Spring in January

Saturday was awesome.  Nearly 50F (10C) and sunny, with just a touch of wind kicking up in the afternoon, it was the kind of weather which might be a touch warm for an Irishman but for me it was a perfect spring day… in winter of course.  We are still in a weather pattern which has been luring more and more plants out of the ground and into harm’s way, and things could come crashing down any minute.  Actually that minute might be this Friday night when a front is threatening to knock lows down to about zero (-17C) so we will see.

pale yellow eranthis

The warmth and sun have coaxed the pale yellow winter aconite (Eranthis hiemalis) into full bloom.  These flowers will melt in the cold, but the plants should survive to try again in spring 2024…

Oh my gosh I have so much random babbling to get out of my system that I barely know where to start.  Perhaps complaining about a lack of blog views is a perfect place to begin since I’m already on to the woe is me, the weather is getting cold for two days, pity party.  2022 ended and my stats are the lowest numbers since 2014.  Rough calculations on my part show that in that same period of time the global population has grown by 253 million, so as you can see it’s even worse than you would think since even a quarter billion supposedly tech-savy babies can’t be bothered to visit my blog.  Shall I change my business model or content?  Maybe branch out into alternate platforms and super-connect with social media?  Heh heh, you know me better than that, obviously continued laziness will be my answer, and you can expect few to none on those new tricks on the horizon.

galanthus bess richard ayres

Galanthus ‘Bess’, with ‘Richard Ayres’ behind will suffer melted blooms in near zero cold, ‘Bess’ will probably be the worst just as she was two years ago from another freeze but maybe the lazy head gardener can cover a few things to help them along.

I happened to notice my visitor stats when I received notification that 2023 will be my ten year anniversary at Sorta Like Suburbia.  You can take my word that a ten year anniversary on a blog which I don’t think I started that long ago did not help me feel any younger for a recent birthday celebration.  Also not helping were reminders that in another year I will be eligible for senior discounts at most of the local restaurants.

galanthus castle plum

Galanthus ‘Castle Plum’ is so perfect today, and one of my favorites for an early snowdrop.  Still only one bulb after several years but who am I to pressure him to start having babies?  

Obviously this gardener is not the type who gets bubbly and excited for his birthday, just in case you didn’t notice.  My thrill was that the weather was beautiful and my celebration was being able to finish cleaning out enough of the front street border so that the earliest flowers can come up through something other than dead twigs and windblown trash.  It might be early.  It might be too early, but things are coming up anyway and if I wait longer my clumsy footsteps will do more damage to the plants than this and other likely-to-still-come hard freezes.

hellebore buds

This hellebore (unlike others in the garden) doesn’t usually suffer from extreme cold snaps.  I’ll let you know how it makes it through this one.

By the way, I also noticed that my earliest posts from the golden days of this blog were much shorter and far wittier.  Maybe I should at least make an effort to keep this short.

pale yellow eranthis

More pale eranthis (only pale ones since the normal dark yellows are still waiting for warmer days).  Some of these snowdrops might make it, but they’ve also lost flowers in freezes in years past.

…and more helpful.  Posts about how things should be grown and what you shouldn’t do (I’m very good at that!) might be something to reconsider rather than endless whining about how we are finally going to have two cold nights this winter.

galanthus mrs Macnamara

‘Mrs Macnamara’ rarely makes it through a winter here without a beating from the cold.  Last winter was so rough on her she’s actually blooming a bit sparsely this year, and if she wasn’t such a good grower I’d have sent her to a more Southern garden years ago.

So here’s my tip for sudden freezes while your plants are already in growth.  Buy a greenhouse.  Fill it with hardy things like snowdrops and cyclamen so that a broken heater isn’t the end of the world and it might be a fantastic diversion for when the arctic visits.  It will be a great place for ‘Mrs Macnamara’ and she deserves it, doesn’t she?

galanthus daphnes scissors

‘Daphne’s Scissors’ will probably not appreciate the cold but might also be just fine.  When I was reviewing this photo I noticed the vertebrae of some poor little creature’s spine at the base of the clump.  I guess the garden is always an up and down, life or death kind of place.  

So I don’t know how we ended up on the topic of greenhouses.  Hmmm.  More economical advice will be to invert an empty pot or bucket over these tender shoots and maybe that will help with icy winds or possibly to catch a few degrees of protection.  It will be worth it and I’m already preparing a scolding for myself for not bothering.

12 comments on “Spring in January

  1. Well, if you ever get that addition paid for, a greenhouse would certainly be a logical next step.

    • bittster says:

      Haha, you’re being far too sensible! The addition will probably never be paid for, let alone finished, and I don’t think there’s anything logical about getting a greenhouse. Actually a logical decision would be to NEVER get one, but then that would derail my near perfect record of stupid things done at just the wrong time.

