Wednesday, January 8, 2014

"What's blooming in your garden?" my friend from the frozen east asked me, a note of despair in her voice.  

"I'm afraid I'll find out in the spring that my entire garden is dead - deep freeze frozen.  And I'm stuck in the house for days - the garden is under a mountain of snow."

I forget that most of the country doesn't have paper whites for Halloween, hellebores for Christmas, roses by May Day.  So I took my tea and my camera and went out.  

There were hellebores, from dark pink... fresh green and white.  
If they would only hold their heads up they'd be the perfect flower. 

I paid a fortune a few years ago for an almost black hellebore. While it would give me bragging rights (if I cared), as a flower it's a bust.  Not very vigorous, the flowers are so dark you can't see them in the garden.  Or in the house.  Unless you have your nose in them.  And a flashlight. They hang down in the garden, they disappear in the dark of the house. But Sloat Nursery has some fabulous double hellebores in all shades of white and pink, and one  white one that holds its head up...I may need to go shopping.

I finally found the right quince - the one I wrote about in Postcards From The Hedge.  the one from my childhood.
The bush is still tiny, and of course the flowers are all on the bottoms of the branches.  I don't want to cut even one piece.  I'm going to feed it like crazy this year and hope I can cut a few twigs next year.  And a whole big bouquet sometime in my lifetime.

Pansies spill over pots planted with daffodils planted cheek-by-jowl (but not yet not yet awake).
When the daffodils bloom they will come up thru the pansies, it's a party in a pot.  And when I put them in the garden the pansies will warn me not to dig there.  No more smashed bulbs.  

Paperwhites have been blooming since before Halloween.  I love the smell; my mom thinks they smell awful.  My sister tells me it's genetic.  Apparently my mom is more evolved.  No surprise there.
Under the orange tree are the true violets, their flowers nestled beneath the leaves.  
You have to hunt for them, but they're worth it.  Bring some in and they will perfume a room.  And speaking of perfume...
...the daphne is about to pop.  A sprig of this deserves a place on your bedside table.  I love waking up to its sweet lemony smell.  It reminds me winter will be over someday.  Hopefully not until we've had some rain.  

Summer snowflakes bobble on thin stalks.  Obviously someone is confused about the season - it's not summer - but I am happy to have their cheery green-tipped flowers.  And happy they are seeding about the garden.  Not dead-heading has its advantages.  I wouldn't try it with roses, but it's a huge success with Leucojum.  And hellebores.  I have a forest of seedlings.  Bring your trowel.
And of course there are daffodils.  Hooray for the daffodils!
I went back later with pruning shears and made little bouquets all over the house.  In the bathroom.  Beside my bed.  Next to the kitchen sink.  By the chair where I read.
Beverly Nichols said the best garden is one where there is something in bloom every month.  He gardened in England and just managed it - iris reticulata was his saving grace in winter.  I garden in California and there is something in bloom every day. I can't take credit for that; we have better weather.  

He was a far better gardener, and a fabulous writer.  If you haven't read him, you're in for a treat.  Especially if you live somewhere that's currently frozen.  If you can get to the bookstore, these are books better held in the hand.  Wonderful line drawings, lovely quotes, beautifully typeset.  But if you have to Kindle them, go ahead.  You can buy the real thing later - and you will want to buy them.  And gift them.  And read them - again and again.

No comments:

Post a Comment