Anticipation

It’s snowing again and the temperature is 12 degrees F, with lower temperatures in the forecast for the upcoming ten days. Sigh! The good part of that is when the temps do drop to zero, at least the garden’s plants will have the protection of a nice blanket of snow. And, we do need the moisture the melting snow will eventually provide. However, all the jobs I’d thought I’d do in February are definitely on hold. Normally we have a few “light jacket” sunny days, and I thought I’d build a wooden tower or two and get them painted, using the scraps left from building the berry boxes last autumn. The plan is to have a tower for cucumbers in the two center beds in the south half of the potager this summer, not only to give them more room to grow, but to add some visual height to the garden where there will be no trellises. (The trellis are on the east-west path for crop rotation purposes this year.) The month is half over, but hopefully the last half will improve, and some tasks can be tackled.

Snowdrops were planted beneath this little sumac. Anticipation is high!

Thwarted, the graph paper plans for the potager have been revised, and revised again as the days of winter stretch further and further. (And as yet more seeds are ordered!) I spend a lot of time, tea in hand, viewing the gardens out the windows, imagining and wondering. Will the winter aconites return? Will the snowdrops ever come up under the little sumac? Will any of the many new daylilies planted last year and the year before bloom this summer? Will the seed orders all arrive? Will the ranunculus bulbs come in time to start them so they’ll be able to grow in cool weather? Will the two expensive hellebores in the Front Island bloom this year? They certainly haven’t grown much since being planted last spring. Will the squirrels eat the new varieties of crocus and “Glory of the Snow?” And will either of those push up through the snow anytime soon? Will any of the perennials added to the Addition Garden last spring and summer bloom this year? Will the roses bush out and provide more flowers? Will the sweet pea seeds arrive so I can get them started this month? Oh, yes, there’s lots of anticipation going on here…

Will we have garden club meetings again? Will we sponsor a plant sale? No need to grow an extra few hundred plants if we are not having a sale. Will any of the outdoor garden shows happen this year, or any of the garden tours? Will we be able to invite friends for dinner? Will any of the children or grandchildren be able to visit?

I totally realize that these questions are trivial compared to those many are asking…”Where will money for food and rent come from?” “Did that person coughing next to me carry the virus?” “Is my business going to survive this mess?” “Is my job going to be here next month?” “Will I ever see my children again?” “Will my heart mend from all the friends and family I’ve lost?” and on and on. There’s little I can do but pray and help out where I’m able.

The first forced hyacinths…wish you could enjoy their fragrance!

Meanwhile, a little bit of anticipation has been fulfilled. The first pot of hyacinths are coming into bloom providing a bit of cheer against the snowy background. Hurrah! These are “Gypsy Queen,” a soft peachy-salmon color. Interestingly, all six bulbs were treated exactly the same, the pot was rotated daily a quarter turn, but one is fully opened, two are just showing color, two are still forming buds, and one has refused to do anything at all. It still feels firm, but while the others have all sent clusters of roots to the bottom of the pot, this little fellow has only one tiny 1/2″ root at this point. We’ve had so little sunshine during their growth period that the first one is a bit less compact than it would have been normally, but even a bit stretched it is still lovely and the fragrance is wonderful. There are enough bulbs in the refrigerator for one more pot, which will be planted today. Now, I’m wishing there were more, and will put some blue ones on the bulb list for next winter’s cheer.

What are you anticipating most? And what are you doing to get through this long winter?

About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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26 Responses to Anticipation

  1. I like your stream-of-consciousness writing and the many questions we gardeners ask ourselves, there’s always doubt and yes anticipation. When some of the things we anticipate happen, it’s always a wonderful feeling. I sowed more sweet peas indoors yesterday, so am anticipating blooming, fragrant summer obelisks of them…

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  2. Liz Evers says:

    The weather in Ireland doesn’t hit the same extremes of cold and heat as on your side of the water, but we’ve had our own plunge below 0C over the last two weeks, and I fear the tomato and onion seeds I planted have missed their germination window because of it (our little sunroom is a cold place right now). Started building raised beds, then the snow came. That’s gone now but here’s the rain! Waiting for my new polytunnel, but with every turn the weather takes, the longer the waiting time! So here I sit, waiting for the weather to turn, waiting for seeds to show signs of life… excitement building!

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    • carolee says:

      I’ve always heard about the moist, cool weather of Ireland…yet every time we’ve been there it’s been lovely, sunny and charming! I’ve put my Irish wool shawl to good use many more times here than there. Hope your new poly tunnel is all you wish for. I miss mine…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I do so sympathise with how you feel. We’ve just had a bad spell of weather. It was far more damaging than the snow. Freezing wind and sub zero temperature. My poor little plants have suffered. Dreaming of Spring. But we’re lucky here. The weather is rarely extreme and today is like Spring. I hope your snowdrops give you joy very soon and the hyacinths give you lots of pleasure.

