Saturday, January 31, 2015


Another new year has dawned. This is the eighth year of my writing this blog and much has changed in the blogging world, a lot of it due to facebook, twitter and other social media. People don't read blogs the way they used to . Back in the beginning it was customary to blog whenever you felt like it -daily, weekly, or monthly. Now I've resorted to blogging just once a month and have decided that I will make my posts a diary of my home and garden life.  

At this point in my life it matters not whether I have a vast audience or no audience at all. My blog is now my personal gardening journal. I am a passionate gardener and am never happier than when I'm busy at it .  My late Aunt Nell lived to be 95 and kept a house and garden until the day she passed.  I want to be like her.  I want folks in the neighborhood to pass my house and garden and say that's where the gardening-crazy woman lives. Not that they don't do it already as I am out in the garden almost everyday that is agreeable.

The snow scene above was last winter .This January passed without any measurable snowfall or ice storms and actually had some days when I was able to get out and garden.

I was able to find enough rock to line our 100-plus feet of driveway and hauled them from all over to their final resting place.  Quite a chore as the drive is long and two sides required a border. And, the old body is now 70 Springs old so keeping it in gardening shape is a chore in itself. 

I started preparing the beds for Spring planting. No surprise the soil is rocky and hardpan clay.  When it rains the water puddles but slowly sinks down into the ground. The soil has to be amended . The area in front of the house was left until last due to the rehabbing of our house, thus the reason for its bareness.

This bed will be ready for Spring planting by adding compost, manure and new top soil to form a berm.  

My plan is to add several white-flowering dogwoods and underplant them with perennials and naturalizing ground cover such as lily-of-the-valley,ferns, hellebores,sweet woodruff, and the like.  

I started a sedum garden in front last summer but have decided to replace it with an herb garden which makes more sense to me as it is hardier and less fussy. I dislike bringing plants inside to overwinter as I don't have the room or the necessary sunlight.

One nice January day I added a little whimsical color of my own by painting my dead tree red . I'm going to use it for a mini-birdhouse collection. I like bottle trees but everyone has them and I want something different. Can't help it - I'm a middle child.

I also want to have something in bloom for every month of the year, which can be a challenge. I planted a white-flowering Camellia japonica which has big fat buds that are near opening.  The night temperatures went down to the low '20's so I wrapped them in a row cover to keep them from freezing.  My violas and pansies are still blooming and the reddish-purple leaves of the coral bells add much needed color to the winter garden.

Although January was not a bad month weatherwise, I'm always happy to see it whizz by because it means we're one month closer to Spring.  I saw a Robin the other day and my daffodils have emerged.

I am enjoying feeding the birds and supplying much needed water. The large pair of woodpeckers that use to play the drums on my house are now content with the suet I provide them.  Bluebirds, chickadees, Carolina wrens, cardinals and turtle doves are frequent diners.

I just stuck these birdhouses/feeders in the ground but this Spring I will make a 4 x 4 wood post for them. This is the roadside garden that I planted with wildflowers last Spring.  There's an old saying " Don't expect to get compliments on a wildflower garden within 3 years of planting " but I guess I was an exception to the rule because I planted the seeds early and by summer there were a lot of blooms. 

 Yesterday a gentle breeze was blowing and I looked up into the pines swaying to and fro.  It took me back to my childhood in Alabama and I realized how happy and lucky I was to be back in my beloved South again, to be doing what I love and to be able to help grow the most precious flower of all-my beloved granddaughter, a sweet, precocious child that is the center of our happiness.

Looking forward to a new year filled with many adventures in gardening.

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