The first month of 2021 was not very memorable, nor filled with the optimism of past January’s. Like December, is was mostly gray and drab outdoors, so I left the Christmas tree up and the nutcrackers out the entire month to brighten the house, only putting them away on January 31st so we wouldn’t be susceptible to the bad luck associated with leaving any Christmas decor in a home by February 1st. Weather-wise it was slightly warmer than normal, but with much, much lower than average snow-fall which is worrying. The first 13 days were gray, then one day of sunshine and two partly sunny days, then another stretch of gray. In total, we had 7 sunny days, but at least each day was getting a bit longer as the month progressed.
Happily, the amaryllis have continued to supply continual blooms indoors. A bulb has been planted every two weeks. Five were purchased new last fall with the tulip order, but most have been saved over the years, with the babies being separated and grown on to become adults. As you can see from the photo, the final day of January brought our largest snowfall for the winter, about 4″. Since I have no desire to go trudging out through the snow, and since nothing has really changed in the potager since last month, that’s the “official” photo for January!
To combat lethargy in January, some jugs were winter seeded with perennials that need cold stratification. Indoors, seeds were also planted in flats, partly to see if old seeds were still viable and partly just because I decided I was ready to make the commitment to their care! And, I realized that the lisianthus HAD to be planted if I wanted blooms this year.
It’s a good thing the lisianthus was seeded, because the photo above was just taken! Wow! These things are S-L-O-W!!! They germinated finally on 1/23 and were moved from the heat mat to the light stand. Eight days later they are still barely visible. They’d better be outstanding, or they’ll be cut from the list next year.
The second flat is (l to r) some really, really old dahlia seeds, which are apparently no longer viable; a perennial centurea for the Cutting Garden “The Bride”; Anchusa “Blue Angel” a perennial for the Addition Garden; Snapdragon “Snaptini Sunglow” for early containers; portulaca, a double yellow with orange edges that volunteered in a deck container last summer, so I saved the seed…and obviously sowed the “dust” way too thickly!!; cipollini “Bianca”, again old seed and it’s not germinating well, but that’s good to know now so I can start again with fresh seed; and lastly, Coleus “Wizard Gold”, which I loved last year and will add to the shady side of the Front Island to brighten that area, and under the elder, and in various containers for its beautiful golden foliage.
A third flat was seeded 1/28, but no photo taken, because nothing has germinated. It contains: Celery “Tango”, Verbena tenus. “Desert Jewels” (started earlier than last year because it’s slow, but worth the trouble) Snapdragon “Liberty Bronze,” my favorite for the potager’s interior and exterior borders; Scallion “Italian Red” for early salads and grilling; Salvia “Blue Bedder,” a favorite in the borders, also as a cut flower (and it dries pretty well) which often returns if we have a mild winter, but I always seed some in case not enough return; and Snapdragon “Madame Butterfly Bronze” for the Cutting Garden. That’s a total of 26 varieties seeded, but of course there are a few no-shows, as expected when using old seed. Those empty areas in the flats will be re-seeded soon.
Harvest expectations are not large in January, but any little bit is appreciated. This month only 1.25 lbs. were harvest, just enough for a salad to share with friends (although of course, it was simply dropped off. We ate it “together” on Zoom!) but it included kale, spinach, lettuce and parsley gathered from the potager as well as some ingredients from the garage (turnips, carrots, onion) and some dried cranberries and cheese with a maple syrup vinaigrette. Interestingly, it’s the same harvest weight as last year, which was totally spinach, so having a larger variety is an improvement. Carrots and leeks could have been harvested, but since there’s still a large bag of carrots in the fridge and two buckets of leeks in the garage, they will be saved till later.
So, that’s the review of January 2021. Not bad overall, and a bit of relief felt when D and my mother were able to get Covid vaccinations. Each day brings Spring a bit closer. My hope for an outdoor bloom in January was blanketed by snow, but possibly it may happen in February, which would also be a first!
Blessings on each of you. May February bring good things, sunshine, and happy thoughts!