’ is all rich greens as she first comes up.  There will be fading over the next few days, but right now she’s perfect.

Hopefully your week is going without complaint, and as a warning to forestall any further complaint risks, let this be your first warning that way too many snowdrops will soon flood this blog.  You might have another week, so enjoy!

22 comments on “Four Days in February

  1. Lisa Lindquist says:

    Leave it to you to take full advantage of a few really nice days to clean up your garden and make it look like April already! Your snowdrops look spectacular and I am loving them! No complaining here~ bring them on~ I am so hungry for Spring flower pictures, I’ll even look at yours! lol

    • bittster says:

      My garden sure doesn’t look like April today! But at least some of the snow is melting again… until we drop into the single digits again tomorrow…
      I shall just hide in the winter garden for another few days 🙂

  2. Pauline says:

    Your snowdrops are beautiful, can’t wait for the rest! Well done to you for tidying the beds all around them so that you can enjoy them fully. Definitely signs that spring is on its way!

    • bittster says:

      I am so ready to enjoy snowdrops! Fortunately you’ve been sharing yours, but there’s much to be said for all the crouching and shuffling around in your own garden 😉

  3. Cathy says:

    It is exciting to see snowdrops and I actually have six this year! (I think it was only five last year. 😉) I know how you feel about getting the garden tidied before the spring bulbs appear. Youdid a great job. We also have an awful lot of mud, although I am sure a building site in my garden would be much worse and drive me insane… Hope work is going well on that project. Our winter has been relatively mild, but very wet and grey. I hear the ski resorts only a couple of hours away have had loads of snow and a good season. I only skiied in my first winter in Germany and was addicted…. taking a bus down to the mountains almost every weekend. After two courses and lots of extra days I realised my knees were not cut out for it. But it was fantastic being up on a snowy mountain in frosty sunshine! So maybe you’ll get another trip in before the snow completely melts and the garden takes over your time. 😃

    • bittster says:

      I constantly count the buds in favorite clumps to see how they compare to last year’s blooms. Glad to know I’m not the only one!
      Some days I’m really not sure if my knees are made out for skiing, and each year the question comes up earlier and earlier in the day! But I’ll still try and hang on a little longer. The kids enjoy going and until they no longer have time for dad I’ll try and keep up. We actually went today 🙂 there still might be one more trip before we hang up the snowpants and pull out the lawnmower.
      Hope your spring has more blue skies and beautiful days than you ever imagined -and just enough rain to keep the plants happy. We can keep this dream going, right?

  4. Paddy Tobin says:

    By way of contrast, I’d like to report that we have had our full dose of winter snow here in south-east Ireland this morning. I’m certain I saw a few snowflakes pass by the window while having breakfast. None stayed on the ground at all and that seems to be it for this winter! Great cleanup and the garden is looking spiffingly well – and the snowdrops especially so! ‘Rosemary Burnham’ is doing absolutly fabulously for you. I’m afraid it struggles here which I find deeply disappointing as I really love it. Here’s to warmer days and more snowdrops!

    • bittster says:

      I’m glad to hear you’ve squeaked by through winter and are back in full spring! Hopefully the snow flurries didn’t cause any major disruption to the economy or more importantly disturbed breakfast 😉
      As I was bumbling through the cleanup here, thoughts like ‘Paddy would not approve’ and ‘Paddy wouldn’t leave that there’ and ‘Paddy wouldn’t have misplaced his pruners again’ ran through my head. You are really running me ragged and the season has barely begun.
      ‘Rosemary Burnham’ has been a success here while other, easier nivalis sometimes struggle. My garden must be closer to a rocky Turkish hillside than a misty green Irish woodland and perhaps that sometimes explains the look of things here.

  5. Eliza Waters says:

    Heartening to see those plant harbingers of spring! I don’t blame you at all for getting out to enjoy the ‘good’ weather… it does a winter-weary body good. 🙂

  6. Snowdrops and a clean garden. Sounds like Heaven to me. We had an ice storm on Tuesday and supposedly snow is coming at 5 pm today. The garden needs snow cover with our cold temps so I can’t complain.

    • bittster says:

      We ended up with ice. Not as bad as the last storm, but enough to freeze into a yard fit for skating but not snowdrops. It will come though. I suspect snowdrop season will begin next weekend and hopefully last at least two beautiful weeks 😉

  7. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    On one of these warmer days I did the first pass through with the hedge trimmers too. Almost all of my Snowdrops are blooming now. Hellebores have buds. A lot of shrubs and trees are setting buds. The birds are beginning to sing despite that there is ice covering everything this morning. I am not going to complain tho. I am just going to savor those too-warm-for-winter days.
    Enjoy the skiing while you can.

    • bittster says:

      Oh? That sounds excellent! We are still about a week away from fully blooming snowdrops and buds on the hellebores, but it will come. I heard the birds singing as I left for work and it wasn’t the desperate looking for food call, it was the spring is on the way tune. I suspect today’s ski trip was one of our last.

  8. pbmgarden says:

    Congrats on your cleanup–looks fantastic Frank. Enjoy those lovely snowdrops. I didn’t realize just how resilient they are to put up with another onslaught of snow and then come back.

    • bittster says:

      Honestly I did not expect the snowdrops to make it through a few of the coldest nights. They did though and I’m happy to see it! Now I just need some more warm weather and some time off to enjoy it 🙂

  9. TimC says:

    looks great, and a fine bed of snowdrops!

    • bittster says:

      Thanks. This bed of snowdrops is where I’d like to bring all the others to. Soil prep, replanting, thinning, dividing, moving… all the stuff that makes gardening into a lot of work!

  10. Cathy says:

    That Rosemary Burnham is gorgeous! I must start counting buds as well, like you and Cathy. I’m too vague. If I counted then I could be SURE a snowdrop was doing well. And hedgetrimmers on the debris – I’m all for it. Unfortunately it’s too late for me this year, since there are so many bulbs muddled into the planting. But will try next year. Lovely post – but what really made me smile (apart from the pictures of two people clearly enjoying a ‘horrible’ winter day) was your conversation with Paddy. Good Monday morning start! I have voices in my head like that too – mine is called ‘Adrian’, and he’s not even around any more!

  11. Mary Jo says:

    The sunset is beautiful Frank! You’re a natural photographer 🙂 Beautiful children too!!! God Bless 🙂

  12. Donna Donabella says:

    We had a warm up here too in central NY. But winter moved back in. I can feel the stronger sun as I walk daily. Actually I am walking 3 times a day in any and all weather….yes even the blowing snow of the storms. I actually love it. But I do love all seasons. And yes soon enough we will complain about the heat….it was a joy too see your many snowdrops!! Mine are covered again with snow.

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