That Was Rough

We are on the fourth day of winter here and there’s even a dusting of snow on the ground to make it look serious.  People were finally zipping up their winter coats and by Friday most of the mountain lakes had ice extending from shore to shore.  Seeing winter weather here was half a relief until I looked at the ten day forecast and saw at least three days next week where the daytime high was over 50F(10C), so calm down.  Don’t pull out the ice fishing equipment just yet.

cold snowdrop

The snowdrops (Galanthus ‘Colossus’) are mostly wilted and flat in the cold.  That’s a good thing actually.

Based on the daily news reports I’m sure everyone was aware that cold weather was headed across much of the US this week.  I’m actually surprised there were no evacuation postings based on the way they were describing it, with dramatic windchill predictions, ‘record-breaking’, ‘life-threatening’ lows and all the dangers associated.  Maybe someone even named the cold front.  Cold front “Karl” is bearing down on the Northeast, buy your milk and bread (minus the egg$) now!!! before the brutal assault begins.

freeze protection spring bulbs

I did manage to bucket a few clumps and then threw fleece over this bed for good measure after ‘Mrs Macnamara’ and ‘Barnes’ flexed their previously damaged foliage and made me feel guilty about neglecting them last time. 

Today when I woke up we were down to -2F (-19C).  That’s about right in line with a normal winter low, even if this winter has been nothing close to normal.  I strolled around a little in the afternoon when the thermometer had risen to around 20F and things might not be too bad.  In spite of how advanced many of the sprouts were, two days of cold prior to the plunge allowed plants to get ready for the blast.  The witch hazel curled up and the snowdrops went limp.  Limp, sugar concentrated snowdrops don’t freeze as well and the wilted foliage doesn’t burst as easily from expanding ice crystals.  Tomorrow when spring arrives we will see what bounces back.  Hopefully most everything will since the coldest weather was just one night and things were somewhat ready for it.  Nature can be smart, probably smarter than an idiot teen who needs to be told to go back into the house and put on a coat before this car is going anywhere for goodness sakes it’s not even 8 degrees out…

freeze protection spring bulbs

It was so nice and sunny (yet cold) Thursday after work that I did go a little overboard with the freeze protection.  Cut evergreen boughs, buckets and fleece were doled out for the most precious and precocious of the snowdrops.

I really can’t blame the teen entirely.  His father is the one who planted all these European and Asian snowdrops and witch hazels, and thought a winter garden would be a good idea in a climate which welcomes brutal winters.  He’s not exactly the brightest either but let’s not dwell on that right now.

freeze protection spring bulbs

Even the regular golden winter aconites(Eranthis hiemalis) are thumbing their noses at this winter.  In another week they’ll be sprouting up everywhere with an enthusiasm better suited to March.

So in another moment of brightness I’m declaring the winter of ’22-’23 to be over.  February and March can be cold here but I’m giving up on winter, and next week everything is being uncovered and I’m starting the official spring cleanups regardless of historical averages.  I should be disturbed and cautious but that’s our world these days and I’m saying it’s time to plan for snowdrop season and make a few calls for this spring’s snowdropping adventures.  Giddyap I say and plan on making the best of the warmth!

The Turning of the Tides

I had a nice surprise Tuesday morning on the way to work.  The normally dark and gloomy ride was brightened up by something I haven’t seen in a while, a sunrise.  To call it a sunrise is giving the event a bunch more credit than it deserves, but it was a pinkish glow spread across the edges of a smattering of clouds and was much nicer than the black abyss I’ve gotten used to over the last few weeks.  It’s a hopeful moment.  There will still be plenty a day before I can walk into work with an actual sun over the horizon, but until then a promising glow in the morning counts for a lot.

hammamelis pallida

With or without morning sun, the first of the witch hazels (Hammamelis x ‘Pallida’) has opened up for a full-bloom show of color in the otherwise bleak landscape.

