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.
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.
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?