One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

Old Winter’s Song

I’m the first one to admit, I’m wishy-washy about the whole Winter Thing.    I know that most of my favorite plants – crocuses, lilies, hyacinths – simply can’t bloom each year without some kind of winter, with its shorter days and cooler temperatures (although you can trick some bulbs with a few weeks in the refrigerator).

Winter is a rest.  I get that and I welcome it.   I enjoy the way Jack Frost paints little feather Valentines on our windows each morning, and I just love the hush that comes over everything when the world is being covered in a fresh blanket of snow.

But damn, it can be inconvenient.  No one was more excited than I was that we had a substantial snowfall for Solstice, but did it have to come so well timed with our evening commute?  I’m not what you’d call a fan of driving in the stuff, even though I think I’m pretty good at driving in it.  I’d just rather not.

Still, if it must be gray dismal and leafless January, then I’m all for a bit of glittery set-dressing, just keep the roads clear.  A nice deep blanket of snow is a nice insulation against the bitter wind chills of the season.  Since the Boxing Day Blizzard brought us none of that white stuff, I was sort of hoping we’d get some this weekend.   I had nowhere to be and my pantry was well-stocked, the timing could’ve been grand.

Winter or not, there’s usually a little bit of spring on the windowsill here or there.   That red flower above is one of the geraniums of summer, leaning hungrily against the window in the front bedroom.

And then there’s this cluster of pink flowers (as seen from below) on an off-spring of my monster begonia.    I think it’s a begonia of some kind, anyway.

This is a sort of Audrey II type plant a friend passed on to me.   She gave me just a little 6″ stem with a couple of roots and that plant now teeters at nearly 4 feet in my living room.  You can see it in the right of the photo below, sort of leaning against the wall.

Neither that plant, nor the parent plant (of my friend) from whence it came, has bloomed before.   But then last year,  I pruned off a piece and discovered that it rooted pretty quickly in water and I potted up that new plant and brought it into my office.   And it promptly started blooming there.  And then so did a second offshoot, even before it was potted up.

And by the way, the second plant in the office is already showing similar signs of monstrousness as its parents.  It’s a little bit funny.

Those big spikey plants in this picture are the dracaenas that are the focal point of my summer planters on the deck and I love how long lived and gigantic they are now that I’m wintering them over.  Those are faux poinsettias tucked in at their base, fyi.   To the left is the Easter cactus, which actually blooms closer to the Fourth of July.

So I was hoping for snow to start the weekend.   We woke to dismal rain.   And then, as you can see above, the sun came shining through.  Some of us were content to bask indoors, in rectangular patches of sunlight framed out by southern windows.

Others of us, however, were happy to take the sunny opportunity to get outdoors for a nice long walk.  There was still a possibility of snow later in the weekend, but for now, it was nearly 40 degrees.  How funny that just a few months ago that same temperature was considered “cold”, but now that we’ve tasted real winter chills ago, 40 seems a tropical treat, especially when the air is still and sun so golden.

In various garden beds, various species of daisy haven’t gotten the memo about taking a rest because it’s winter and they’re sending up sturdy new leaves to start collecting energy for the summer blooms to come.  I suspect others are, too, though I didn’t disturb their winter leaf cover to check.  I did see evidence that one of the snapdragon in an out of the way corner of the yard bloomed recently, possibly during that Solstice storm.

There isn’t much of that snowfall remaining, except in the occasionally dark shady corner, or where snowplows had once piled up mountains.   This stuff in the corner of the courthouse parking lot is still almost four feet high, a solid frozen mass that’s easy to walk over and after that, I hardly saw any snow, although I did see some slushy icy in the brackish ponds and on the flow tide that was filling the marshes along the bike trail.

The light was changing as I was walking and on the way back, I could see a great bunch of clouds which were moving in from the south to cover the sun.    I  thought they were pretty fascinating, but I’d love to hear what you see in them, if you find yourself in a Cloud Interpreting Mood.

An hour or so later, full dusk found clouds piling in over us and looking like snow, even though the thermometer wasn’t being especially cooperative.   As night fell heavily, so did the rain.  But as the night turned to morning, the temperature fell, too and we woke to a pretty winter wonderland, glittering and shiny with just a couple of inches or less of the white stuff.

And so here’s the perfect snowfall, minor enough to need no shoveling or bustling about, and just substantial enough to dress our dreary landscape.   I hear we’ll have another chance to add more snow to this starter coat in a couple of days, as the storm that’s currently deviling the South may be coming our way for a visit.

Meanwhile, I’m content with a snowstorm that just gives us pretty pictures out the window.

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Comments on: "Old Winter’s Song" (7)

  1. I too was delighted to see the snow out of my window this past morning.
    Great pictures! I really enjoy looking at these.
    Glad that I found your site. I have subscribed to your RSS feed and am looking forward to reading more of your posts!

  2. I love seeing the subtle differences of winter from the locations of friends! (Almost any are preferable to the 12 degree, windy AM here, depositing duly disgruntled children at school, and their less than inspired father at the gym this rudely brisk AM!!!! ; >)

  3. The frost on the window is enchanting.

  4. Yes the frost on the window is a fantastic image.
    I’m fascinated by water crystals and what they do.
    Check out these images of snowflakes.
    http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/photos/photos.htm

  5. Lovely, Greg! What a wonderfully rich landscape you have there! I love that you share it with us. We got a lovely batch of snow the other day ourselves. I posted a few pics….taken from indoors, because I was too chicken to go out in the cold. :)

  6. I looked over your entire blog. How wonderful and sweet! Please…keep going! your works will inspire us all.

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  7. Beautiful photos as always! And as I’m commenting on the 12th the both of us are getting slammed with a Noreaster! So enjoy your snow!!!

    Actually, we’ve got a temp of 37 and only rain on this ocean edge of the storm. They say we might finish with a little bit of snow this evening, but this big storm isn’t bringing us a blizzard like you’re getting!

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