End of the Month Review-January

“In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”  Albert Camus

I think if I were to ever have an epitaph this would be it.  It is one of the most profound quotes and one of my favorites.  It stirs the embers within and brings me to life again because I know the bulbs will soon bloom and the ground will warm.   The soft breezes will blow through the buds on the trees.  The picture above is last year at this time.  We were certainly in the depths of a long, cold, very snowy winter.  Fast forward to this year….


The back yard has gone through a thaw.  We had 2 feet of snow that suddenly turned to water and promptly flooded the yard much like many a spring thaw.  Then it froze and refused to be absorbed into the ground.  Now I have a skating rink in my back yard that is slow to release.  Definitely need to enlarge that rain garden (bottom left picture in corner of garden).  We do not depend on snow cover for replenishing our water table.  Here in central NY we already are above average in precipitation with over 5 inches of rain, and only 30 inches of snow officially in my area.  We actually don’t need much more snow or rain for a while.

But despite the frozen water covering the ground, there is early life stirring in my January garden which is a bit alarming to me.


I have never seen a snowdrop in bloom this early here in my now zone 5b garden.  We have been moved from a zone 5a to a 5b.  And with the snowdrops are crocus, hyacinth and dwarf Dutch iris getting ready to burst forth and bloom.  What do I make of this?  I really don’t know.  Will we have more snow?  Absolutely, but how much.  The blue heron I saw recently with all the geese was absurd and these early blooms just add to it.  What do I hope as Groundhog’s Day is upon us?  I wish for an early warm spring so I can actually see these bulbs bloom, and can start spring clean up during February break, the week of February 20th.


The Great Seed and Herb Experiment


Check out the herbs I have growing indoors.  The annuals, Italian Parsley and rosemary, are still doing OK.  Not as brilliant as they were this summer but not bad.  The perennial herbs are starting to put out flowers.  The chive flowers are ready to burst and the mints will follow soon.



And here are the greens…lettuces, arugula, and spinach.



These are more lettuces I started with purslane (slow to get going on the right).  In the background is watercress coming along nicely, and easy to grow.



Then there are the latest seeds I planted already growing; cilantro, basil, rosemary and Italian parsley.  It has been fun so far growing these herbs.  I can’t wait to start the annual flowers, snapdragon, pansy and viola, soon.  I have been adding more and more seed to my collection.  Before long I will be starting the later flowers, veggies and native plants from seed.  And then there will be outdoor sowing in the 3 veg beds.  I read that my friend, Gardening Jones, had made some seed tape so I of course got the brilliant idea to make some of my own.  I googled seed tape and found a few articles for instructions.  That will be a later post once I get into making the tape for the carrots, lettuces, and radishes in March.

I am joining Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog for her End of Month Review.  I am a bit early for Christine and Barbie@The Gardening Blog for their Garden Bloggers Harvest Day on the 5th.   There is a new meme over at Bumble Lush called Best and Worst.  I am joining in.  The worst right now is this crazy winter weather.  The best is my indoor garden that will soon be harvested for wonderful salads.

Just a quick note of thanks to Sheila@Green Place for nominating me for The Versatile Blogger award.


And Now a Few Thoughts….

Over the last week there has been a firestorm of impassioned folks discussing the now defunct partnership between Scotts Miracle-Gro and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).  There have been many articles posted, and many angry NWF members on both sides of the issue who have been Tweeting and commenting on NWF and Scotts Facebook pages and websites.

And through all the discussions many people have asked what they can do now.  I believe the best thing to do is to educate yourself.  First and foremost I am an educator, and believe that education is the most important action you can take.  I am choosing to educate myself and others about sustainable landscapes, native plants,habitats and how to garden chemical free.

Along with the NWF, there are many organizations you can become involved with and learn from regarding habitat gardening.

-National Audubon Society’s Audubon At Home program can help you to learn what to do to make your yard and garden healthy for you, your family and wildlife.  It is all about education and there is no money required to be involved.  Of course it is nice to make a donation to the Audubon Society if you wish.

-Monarch Watch’s Monarch Waystation Program has made it their mission to create, conserve and protect monarch habitats.  There is an application fee, and once you have completed the certification they will send you a sign to display in your garden.

Wild Ones Native Plants, Natural Landscapes is a national organization that has 51 Chapters in 11 states.  I am lucky enough to have an incredible chapter right here in Central NY, Habitat Gardening in Central New York.  They are active and bring in many speakers.  I am a new member and plan to become involved in their many programs and utilize their educational materials.

-The Meadow Project is a fantastic book to educate yourself how to recapture urban and suburban land for natural landscapes.  Catherine

Zimmerman, the author, is also working on an educational film to go with the book and is looking for your help.  “The Meadow Project is on a mission to finish the companion film to Urban an Suburban Meadows by Earth Day. Please visit Kickstarter for details on how you can help!

cattails at the pond

Whatever you do, I strongly encourage you to learn and get involved.  I challenge you to learn more about how your gardening impacts the earth and your environment.  To know before you spray or plant.  To be a positive force and voice for our habitat.  I would love to hear from you about other wonderful organizations in your area that have encouraged you with habitat gardening or the like.  I leave you with these inspiring words from an incredible woman….


“Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system. We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own – indeed to embrace the whole of creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder. Recognizing that sustainable development, democracy and peace are indivisible is an idea whose time has come.” ~Wangari Maathai; Founder Of The Green Belt Movement; First African Woman To Receive The Nobel Peace Prize.


Next Up on the Blog:   My latest post for Beautiful Wildlife Garden is up, and I hope you join me as I talk about some of our feathered friends.  Monday we will be taking a break from the Exploring Color posts.  It will be the first Monday in February which means another Gardens Eye Verse, and some new poetry inspired by the garden.  Next Friday I will also have my February pick for my signature flower for Diana@Elephants Eye meme, and what I call Simply The Best.

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