Saturday, February 24, 2018

February is for Transitions

While it might not be the official end of winter, February can be very transitional here in central Ohio. On any given day, it might be winter or it might be spring, and it will definitely flip back and forth. This February was transitioned quickly from winter into spring. I'm sure it will get cold again, and I'm sure we'll see snow. Snow and cold is how the month started.

I even went for a winter walk, which isn't my usual practice. I hate being cold, even though I do think the snow can be very pretty. This time I was inspired to go see the winter beauty at my favorite park, Chestnut Ridge.

It's at this point that I usually begin to anticipate spring so strongly that I buy more kitchen flowers. Daffodils are abundant at stores this time of year, so I buy plenty. And tiny little pots of roses are fun to see on the windowsill.

But the weather quickly turned from these wintery views, and spring began to creep in. The first clue is always when the sedum Angelina starts to show it's bold colors. This is the main reason that I grow it, to offset the bland colors of winter. Soon, I spotted bulb foliage peeking through its colors.

Here it is the end of February, and my patience with a harsh winter has been rewarded with an early spring. I'm not foolish enough to think it will last, but I'm loving it while it lasts. Already I have hellebores, crocus, and iris. Soon there will be daffodils, hyacinths, muscari, squill, and tulips. I can hardly wait.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Winter "Gardening"

I live in Ohio, so there really isn't any winter gardening to do. That's why I put quotes around the word gardening. But there are ways to cope so that we garden lovers don't lose heart during the long, cold winter. I suppose I might get outside to clean up debris if the weather breaks briefly. However, it doesn't happen very often, so it's best not to count on this strategy. It's best that I have a back up plan that allows me to enjoy hints of gardening till I can actually do so. I usually start with a trip to the floral department of my favorite store. As long as there are fresh flowers around the house, I don't have to miss the ones from my garden so much. Houseplants can also be a good substitute. Even fake flowers like these pom poms can do the trick! If they make me smile, that's all that required.

However, sometimes it just has to snow here in winter. My inclination is usually to hunker down inside and avoid the cold at all costs. But I'm trying to convince myself to enjoy the beauty of the snow instead. It isn't always easy, but I usually try. I have to admit, a fresh blanket of snow is a beautiful sight. You see here a few shots of some lovely snowy sights. However, I have to say that all these photos were taken within a few feet of my front door. My admiration of fresh snow does not extend to cold, wet feet! It seems that I still have some ways to go in my appreciation of winter.

One of my other favorite winter pastimes is to pick out the seeds that I'll use come spring. The catalogs begin to arrive in December, when I'm busy with holiday preparations. I set aside these glossy books full of flower "candy" to be enjoyed in the middle of a cold winter's day. Only then I do I lay them all out in front of me and begin to study the possibilities. After folding down the corners of  the pages that interest me, I begin to haunt the local seed displays. Once I purchase what I can in the stores, only then do I complete my catalog order. These treasured seed packets hold all the vegetables
 and flowers that my garden will hold for the season. What a concept!

But my favorite way to get through the winter season is one I've preached about many times here on my blog. When it seems that winter will never end, I visit Franklin Park Conservatory, where summer always holds sway. At this time of year, they have orchids on display. This year the display is called Orchid Utopia. There are so many different types of orchids that I don't bother trying to learn their names. I just wander around admiring them, stopping to take countless photos. In this way I can temporarily pretend that winter doesn't exist.

I'm sure that some gardeners actually enjoy winter, and more power to them if they do. Me, I need all the coping mechanisms that I can. And if I keep busy with all of these winter "gardening" activities before I know winter really will be gone. That's when the real gardening begins.

Friday, December 29, 2017

December Sights

It's bitter cold here in Robin's Nest, as is much of the rest of the country. Nothing much is happening out in the garden right now, trust me. But I did capture a few of the last fall highlights out there. These same sights are almost a month gone now.

But that doesn't mean December is drab and boring. Instead of garden flowers, we have holiday decorations to enjoy. I don't actually decorate the outdoors for Christmas especially. Instead I put up winter decorations that will stay up till spring. It's nothing elaborate, just some winter greens in the planters.

Nothing fancy is also the theme for my indoors decorations. Normally we aren't even home for Christmas, so we keep it light and easy. Sometimes we don't even put up a tree, but this year we added a small, real tree.

To fulfill my desire for fancy decorations, I go to public spaces to see them. I let them do all the work, and I do all the enjoying. I checked out a shopping center...

the Franklin Park Conservatory...

and even my church!

Who needs fancy decorations at home when you can just enjoy them elsewhere? Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season, whether home or away!