Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Winter Yawn

Well, we got those winter holidays out of the way, didn’t we?  Now I’m ready to get down to the business of spring.  If only time and the weather would cooperate. 

Truth be told, the weather has more or less obliged my desire for some outdoor activity.  It’s been unseasonably warm and shockingly dry here during months that are typically cold and wet.  Except in the crisp, blue-sky mornings . . . man, it’s been cold in the mornings.  Like actually below freezing cold and not just wimpy Californian cold. 

Lamb's Ear - You have no idea how much restraint it has taken to not prune the dead leaves.

Which leads me to a minor confession:  I have taken a perverse pleasure in surveying the frosty carnage in my garden.  Let me be clear, I don’t want any of my plants to die but checking on their health is the closest thing I can get to actual gardening these days unless you count turning the compost pile and sowing cool season vegetable seeds.  Sure, sowing seeds is, by definition "gardening", but it doesn’t feel like it.  It feels like poking something in the ground and then waiting for two weeks before anything happens.

This is a picture of Flat of Italy onions.  Only you can't see them because it's just potting soil and seeds right now.  Doesn't look like gardening, does it?

In spite of the warm and dry weather there isn’t much to do but dream, and yawn, and wait.  Every gardener not living in San Diego knows this and deals with it in their own way.  We either read gardening books, try to find a gardening show to watch on TV (good luck with that), plan the destruction and rebirth of another section of yard, or order way too many tulip bulbs and seeds.  I am guilty of all these things. 

The waiting is, in fact, the hardest part.  It feels like a burden.  It feels like a punishment for loving something forbidden.  It feels like a long-distance relationship before there was e-mail, Skype, and Facebook.  But I am trying to make the best of it.  I’m telling myself that these times are necessary.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder so perhaps winter makes the garden grow better?  (I’ll let you know if I ever start to actually believe that.)         

This Lady Fern was a beautiful green until about two nights ago.

As I write this, dark clouds haunt our skies.  Rain is finally coming.  Proof that nothing lasts forever.  Not even winter. 

Daffodils have emerged.  I hope they know what they're doing.


  1. Our daffodils are still hiding. Too many recent mornings below 25 degrees! I know the garden will be grateful for rain, but I'm grateful because that should mean it will warm up a little. I didn't move here to be cold! Your lambs ears look a bit like my culinary sage at the moment. Fortunately though, our native ferns, so far, seem to be holding up. I hope your Lady Fern bounces back.

  2. It seems the weather has been playing tricks across the country. For as many days we have has with spring-like weather, the only early arrivals seem to be the weeds. The snows have been keeping back bursting bulbs luckily, but the weeds are tough characters. Your daffs look like they may be soon to open.

  3. This is a difficult time of year for the gardener. We've kind of forgotten all the work of last year and have such visions for spring. Good luck with not cutting back the lambsear.

  4. So true! It's so hard to just wait. I know the plants are still growing roots underneath, and they're busy even if we don't see it, but we gardeners want to see blooms! I'm so grateful I grow camellias!

  5. I'm chomping at the bit to get chopping on my plants, but I know I need to wait because freeze surely will come and I don't want to prune too early and spur new growth. So I've been building a potting bench and square foot garden frames and will be doing some painting and staining -- trying to stay busy and accomplish something in this absolutely gorgeous weather we've been having. It could be could be 20 degrees and sleeting and I'd have to stay inside and do paperwork or clean out a closet or something. Ugh!

  6. I too am very ready for Spring. I'm from Cali and am a whimp when it comes to winter. I just got back from a week vacation in Florida. It's 74 degrees over there right now. It was great.

    Just a few more weeks to go and we will be able to garden our little hearts out. :)