Sunday, March 19, 2017

Winter or Spring?

Many jokes circulate about weather patterns that change so quickly as to make our heads spin, However, I read recently that here in Ohio we have a genuine cause for this phenomenon. It seems that we're often found at the bottom edge of northern weather patterns or at the top of southern weather patterns. That explains a lot! But this year, it has been even more variable. I think we've covered all four seasons within a week's time several times over.

But over all, this winter has been milder than usual, even if it does keep trying to come back to haunt us. When ever the weather warms for a few days, I have to run out to see what's in bloom. Invariably, those same blooms will quickly droop when the temps drop rapidly soon thereafter.

It's only mid March, so I suppose that the roller coaster weather patterns will continue for some time yet. That's okay. I don't expect much from March garden-wise. It could all get buried in snow again soon. Or we could get a warm spell, and every blooming tree will pop. You just never know in central Ohio in March. That's why I tend to pamper a few indoor blooms this time of year.

I did go ahead and purchase most of the seeds I'll need for the garden. Cool season veggie crops can go in soon, actually. And we grow lots of those, including carrots, radishes, lettuce, spinach, kohlrabi, and sugar snap peas. Of course I ordered my flower seeds too. I also picked up various summer tubers for planting when the weather gets truly warm. Meanwhile, these simple early spring bulbs will keep me happy.

Is it winter or is it spring? Who knows? I guess we'll all just have to hang on for the ride. All I know is it's slowing greening up, and that's progress. Don't be too dazzled by the flowers you see here. Most are small and barely noticeable to anyone but me. I suppose you can see the daffodils from the road. But only when they aren't being weighed down by snow.

Maybe someday the weather will make up its mind?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Gray Day Shot Through With Color

Every year about this time, I like to go visit the Franklin Park Conservatory. I'm a member, but I don't go as often as I should. But I definitely like to go in the late winter, when the world has been bereft of color for a good long time. Today was rainy too, making it extra gray, perfect for a visit.

I knew there would be orchids. There are always orchids there in the winter, and I wasn't disappointed. I especially liked this living wall found the minute you walk in the door. These upside down containers were also really interesting.

I tried growing orchids a couple times, but gave up when they stopped reblooming. But when I see these large displays of orchids, it makes me want to try again.

But finding butterflies was a lovely surprise. The Blooms and Butterflies display usually starts in March, after the orchids are gone. For some reason, I found both on display at once. Wonderful!

Anyone who has read my blog before knows that I'm fascinated by butterflies. There's just something about their fluttering flight that relaxes me. It just plain makes me happy to see them. I walked into the room, spotted them flying around, and immediately began to smile.

I did also visit the desert garden, and I found these mallards out in the courtyard. It was all lovely.

But nothing made me happier than seeing butterflies in February!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Quiet Days of Winter

Nothing exciting going on here in Robin's Nest this winter. But that doesn't stop me from dreaming about the garden. Sometimes, I stop and picture how the flowers looked last summer, and then I just smile.  It makes it a little easier to deal with the dull, drab days. I can even see those same flowers, gathered in vases around the house. You see, I always make sure to dry some of my favorite hydrangeas just for this purpose.

Winter is a good time to grow a few blooms in the house, wouldn't you agree? Apple Blossom amaryllis put on a good show for me in early January.

After it faded, I added a few grocery store primroses to the window ledge garden. When spring comes, I'll plant them outside.

We only had a little bit of snow this year, and even then, it melted quickly. I'm always glad for that. 

After the snow, we had a long stretch of unseasonable warmth. I'm not a big fan of winter, but it stayed warm so long that I was afraid that the plants would break dormancy. One of the grocery store primroses from years past was confused enough to put out a little bloom. Many of my bulbs also peeked out during that same stretch.

Eventually, it turned back to winter temperatures. But the gloom is deep. We haven't seen the sun in quite some time. I've been busy crafting this winter, mostly crochet projects. I've been churning out afghans, for no particular reason other than I find them soothing to work on. It's also a good time to cook up pots of soup, and settle in with a good book. I did keep one small geranium at the end of the summer, and its small flowers remind me that winter won't last forever. I always try to remember that a time of rest is a good thing too.

Quiet days aren't so bad. It's nice to settle down, take a deep breath, and just relax. Garden days will be back before you know it!