The promise of seeing daylight again on the ride to work is a nice affirmation that days really are getting longer and spring will someday be more than an idea.  Nice isn’t always good though, since this week typically brings the very coldest days of the season, and getting all sentimental and hopeful weeks too early can be torture when a string of snowstorms rolls through from February to March.  Actually it can get expensive as well.  People get delusional about expanding vegetable gardens and starting viburnum collections and planting new cannas everywhere.  People can also get judgmental toward delusional gardeners, and let me state clearly here that that’s not ok.  You should never be judgmental about people just trying to make the world a better place, and that’s exactly what a February gardener is trying to do with their not-as-well-planned-as-they-could-be new plant decisions.

hammamelis spanish spider

First blooms on a new little witch hazel.  ‘Spanish Spider’ was a totally unplanned and perhaps unnecessary purchase which is proving itself invaluable and essential this week.

For now on I will consider midwinter purchases as brilliant, perhaps genius, foresight.  Leave the bean-counting to accountants and go ahead and buy as many bean seeds as you think your ‘Year of the Bean’ needs.  Tell the naysayers they’re the type who would drive unrecognized genius to cut off an ear, and unless they want to be part of the problem they should instead help choose a nice yellow Romano pole bean to go with the heirloom purple.

pale yellow eranthis

More pale yellow Eranthis hiemalis are hearing the call of spring…. or maybe winter… they are also called winter aconites after all.

So enough with the aimless babbling and back to the garden.  We’re still running a good bit above average temperatures.  Skiing is happening but the ice fishermen are still on the sidelines, and plants are still trying to start growing just a little too early.

peony shoots

Peony shoots always seem to come up too early.  These Peonia daurica buds look awfully exposed but they’re really quite hardy.  At least that’s one thing I won’t have to worry about.

Fingers crossed that the early sprouts mean an early spring, and not a disaster of melted and blackened tender foliage in a month or two’s time.  A few things are still reeling from December’s blast.

freeze damage snowdrop

The fall blooming snowdrops (G. elwesii ‘Barnes’ in this case) did not appreciate going from North Carolina to Newfoundland in 12 hours.  I see new growth though, so I suspect all is not lost.

freeze damaged sternbergia lutea

A Sternbergia lutea (autumn daffodil?) which might be worse than it looks.  All the browned damage is right close to the bulb and the rest of the leaf might follow as the damage works its way down.

freeze damaged sternbergia lutea

Another Sternbergia lutea just a few inches away, further out into the garden which should have been more exposed and therefore damaged, but no, it looks untouched.  The narrower foliage could mean something, and it’s also from a different source.  Maybe it’s just variations in the species, but who knows?  

freeze damaged cyclamen coum

Some of the hardy cyclamen (C. hederifolium and C. coum) were blasted by the cold, but I know they’ll recover, and by the looks of these early buds there’s still a good chance for an excellent spring flowering.

Obviously I can’t leave off on a gardening report with a down note on snowdrops.  They’re inching forward, and hopefully still pace themselves in spite of the continuous above average temperatures.

early snowdrops galanthus ophelia

The double ‘Ophelia’ is moving right along and should make a great show in a few more weeks.  Unlike some, I don’t think she’s ever been bothered by a later freeze.

A few snowdrops are always eager to get started.  Some years it’s cold enough to hold them back to bloom alongside the later varieties, other years they pop up early, hopefully miss the worst weather, and the season is extended that many more weeks:)

galanthus wendys gold

‘Wendy’s Gold’ will bloom during the next nice day, I suspect Sunday or Monday… right before the possibility of two actual winter days… maybe… 

So snowdrops are still good just in case you were worried, and by the way the winter garden is also still good even if winter hasn’t been as healthy as he should be.

Another year of seed cleaning and sorting is finished and now my little coffee table is all tidied up and set for the main round of seed sowing.

It’s all the usual suspects under the lights, plus a few pots of daylily seedlings for the farm. If all goes well this will become a deliciously overgrown mess again by May.

