Saturday, January 6, 2018

TAKING THE ROUGH WITH THE SMOOTH

As a gardener one thing you learn very quickly is that that no two gardening years are the same.

We have returned from our winter travels, albeit a short one of only 14 days, to some pretty sad scenes in the garden. Of course, I have seen it all before whether it be spring, summer or winter. Probably the most devastating was a terrible hail storm at the height of the spring flowering. Much was lost, some of it taking more than two years to be realized. When I left the garden, many times for 6 weeks in summer, exuberant growth is what met me on my return, as well as weeds, an unwelcome rattlesnake who had taken up residence in my absence, and on one occasion a pair of foxes.
What you don't expect is to have trouble leaving the garden in the winter. We always turn off the water when we leave and move the less hardy plants into the garage, greenhouse, potting shed and even the house. But this year the cold was prolonged and deep and some of my hardiest plants have succumbed. The soap aloes, which I had divided giving them each their own space in which to grow, instead of on top of one another, are soft mush. Will those long cold days and nights be the end of my Philippine violets? Even my ghost plant did not find refuge among the rocks in the sunken garden.


And yet!!! This photograph was taken on January 6th 2017 as we returned from a New Year visit to Connecticut. That was my concrete fish fountain underneath all that ice, the fountain still trickling.It crumbled apart after it thawed out.


Really not much different from this year when I used a sledge hammer to break the 2" thick ice.

 I almost couldn't wait for the New Year to begin so I could make plans for the 2018 garden year. What visions went through my head while among all that tropical foliage and balmy Caribbean air. What a shocker to hear gardening friends lamenting the strong cold front that stuck around night and day for 3 days. Of all years too, when my garden will be on a tour. But, the gardener presses on undaunted. Today the sun is shining and I am thinking about starting some seeds. I have moved all the orchids out of the laundry room to make way for seed starting. I have ordered a couple of plants and a grow light system. I walked around the garden and saw the bluebonnets are strong and healthy, the love-in-a-mist, California poppies, larkspur, rose campion and Barbara's buttons have shrugged off winter's cold. Bulbs are beginning to peep through the soil. Even the scarlet flax survived. In the days to come I will begin a tidy up of all the dead annual zinnias as I start new ones indoors.

I'm feeling better already.

6 comments:

  1. You are undaunted! I hope your weather continues to improve. Here, we're awaiting the latest promise of rain, asking whether this one will at last be realized. I've been planting seeds in anticipation.

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    1. Aren't all gardeners? I hope your rain comes soon. Remembering this same time last year when we experienced the worst California rain we had ever seen. And yet those burnt hillsides will not fare well under heavy rain.

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  2. Welcome home, both of you!

    So sorry to hear of your freeze losses, but I have no doubt that long before tour-time your garden will once again be as bountiful & exuberant as ever, and no one but you will ever be able to detect any "deficiencies"! And, should you need more soap aloes it looks like mine survived reasonably unscathed - you are welcome to replenish with all you might need, my own tour days now being safely behind me! :)

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    1. Thanks Linda. I am always excited to be home but to be honest it has fallen flat this year as both of us are quite sick. I don't do sitting around well! And yes, I ams are you are glad that you don't have to fret about a tour this year. Your garden was at its absolute best last fall.

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  3. Dear Mrs Rock Rose,
    I have been following you blogs. I would love to see you garden in person. When is your garden going to be on tour and how do I find out about it? Thank you.

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    1. This year's tour is restricted o garden bloggers who are attending the Garden Bloggers Fling. If you live somewhere close to Austin you would be most welcome to visit. Just send me a message via the contact me page.

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