  2. Cathy says:

    Well Frank, if it’s any consolation our forecasts have consistently been way out all winter! Still, you do have time before then for a few buckets to go out… 😉 As for blog shots of the garden, I can completely understand… The mulch that was protecting my tender plants has been blown everywhere, along with lots of bits of Miscanthus, and it looks a mess! So no long shots of my garden will be shared for a while, unless it snows! Talk of a greenhouse makes me wonder what you might find on sale next weekend in the midst of a winter storm… 😜Congratulations on the blogging birthday. And was it your own birthday too? The idea of senior discounts in restaurants sounds good… no such thing here. It can’t all be bad!

    • bittster says:

      Haha, who knows what would happen if I found a greenhouse sale!? I’m torn between the fun I might have vs the loss of garden beds, there’s always something.
      The wind was fierce here as well, but most everything that was going to blow away has done so already so no big deal. I used to leave the miscanthus up for winter interest but now chop them down late fall because of the endless blades which blow around the yard! Can’t have messy dried leaves blowing around when the snowdrops are coming up, can we 😉

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    The winter aconites are so pretty and very early, rather tough to cover, huh? I hope you do cover a few favorites… it won’t be more than a couple days, thankfully. Our forecast is -12ºF on Friday night with a high of 10º…that’ll be a change from today’s 45º. I keep telling myself it IS winter after all and we used to get a whole week of those temps, so can’t complain too much. Thankfully, we have 2-4″ of ‘snow’ insulation on the ground, so no aconites, etc. here to worry about.
    Happy belated birthday, time does go faster the older you get, eh? Somehow I can’t see you taking advantage of senior discounts when you have to dine between 5 and 6pm. That’s a few more years out, I’d say. 😉

    • bittster says:

      I hope you’re cozy and snug for this cold. We went down to -2 so it was downright balmy compared to your lows! I did cover a few things, I hope it did the trick and saved a few blooms. Overall the cold was for such a short time I think we might actually have made it through without too much damage.
      Heh heh, yes. I think I’m too vain still to ask for a senior discount!

  4. Nothing is coming up here and the dip in temps have put off early expectations. I wouldn’t worry about your blog stats. Enjoy what you are doing regardless of what stats say. I started blogging in 2009 when I was in Mississippi, then started the first Belmont Rooster after I moved back to the family farm in 2013. I gained an amazing amount of followers and always had quite a few comments. In 2014, I had an issue and was basically forced to stop. The issue left, so I started again. It came back, so I stopped. It left again, so I started blogging again full swing in 2017. Something happened and most of the bloggers I followed completely quit. Many new bloggers have quit after only a few posts. I have pages that have had no views and many posts with only a couple of comments. I know that is because I get busy on my site and don’t take the time to read other people’s post. When I do, I get comments. Who would think we have to do that? 🙂 Your posts and photos are AMAZING and you are a real inspiration to all of us! Keep up the good work!

    • bittster says:

      Yes, I think you’re pretty much right on with your comments. I’m sure you also run a good amount of people who are searching for information, find what they need on your blog, and then go on their way without a hello. There’s so much information available in your posts it’s practically plantiwikipedia lol
      Like you say, just do your own thing and enjoy it. I guess so many people are on a quest to be relevant it makes you consider yourself a little as well. Maybe deep down inside I thought the ramblings of a plant-obsessed nerd with a messy garden would gain billions of viewers worldwide… someday I might have to re-evaluate that dream 😉
      I’m still glad for all the blogs I follow and get plenty from each. It can really be a community, and I actually prefer my communities on the small side!

  5. Paddy Tobin says:

    Oh, we gardeners do get excited and all happy about somethings – perhaps, not birthdays – but the reappearance of a favourite snowdrop or other plant can be an occasion for happiness. Re blogging, like gardening it become repetitive but that’s not the worst thing in the world…except that the years tot up. I would normally consider a nice dinner or such to celebrate but daughter-in-law has planned a weekend away to mark my 70th and our son’s 40th which are on consecutive days later this year. I wouldn’t go to the bother myself but am really looking forward to it. Your plants are looking great by the way!

    • bittster says:

      Oh how exciting! I’m sure the weekend away will be someplace enjoyable and the garden can hold its own for a few days. Years toting up? My son will likely be driving on his own by the end of the week, I’m sure his 40th is also just around the corner.
      I saw the promise of way too many snowdrop photos and ramblings when you shared your last blog post on Facebook. I’m saving it for tomorrow morning’s coffee, and I’m expecting great things as always!

  6. Pauline says:

    Lovely photos of your snowdrops and winter aconites, hope your weather doesn’t cause too much damage. My blog stats are way down compared to what they were 5 yrs ago, I think people these days just want a quick comment with a photo, and not to have to read a lot anymore, whereas I enjoy a good read with a mug of coffee! Happy Birthday!

    • bittster says:

      Thank you 🙂
      I also like the good read. A photo is nice, but I want to hear about the weeds and worms and robins and leaf-mould as well. Showing off is fun but I need to know that someone else’s plants also sulk and sometimes silly mistakes are had and learned from.

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