There’s always a few new things. Someone gave me a bromeliad (Neoregelia) last summer and after a billion hours of online bromeliad searching I can proudly say I still only have one and I also haven’t moved to the tropics to grow them better. Go me!

I wish I could say the same for succulents. Who knew 20 bucks on Etsy could get you a tiny box of 10 mixed Echeveria agavoides cuttings!!?? 20 more bucks can get a handful of lithop seedlings to show up at your doorstep!!

So not to brag, I think I’m handling the depths of winter quite well.  Witch hazels on the way, snowdrops in bloom, and exciting things under the grow lights.  I could get used to these non-winters… assuming the two days of cold next week don’t become a habit… but even if they do there’s still always those longer days, the stronger sun, and there’s only so much winter can do against that.

Have a great weekend!

 

A Week of Flowers-Day 7

Congratulations to Cathy on another successful Week of Flowers, and all the flowery joy which her and other bloggers have brought to computer screens across the world!  I’ve enjoyed the adventure and as expected will wrap things up with one last flowery bulb.

Colchicums!

growing colchicum

During the late days of summer and throughout fall, colchicums(autumn crocus if you’d like, but they’re 100% not crocus relatives) bring color to the fading garden.  Depending on your frame of mind they’re either the perfect end to the bulb season, or the first heralds of the new growth of fall and winter.

I’ve posted plenty on colchicums in the past, so won’t bore you with too many details, but these bulbs will sprout their hosta-like foliage in the spring, die back for the summer, and then erupt with fresh flowers in the fall just when everything else was starting to look tired.

growing colchicum

Colchicums popping up through a groundcover of leadwort.

growing colchicum

Even out of bone-dry, late-summer tired soil, colchicums still manage to wake up and look fresh as if everything for the new season will be perfect.

growing colchicum

Colors range is white or pinks with single or double flowers.  The whites can be really nice although here in my gray planting it might still need some developing.

And that wraps up Cathy’s Week of Flowers. I hope your early December days were brightened by the color, and your long nights refreshed with dreams of flowers past… a good type of refreshing, not a Dickenesque haunting by the ghosts of seasons past… and if you still need some more refreshing, consider it’s just two weeks until the winter solstice and lengthening days strengthening rays and then it starts all over again!

Enjoy your break while it lasts 😉

A Week of Flowers-Day 6

The week of flowers continues and I think I’ve stumbled across one of those revelations which probably everyone else already knew, but when it’s about yourself you’re always the last to know.  My revelation is that I’m a little bulb obsessed.  Any bulb or corm or tuber seems just a bit more special than your average bunch of roots or twigs…. or quite possibly it’s just whatever I’m thinking about that week… and this week it’s bulbs.  Whatever.  Better to not think too long on things like this since the last time it happened I decided I needed to bring more ‘other’ bulbs into my life, as in adding more Lycoris to the garden.  It’s been a painfully slow process waiting for them to get settled in, watching them sulk, wondering if I can blame anyone other than myself for torturing these poor little things, and then one flower comes up and I’m on the computer for hours looking for more info to distract myself with.

lycoris x squamigera

Lycoris x squamigera, the hardy magic lilies which thrive in most gardens but not so much here until recently…

Most of the magic lilies aka spider lilies aka hurricane lilies aka nakid ladies are not quite hardy enough for this garden, but several are, and they’re usually the type of flower which sets its roots down, blooms with abandon, and then outlives the gardener and homestead… unless they’re here of course.  Here they’ve limped along for years until just recently when they decided to humor me with a few exquisite blooms.

lycoris x houdyshelii

Opening pale yellow, and then fading to a strawberry blush, Lycoris x houdyshelii is a borderline hardy cross which finally sent a single bloom up this summer.  I hope I don’t have to wait another three years for the next bloom.