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  4. carolee says:

    It seems as if nearly everywhere on the globe has been having “bad” weather of some sort or another. “Down Under” reports very dry again and they fear fires recurring. It’s currently snowing again here, and many places have had flooding, or extreme cold. We may all have to adapt to freaky weather. Enjoy your spring weather…the rest of us are envious!

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  5. Exactly how my place looks today after all-weekend snow falls. Lovely to look at from my study window — or the library glass doors or even the tiny laundry room window.

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  6. We’re in the midst of a similar cold-snap here in Wisconsin. Other than venturing out to fill the bird-feeders, I haven’t done much outdoors. There is a prediction of above-freezing temps by next weekend. My plan is to venture out to my backyard and trim back some of my non-flowering bushes. They’re getting so tall that they’re laying on one another, so I’m hoping to take them back a few feet in height and trim out any dead wood. I have NO idea what I’m doing, but it seems to be the right thing to do.
    In the meanwhile, I’m bringing in all of my garden tools and will give them a good cleaning, disinfecting and, where appropriate, lubricate them in readiness for spring. Your post has also prompted me to add a note to my garden planner for next fall: “Buy hyacinth bulbs for forcing. See Carolee’s posts.”

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  7. You are on the right path with your ideas. However, wait until the snow melts first and try not to get too carried away as I tend to do! I usually clean and disinfect my tools in the fall, before storing them inside the tool shed. Hubby says to use mineral oil for lubricating and protecting from rust. Last year we were out of mineral oil, so I used my Orange Glo furniture oil. πŸ˜‰ Well, it worked.

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  8. I am holding off sowing anything until the days lengthen a bit more or everything will be tall and lanky before it can be planted out. I have most of my seeds now and the apple pips, plum and peach stones I saved from fruit I bought are vernalising in the fridge. This week I am pruning the fruit trees and then next week hope to be laying a short length of hedge. Then at the end of the month I will switch the heated bench on and the fun can begin! Meanwhile crocus are out and daffodils are showing colour plus the birds are singing again.

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    • carolee says:

      Can’t wait to see crocus, but the 14″ of snow will have to melt first! Of course, since it was minus 13 F yesterday morn, that won’t happen soon…

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is very cold! Your growing season is so much shorter than mine. Your basement with its heat and lights must be essential to grow as much as you do.

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      • carolee says:

        It is essential if I want to do succession cropping. Many people here still just plant everything around Mother’s Day (mid-May) and when it’s done, it’s done!

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      • I suppose it all depends on how much you enjoy gardening and how much you want to grow. You are very generous with plants and produce as well as aiming for a high degree of self sufficiency in veg and flowers but it is a lot of work. As you enjoy it that is fine but if for someone who is less keen it wouldn’t make sense. I just feel grateful that I live where it is a little easier!

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      • carolee says:

        Absolutely! But, the old saying “If you are doing what you love, it isn’t really work” applies to gardening just as it applies to any other occupation. There’s nothing else I’d rather do (other than visit my children!!!) but if I didn’t enjoy every minute, I’m sure I wouldn’t accomplish nearly as much.

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  9. Hi Carolee … I’m writing this on Feb 22 … is it still snowing and cold there? Hope it’s getting better. I love your blog posts and hope there will be another soon. i used to live in the midwest and miss the snow… would love to see a virtual tour of snowy landscapes of your region if you are looking for blog ideas right now! I’m in CA and often miss having a true winter like I used to when young.

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    • carolee says:

      Oh my…unless you like seeing flat, snow-covered fields there’s not much other “snowy landscape” in view from my home. We are having some sunshine and above-freezing temps today for the first time since January 21st, which was a one-day event with frigid temps before that. We still have a lot of winter to experience, unless global warming is going to kick in soon. I watched the Pebble Beach AT& T golf tournament intently, not for the golf as much as for the landscape. We used to go to that event annually for over 20 years, and I studied every garden, every planting at all three courses! Walked miles and miles and enjoyed every second!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. JOY journal says:

    πŸ™‚ I’m hoping my lavender will make it. I’ve lost two rounds to winter in the last few years, but I really love it. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      In my experience (and I grew over 7,000 plants of 75 varieties) it is not the cold that generally kills lavender (as long as hardy types such as “angustifolia” and “Intermedia” are planted) but the WET. Lavender must have excellent drainage so the roots remain dry over long periods. In our clay soil, I accomplished this by planting on an east facing gentle slope, and put in over $3,000 worth of marble to egg sized rocks, tilled into the top 12-15″. Then, a layer of crushed limestone was added on top to make walking easier (it was U-Pick). We often go down to minus 20 degrees F, and I rarely lost plants then. It was when we had an exceptionally wet winter, and in the rows at the bottom of the slope that I’d occasionally lose a plant or two.

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