Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gardening in the New Year

It tickles me whe I recall shovelling  snow in my Chicago yard and hear my neighbor who's doing the same ask " Global warming - where is it  ? "   My first winter in North Carolina had me so spoiled -hardly a day below 50 .  I knew it was way above normal and was warned not to expect it this year but, excuse the pun, new ideas , like seeds, began to germinate in my head.  I would never dare to think them back in Chicago but with the number of freezing cold days here being very limited I could plant a winter herb and vegetable garden.  Of course I had to have a portable one and be ready with the row covers but that was well worth the risk.

So now I am pleased with my pots of savoy cabbages, kale, chard, garlic , bay tree, and herbs that line my back deck. To have something growing in the dead of winter brings great joy to this otherwise gray season.

Snow has not fallen this winter and we've been teased with a few mild days in the upper '50's.  Then came mid-January and the weekend was in the mid-70's for 2 whole days.  What bliss to feel the warm sun on my face and back.  I headed outside and discovered that Creeping Charlie had started to peep up above the layers of mulch in the front yard flower beds and I spent an hour digging it out.  

January also brings an amazing number of trees in bloom and with the mild Spring-like weather I headed out to see some of them at the Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh. 

 The Xeric garden with its tropical palms and succulents was amazing -just seeing its greeness delights .

 But the Japanese garden with its blooming cherries, apricots and camellias was the most delightful of all.  Even without a flower or tree in bloom it would've been just as enchanting with all the natural elements that make up its foundation.

The Spring-like weather is behind us now and the bleakness of winter returns with its gray days but there is joy in knowing that the real Spring is not far away.  Back in Chicago the arrival of a robin was a sign of Spring, but now when I see them it reminds me that they, like me, are home in the sunny South.

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