Maybe someday I can report back on the secrets to success with these, but today I think it’s better to just enjoy the flowers and reflect back on the cozy hot and humid summer days of their season.

lycoris x incarnata

The peppermint surprise lily (Lycoris x incarnata) is supposed one of the easiest and best growers, and last summer mine acted as such… it just took four years for it to figure that out!

lycoris radiata

In the South, I’ve been told red spider lilies(Lycoris radiata) grow like weeds.  Here in the North their winter foliage can cause problems, but last winter’s mild stretches seemed to make at least one bulb happy.  Sadly my other two bulbs decided to rot from all the melting snow runoff, so a 33% success rate is terrible yet it’s also good enough a success rate to fire up my delusions for another few years.

lycoris x caldwellii

I have high hopes for Lycoris x caldwellii which has been growing in the garden somewhat vigorously for years but only flowered for the first time this summer. I think my plantings need more sun.

So that’s a lot of complaining for day 6, and I apologize, but hopefully the pictures have brought on a few thoughts of your own late-summer flowers, pool-time, and cricket-filled evenings and that’s always a good thing.  Another good thing is a visit to Cathy’s Week of Flowers on Words and Herbs and all the additional flowers you’ll see there.

Have a great week!

A Week of Flowers-Day 5

I’m taking it easy on day five of Cathy’s Week of Flowers celebration.  I guess I don’t party like I used to.  Today with a single photo I’m celebrating the heat of late July and the entire month of August, and the hot red flowers of Lobelia cardinalis.  This moisture loving North American native plant finally settled in just off the back porch in a somewhat shaded and often damp corner of the house.  While the cardinal flowers are in bloom, hummingbirds run a near constant turf war with guards and hit and runs and and the constant chatter of chases and aerial combat.  A gardener who sits nearby to enjoy the shelter and shade is guaranteed a face-to-face barrage of insults from some tiny hovering pint-sized fighter pilot.  Hummingbirds seem so tiny and cute, but in reality they’re little flying honey badgers.

lobelia cardinalis

Cardinal flower filling the end of the shade garden.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend, it’s a beautifully sunny morning here and although it’s also on the cold side, the rest of the week looks tolerable… and by tolerable I mean good shipping weather for a little box of succulents…

Merry Christmas to me!

A Week of Flowers-Day 3

My mother’s family is all centered in Northern Germany in the city of Osnabrück, and my mom would tell stories of their summertime beach trips cross the border to the barrier islands off the coast of the Netherlands.  It’s really not all that great a distance and to be honest if someday some genetic testing finds a bit of that Dutch-tulip-loving DNA in me I would not be surprised.  To me tulips are nice.  Obsessively nice, and if someone were to say to me ‘but they’re so much work’, I’d have to point out that my kids aren’t exactly a picnic, and if you’re looking at dollars I would guess one Christmas’ worth of either child’s presents is probably more than I’ve ever spent on tulips… Hmmm.  Guess who just had that “what is Santa’s budget this year” discussion?

garden perennial tulips

Tulips in the potager.  They’re dug and dried for the summer and replanted in the fall after the tomatoes and peppers freeze off.

Let me just quickly add that in my garden we rarely have tulip-eating vermin such as deer, the rabbits are quite lazy (or full of other plants), and the tulips seem to just like the soil here, enough so that they usually perennialize even when not dug.  I know that’s not the case for everyone so please let me enjoy this one success!

garden perennial tulips

Darwin and Triumph tulips mixed into the front perennial border.

garden perennial tulips

A garden filled with tulips and daffodils is one of the best announcements of spring’s arrival.

garden perennial tulips

These are a few of the antique broken tulips of the earliest days of the Dutch tulip industry.  I’m still trying to find a spot they like here, for me they’re not nearly as vigorous as the newer types.

garden perennial tulips

Fortunately tulip season is followed by irises and peonies and clematis and a billion other amazing spring flowers.  If that wasn’t the case I’d probably need medication and a few days in a dim room by myself in order to recover from the high.

