As we wrap up the year, I look out the window at the gray, gloomy stuff known as Winter in Ohio. At the moment, there isn't even a nice coat of white stuff covering up the brown and gray. I try to remember that this is much like the thirsty traveler in the desert who eats salty dry crackers so that when he finally gets water, it will be the most glorious quenching of his thirst. We must go through this famine of sun and warmth so we'll be delirious with spring when it gets here.
To brighten things up right now, though, I want to take a look back on the wonderful year called 2007. What did we learn? What were our joys? What new things did it bring to our gardens?
January was a bit cruel. We started out with warmer than normal temperatures only to be plunged abruptly into a deep freeze. Perennials and other living things don't fare well in such conditions. This is where mulch is invaluable in protecting against fluctuations like this. A good snow cover helps, too. Just a couple of weeks ago, I could be seen shoveling snow onto some plants that got missed during a recent snowstorm. Just tucking them in!
I wintersowed a few things, for the second year, and had similar results as the first year. I'll be doing it again this year, starting in a week or so. The first year I wintersowed, I had my doubts as to whether it would work or not. I had a high enough success rate that I'll likely do a little each year, if only for the reason that I'm fascinated by it and it's a chance to try new plants at a low cost.
February brought the first hint of spring, late in the month. We always have some "teaser" days where the temperature warms enough that you're assured that you're not stuck in winter indefinitely. Warmer temps in February means fog that freezes on cold surfaces to form hoarfrost. It happens in late fall, too, and makes a winter wonderland of everything.
Now March is very much a transition month, being filled with various activities and events that indicate we'll soon be out doing what we've not so patiently waited for all winter long. The first garden shows make their debuts. The amaryllis are still giving us inside color and cheer. The first true harbingers of spring - the red-winged blackbirds - returned for the summer. And we successfully raised two Painted Lady butterflies in our family room!
The highlight of the month was our trip to Florida, where we were warmed by the sun and enchanted by the tropical flora. A visit to Marie Selby Gardens was just what the doctor ordered for our spring fever. Just looking at the photographs taken that day, I can almost conjure up the smells of those orchids and the warmth of the sun on our backs.
We returned home to the first spring bulbs flowering in our gardens.
Next: Looking Back at 2007 (Part II)