As far as I’m concerned the 2021 gardening season is now up and running. The few winter growers which I dare grow outside are starting to show signs of life, nudged along by a fall that gave us plenty of warm enough days and above freezing nights, and it’s nice to see things sprouting up all fresh and full of promise. Back in the day a lot of these things waited until February or March to do anything, but lately they’ve come on earlier and earlier, and I won’t complain. Actually who am I kidding? Of course I’ll complain. A brutal polar vortex in February, a foot of snow in March, hail in April… I can’t think of a single gardener who just smiles and shrugs these things off.
These earliest of snowdrops were always an issue of discontent for me. For years I would buy bulk bags of elwesii and then grumble as more southern gardeners would gloat over the random fall bloomers which would show up in their mix. They didn’t actually gloat, but when year after year I got nothing it started to seem like it. Then one year we had a long fall and a lackluster start to winter, and suddenly there were snowdrops up in December rather than March. It’s always the same few, and they unfortunately don’t hold up well when the cold does settle in, but it’s fun to see them and I do feel a little better about my luck again.
As you probably already know, our lackluster winter is finally making an effort. It’s about time I guess, so what better way to celebrate than to finally plant the daffodils, tuck in the last few perennials, and then set up the winter garden for some indoors enjoyment. Fingers crossed the daffodils survive their hasty planting, but it’s not the first time they’ve suffered this kind of abuse so they should be used to it by now.
The winter garden in the old workshop in the back of the garage only has about half the shop lights going so far. As more plants magically appear and seedlings start and bulbs sprout I may add to that, but at the moment there’s no real plan, and it’s just a nice place to putter around in with a few things growing while snow falls outside.
My current favorites are the cyclamen coum. Even though they do just fine outside in the open garden, indoors they’ll flower for a month or two during the bleakest months of January and February, and make for an excellent show that can be thoroughly enjoyed after dark during the week or with a nice morning coffee on the weekend. I do enjoy announcing that I’ll be in the winter garden with drinks, and that I need to sweep up the camellia petals or water the tree fern. It all sound pretty fancy if you ask me… even if others in this household seem less than impressed.
Re-opening the winter garden came just in time. It’s been snowing since later this afternoon and by tomorrow morning we could have anywhere from a foot to a foot and a half.
Hope all is well and you’re staying safe. I’ve got the shovels ready, gas for the snow blower, and the snowdrops are covered with buckets, so I think we’re ok. Tomorrow will hopefully be a nice snowday with a late breakfast, and just maybe I’ll be able to sneak the coffee out to the winter garden and admire cyclamen before the kids and dog want to “help” with the snow.