Tomorrow will be a quick post.  It’s hard to move on from tulips.  Thanks Cathy for giving me the excuse to revisit one of my favorite times of the year, and if you’d also like to revisit more floralific seasons give Words and Herbs a visit for more of Cathy’s Week of Flowers

A Week of Flowers-Day 2

Okay, so it’s only day two of Cathy’s Week of Flowers and I’m already cheating a bit.  These are the flowers of my winter garden, a fancy name I like to use when referring to the fluorescent shop lights in the back of the (slightly) heated garage.  From now until the weather warms again it will be my garden home base where I sow seeds, strike cuttings, repot and pot up all the plants which don’t mind living on the cool side, but prefer not to freeze.

growlight garden

Geraniums (Pelargonium cvs) don’t mind cold nights and cool days and will flower all winter.

growlight garden

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) are almost a required flower for any indoor grower.  This treasure was given to me by a friend who collected and grew on seed from one of his own bulbs.  I love it!

growlight garden

In a good winter I’ll have a few primula seedlings potted up and ready to crack out of the ice mid-winter, to bring indoors to force along.  Sadly this year the primula seedlings were a neglected bust…

growlight garden

On and off through the winter an occasional succulent will throw up a flower stalk.  This Echeveria (E. diffractens I believe) is usually quick to develop flowers once it comes indoors, showing off this bright orange explosion of color from December into February.

Hopefully no one has been offended by all these mentions of cold and winter and ice, but I’m sure Kathy has fired up the troops and there are more summerly visions of flowers if you need some warming up!  Give Cathy’s Week of Flowers a visit for all the links and I’m sure she’ll have a good dose of color from her own garden as well.  Enjoy!

A Week of Flowers-Day 1

I don’t necessarily mind this time of year, it’s a bit gloomy at times and the garden doesn’t have the day to day surprises and continuous parade of blooms, but it’s a breather, and a chance to refocus before you start dreaming of summer again!  With that said I’m still ready for a distraction, and of course that makes me more than happy to jump into the photo files and join in with Cathy’s Week of Flowers, which she is hosting again this year on Words and Herbs.  The instructions couldn’t be any simpler, “post a flower a day for a week”, and I think even I can stick with those rules.  Obviously I’ll start with snowdrops… far from the most colorful flower, yet they’re the flowers which I obsesses most over.

snowdrops

Last December’s display of ‘Potter’s Prelude’, a fall blooming snowdrop which sneaks in a few blooms before winter gets too serious.

snowdrops

Last March in my most established snowdrop bed.  I usually enjoy these all by my lonesome each spring, everyone else struggles to find an excuse to run indoors when I wander off into the cold to admire them.

snowdrops

By the end of March a few other hardy bloomers such as the yellow winter aconite join in the show.  This one’s name is ‘Greenish’ for somewhat obvious reasons.

snowdrops

White, green, and occasionally yellow might not qualify as wildly colorful, but during the shortest and coldest days of the year I welcome them.  This is a borderline yellow named ‘Bloomer’.

So day one complete.  Probably one of the shortest snowdrop related posts you’ll ever see on this blog but I hope you enjoyed it, and I’m sure you’ll find more to enjoy as others check in for Cathy’s week of flowers!

Planned Surprises

Saturday I suddenly found myself on the road to Ithaca NY.  It’s about a two hour drive from here and of course I have better things to do locally but wanted to see a few friends, and you know… there was a plant sale.  Just a small thing done among members of the Adirondack chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society, but they have some pretty cool plants and for just two or three dollars a piece all the plants (donated out of member gardens) find a new home that morning.  Of course I was more than happy to help out, and a couple alliums, ferns and a violet are now here in Pa with me and even better, all the extra daffodils I dug this summer are GONE… or at least most of them.  Stupid me thinks I should replant some of the smallest ones to give them a chance to grow out so they won’t be too small to give away?  Don’t ask.  My accounting brilliance is matched only by my business sense.

cornell botanic garden

Cornell Botanic Gardens.  It was nice to stop into a garden which I’m guessing has a couple feet of topsoil, annual mulches of compost, and just the right amount of watering to grow sickeningly well.  Here’s Hydrangea cumulonimbus mocking the approaching storm clouds. 

