All things seem possible in January…Visions of Wordsworthian fields of daffodils for spring and Gertrude-Jekyll-style borders for summer with colors that melt into perfect harmony-these can surely be mine. ~Orene Horton
I am excited every January with the start of a New Year…new beginnings, reflections, plans both in life and my garden. Lots of excitement in anticipation as to what the year will bring. And if I learned anything from last year, it was embrace change as it happens constantly.
One big change for me last year, that was due to health issues, was I could only observe my garden grow….seeing what was working, what was not….with little to no planting or changing the garden. And since I didn’t start the observation until summer really, I still do not have a complete picture of the current state of my garden, but I have a pretty good idea of where changes are needed.
I plan to take a monthly in depth look at each section of my garden, tie it into other posts like Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and Stuck Foot posts to keep a more detailed journal of each garden in each season.
I am very excited to finally planning and making some changes desperately needed in my garden. But I am also realistic that it cannot all happen in one year. So patience is called for yet again. I am willing to wait so I have good plans from which to move forward.
For these monthly look backs, I am joining Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog for her End of Month View. As I use loads of collages for these posts, I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.
During winter, I have a few changes I am making to these journal posts. I am suspending a few garden areas I usually show, pond and meadow, as they are covered in snow now. Instead I thought I would add what’s growing inside as well as a some recipes I am trying using veggies I have grown or plan to grow.
As I look back, December’s weather was like a roller coaster with either winter’s cold days giving us a foot of snow or early spring-like days with cool temps and lots of rain making a flooded sodden mess all around my garden.
Of course we had a seasonal change in December, but ours was a bit backward with winter coming at the beginning of December and spring at the end.
And we had 50 degree temps for Christmas. I am not complaining since it was wonderful to smell spring in my garden in December. And we will have loads more snow I am sure this winter.
This beautiful sky was such a treat as we have seen more gray than color in December. I love to see the Sky Painting.
At the end of the year, Cathy@Words and Herbs with a few other bloggers, did a retrospective of their gardens throughout the seasons. I had decided to look at my garden beds, but a bit differently.
I will choose one area or bed each month to highlight through all four seasons. I am looking at beds that need more changes than a few plants moved. Instead they have multiple or major issues that need to be addressed.
One such bed that has plagued me is the back left corner or what I refer to as, The Bog Garden….at least it is called that because I created the bog. You can’t miss it because it is usually under water 6 months of the year. Here it is after the recent snow and then thaw in later December.
Each season shown below presents its own issues as you will see. On the 21st of this month I will also have a Stuck Foot post about this area that will go into a bit more detail, and explain how I made this Bog Garden unintentionally.
In winter, the Bog Garden usually stays nestled beneath a layer of snow which makes for some pretty winter scenes. In the top left picture you can see deer winding their way through the left corner. This is because of the very wet sinking conditions or sheet of ice under the snow from prior flooding. Even the deer know there is a problem to steer clear of.
Can you see the round planter in the bottom picture? You can see it in bloom at the beginning of the post. This repurposed fountain does not bloom anymore even back in this garden area. So I pulled it out of this garden, and planted it with asparagus for the veg garden.
Early spring brings rain and additional flooding keeping this area a sinking mess (because if you walk back there, you will sink) until about May. In the bottom 2 pictures you can just make out the horseshoe-shaped rain garden we dug out to help with the flooding. It fills quickly and spreads out into the area so it has not really helped take care of the problem.
There are some daffodils back there that like the wet conditions, and they bloom every year, but not much else in early spring.
In late spring, the area fills in quickly with native and non-native plants. There are irises, some ferns, hosta and lots of weeds growing. The rain garden dries out about now too so I can finally do some work in this garden.
Summer brings daylilies if they aren’t buried by rudbeckias, Joe Pye, swamp milkweed. It has become a jungle where a cranberry viburnum, a swamp rose and some hydrangeas are swallowed up. There is even a bald cypress tree or Taxodium distichum needing to be rescued.
Late summer/early fall brings even more color as the Joe Pye bloom with the taller rudbeckias. The critters love this area, and it is where our baby bunny Beatrix was living. Frogs frequent the rain garden and birds nest, raise young, take shelter and feed off seedheads back here. Not to mention the butterflies flock to the Joe Pye. I don’t want to lose some of the critter benefits that we have created in this garden when we make changes.
As fall progresses, the area begins to fade except for the asters that bloom here. And with cooler temps and more rain in fall, the floods return. The picture on the left is looking at this area from the other side of the fence. From above the Bog Garden is always found in the back left corner or to the left of the pergola.
So that is the Bog Garden in all seasons. What do I plan to do? Well I have an idea. And in my Stuck Foot post coming up on the 21st, I will let you in on how the problem started, how I made it worse and how I plan to work with the land to make it better.
This is one of the 4 Hippeastrum bulbs I have growing. I bought this one with the American Meadows gift certificate I won. It is supposed to be pink, called ‘Sweet Star’, and I will be happy to display it in a vase soon as it is growing quickly. The others are just beginning to sprout new growth.
The first picture at the top of this post is of my Christmas cactus or Schlumbergera bridgesii, which bloomed exactly on Christmas this year. This plant was given to me by my MIL at least 20 years ago. She had it for at least 10 if not 20 years herself. It has had a hard time this past year losing more than half the plant, but I am hopeful I can get it to grow again in all its glory.
Through winter, I will continue to give you a glimpse of the silver maple I have been following here this past year in my End of The Month journal posts. Come spring, I will start to follow a new tree.
I am linking in with Lucy@Loose and Leafy’s Tree Following meme that happens around the 7th of every month.
It’s bark is tattered, peeling, full of lichen and full of life, much like me some days.
Some special birds have graced the garden especially with the lack of snow in the second half of December. The male cardinal (center) was having fun eating up all the scraps under the suet feeder. And the red-bellied woodpecker (bottom right) made a reappearance finding lots to eat in our carpenter ant infested white ash tree.
We spotted this immature cooper’s hawk (top left) in our garden and hanging about the meadow. And of course our young fox, Hunter, continues to hunt around the area.
Recipe of the Month
This month I have 2 recipes to share.
The first one is a Warm Green Bean Tomato Salad, we made for Christmas dinner. This came from Donalyn’s blog, The Creekside Cook. I love her recipes. It tastes best after it has marinated for at least a day or more. I know we plan to make this again, and especially during summer when onions, green beans and tomatoes are being harvested in our garden.
The second recipe is, Spicy Sweet Potato Soup With Chicken from the Organic Gardening website. Lots of great recipes there too. We used white sweet potatoes, and it can be adapted to be Vegan without the chicken. I really love the ginger and curry spices, in the soup, for a nice flavor to keep one warm in winter. We don’t grow sweet potatoes, but the carrots and spinach in the recipe we do grow every year. This will be a recipe I will make again.
In A Vase On Monday
It is time for another vase, and what a surprise I had. The forsythia branch I cut around the middle of December, and brought inside, has bloomed.
I wasn’t sure what I could add to the vase, but I found some Common Tansy or Tanacetum vulgare still green in the garden. And I kept the willow branches, I cut with the forsythia, in hopes they might also bloom eventually. Another simple but colorful vase.
I am joining in with a few memes this week as I prepare a couple of vases: Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday; and Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles.
Next up on the blog:
Next Monday, I will be profiling another flower I grow from seed each year.
I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her new blog just for Nature Notes. It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday.
I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.
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