The plant sale was followed by a luncheon and I just want to say that in between garden talk there was an invite to a garden which I really wanted to see, but I actually opted out of going.  Weird, right?  I think it was a combo of poor sleep, impending bad weather, and an overall end-of-summer-I’m-sick-of-drought-my-garden-is-a-disaster malaise.  In hindsight I wish I’d gone, but at that moment I just wasn’t up to being social any longer so passed.  That was an actual unplanned surprise, since on the way up I had a conscious thought of the possibility of being invited somewhere, and how excellent that would be.  I hope I’m not actually getting old(er)!

carex muskingumensis little midge

I found this sedge to be far cooler than you would imagine a sedge could be.  Carex muskingumensis ‘Little Midge’ I believe, even though the label said ‘Little Midget’ which would also be fitting. Quite the geometry on this little guy.

Apparently I was still young enough to add one side trip to the trip by pulling into the parking lot of the Cornell Botanical Gardens.  I did want to see how their tropical plantings were coming along, but then surprised myself by liking the shade plantings even more.

Mukdenia rossii Crimson Fans

Mukdenia rossii ‘Crimson Fans’.  Seeing this was a first for me, and I always thought the red color was an autumnal, perfect storm, enhanced for catalogs, color effect, but here it is in late August doing its bright crimson thing as if it’s no big deal.  Very nice!

And then it was back home.  I pulled in at a suitably responsible and mature arrival time of 6pm, just in time to enjoy the evening light on the Lycoris.  If you want to talk about surprises the fact any of these are blooming would be the premier surprise since they did not look all that happy this spring, and baked-clay dry summers are not supposed to encourage good bloom with these temperamental divas.

lycoris x squamigera

The most common surprise lily, or Nekkid lady (Lycoris x squamigera), is blooming more than it’s ever bloomed before.  I heard they like derelict, neglected properties so perhaps the random construction debris and bits of trash I’ve thrown here are the secret to a good show.  

There’s actually a second magic lily surprising me this year.  I thought I was successfully killing off most of my plantings, but suddenly there’s an almost clump of Lycoris x incarnata flower stalks poking up between the squash leaves.  If only I knew what went right with this spot I’d repeat it with the other bulbs growing just inches away but worlds apart in flowering-power… as in they’re not flowering at all…  Perhaps they’ll also surprise me but I doubt it.  Someone might have already poked around and found several have lost their roots to some kind of rot, and even though they’re sometimes called magic lilies, I think a miracle is closer to what we need.

lycoris x incarnata

Lycoris x incarnata, aka the peppermint spider lily, is a hybrid of two other Lycoris species.  There are other forms, but this striped version is one of the more common garden forms.  I think it’s quite awesome this year.

These two Lycoris and a few others are the cold-hardy members of a bigger family of bulbs which do well in the warmer Southern states and aren’t all that uncommon down there.  Sadly they’re not hardy enough for this garden, but of course since I’m doing so well with the other ones, I also thought I’d try a few of the more tender types such as L. radiata, the red hurricane lily.  With a bar already set so low by their cousins, it’s not hard to imagine that just the fact they’re still alive counts as a fabulous success.

terrace garden

Other not-cold-hardy things filling space on the sand terrace.  With a timed drip irrigation system this at least is one part of the garden not miserable for rain.

I’ll take whatever fabulous successes I can get.  Today it rained, and although the 0.06″ is not the 0.50″ forecast, it should green up the crabgrass a bit and at least give me a day off from watering… assuming I still even water.  This weekend I almost moved from ‘trying to get a few things through’ to ‘maybe save a few perennials and shrubs so they come back next year’.  That’s basically giving up for the year, and with school ramping up again, and construction crawling along, and with money evaporating faster than the rain, it’s never sounded better… until you consider the alternatives.  Being stuck in front of the tv from now until snowdrop season or taking up a trowel and helping tile, or sitting through an entire football game?  I think even a bad day of looking at weeds and wilted plants has its bright spots and I think I can do it for a few more days.  Lycoris season is always full of surprises, and even if the surprise is in how disappointing they can be, the colchicums will be here soon and I can always count on them.

Have a great week, and may your garden get all the rain it needs 😉

A January Thaw

Saturday I put on a sweatshirt and the Christmas lights came down.  Of course the job is ten times easier when a couple extra hands join in, but surprisingly both children had much more important things to do so only the dog was there for me.  He’s not quite as helpful as you might think.  The lights all came down and then the porch got a good hosing off, and once that was done I rewarded myself with a little puttering around.  The front foundation bed (the warmest spot in the garden) got a little cleaning up and the sprouting snowdrops are all ready to show off to best effect.  Too bad we woke to actual snow the next morning.

frozen snowdrops

Snowdrops up to their ankles in the white stuff again.  Most are still just fine, although here and there is some singed foliage and freeze dried scapes.

You could barely call our last warmup a January thaw.  First of all it’s February and second of all we barely melted the snow from the last storms and there’s still a good amount of ice in every shady bed and covering most of the lawn.  I’m an optimistic early cleaner, but even I left plenty since I know the cold still has another week or so in it.  Back inside to the winter garden.  I’ve been taking cuttings and repotting amaryllis.  Primrose are showing buds.  It’s everything the outside garden isn’t.

variegated pelargonium

Look at the cool foliage of this variegated pelargonium.  No idea on the name, but I’ll be interested to see how much of the pink remains once the temperatures warm up.

The winter garden can use the attention since once things warm up outside I can barely be bothered with watering anything indoors.  The amaryllis will be cool and a few are already showing buds, but overall the indoor gardening space is beginning to get tight with all the new pots I’ve been adding.  I was joking with a friend that what I need is a spring garage sale to clear out everything from under the garage lights, but then what would I do if I needed a few dozen pots of succulent cuttings in June?  Bet they didn’t think of that.

salvia cestrum nocturnum

This red salvia is the perfect color for February.  Cestrum nocturnum (night-blooming jasmine) is the taller plant and I really hope I get some blooms on it this summer.

Two pots of Cestrum nocturnum is probably one more than I need, but night-blooming jasmine is one of my latest favorite plants.  It was one of those things which followed me home from a late autumn garden visit.  “Take this, you’ll want this” was what I was told as branches were lopped off and pushed into my hands.  Of course I dutifully added them to the haul and didn’t think much else of it until the sun began to set as I motored home again through the mountains.  Slowly as the scenery turned to night I began to take notice of a sweet scent filling the car.  Night-blooming jasmine is a real thing and I enjoyed a thoroughly perfumed car ride for the tail end of my trip.  I’m already imagining a hot summer night where the deck is filled with a jasmine fragrance, but of course I shouldn’t count my chickens before they’ve hatched since any number of things can go wrong between now and then.

I don’t care though.  It’s still February and 2022 will be the most perfect and perfumed gardening year this plot of earth has ever imagined or experienced.  Weeds will be non-existent and rainfall will arrive perfectly timed and only at night.  Mosquitos and gnats will lose their taste for (my) blood and I’ll practically live in the garden.  And it won’t be a dirty, sweaty, often bloody life it will be all cold drinks and white shorts.  Absolutely.

And if you believe that you’ll probably also believe I’m not going to mention snowdrops one more time.  The forecast looks to be warming and plans are afoot for a Philly snowdropping trip late next week and I’m all ears for new gardens to visit.  It will be fun I’m sure so until then enjoy your week 🙂