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With Forks and Hope

Posted by carol6ma_7ari zones 6 & 7a (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 3, 10 at 12:58

(that's a quote from Lewis Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark")
Snow, bleakness, cold, wind, more snow: is there anything hopeful coming out of these endless February days? Yes!

The magnolia buds are swelling.
The willows are turning golden.
Days are longer.
The cardinal and the bluejay have found mates and their colors are turning brilliant.

Do you see buds and hope outside your windows?

Carol


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: With Forks and Hope

Hi Carol, I took a walk around the garden the other day. I've had swollen buds since the fall and I'm hoping not to see any more of that until March. [g] I'm a little afraid that my shrubs won't leaf out normally next spring. Everything still looks like winter out there to me. Brrrr!


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RE: With Forks and Hope

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 4, 10 at 13:04

I heard some different bird songs this morning (I'm not good at identifying bird songs). Much more singing than recently, though. The sun rose before 7AM and it will still be light at 5PM.

Otherwise, it looks the same out there plant-wise. Spring is really slow here on the coast, so I'm not expecting much yet.

Claire


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RE: With Forks and Hope

Well, the weird thing is, yesterday I was outside in the morning shoveling, because it snowed. But the air had that "feeling" of oncoming spring! I don't know how to describe it. There's a kind of dampness, or maybe it's a smell, and a feel.... I don't know. But whatever it is, I felt it while I was literally shoveling snow. It was a very hopeful feeling.

That, and the other day I noticed daffodil nubbins poking out of the ground. I was actually surprised to see them since I haven't even seen the snowdrop or crocuses nubbins yet, and they usually pop up first.

Oh, and the days are definitely longer!
:)
Dee


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RE: With Forks and Hope

I was sitting at my computer reading this thread so I looked out from my little home office here and it seemed that the shrubs outside were indeed COVERED with swollen buds, round and brownish gray! Turns out the windows need washing. Sigh.........


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RE: With Forks and Hope

Boy, I'm getting this vision of all these GW forum members looking longingly out the window just itching for spring. lol February's just starting! Time to get the garage organized and the tools sharpened and the seeds ordered. ;-)


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RE: With Forks and Hope

"...Turns out the windows need washing..."

Hey, cheer up, Bill! That means it's time for SPRING cleaning, lol!

:)
Dee


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RE: With Forks and Hope

I think it's the lengthening days that give us hope, and the sun does really start to feel stronger now. I have seen a 1/2 inch crocus sprout, and and even smaller allium sprout. Actually, my daffodils have had leaves 5-10 inches high since November. This has been happening for the last few years but I don't recall it being the norm when I was younger. The grape hyacinths always had foliage from fall throughout winter and into spring. It seems to me that it's been staying warmer later into autumn for the last several years, and that the cold weather isn't as steady as it used to be. I remember as a child that the ground was buried in snow virtually all winter.


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RE: With Forks and Hope

Bill, that is so interesting to hear. You are a 1/2 zone warmer than I am and I have found myself wondering how my garden is going to respond as climate gets warmer. As it seems to be doing slowly but surely. I am starting to see some of those same changes but to a smaller degree than you are. So you are giving me a preview of where my garden is heading soon. I had the daffodil foliage up about 3 inches long before I should have last year. This year though, I have never seen a fall like we had. We were working in the garden until Thanksgiving and the buds were swelling and the leaves were starting to open. I haven't noticed any daff foliage yet though. I still have some snow on the ground, but most of it is gone and I hope the cold we are having without snow cover is not going to be a big problem. I rarely lose anything over the winter but the past three winters we have had a lot of snow cover for most of the winter. Not this year though.

I also remember very different winters growing up. And spring was spring and that was when you saw the bulb foliage. And you never saw rain in the winter, or thunder and lightening during a snow storm. And when my older siblings were growing up, I have photos of their winters and the amount of snow all winter was amazing and more than I ever saw. We lived in the same area too. They used to have a winter carnival at a local college campus and made huge snow sculptures and ice skating was possible just about any day even before Christmas right through February.


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RE: With Forks and Hope

Yes I concur with your observations. When I'd walk to elementary school I passed by a bus stop which was marked by a yellow band high up on a telephone pole. In winter the snow that was shoveled from the nearby houses' driveways and walkways was piled so high ALL WINTER that we could write our names on that yellow band. Once the snow was gone there was no way to reach it without a ladder. So I guess times they are a-changin'!


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RE: With Forks and Hope

My earliest witch hazel, 'Diane' is starting to bloom, the winter heath is going strong, and I see buds on my favorite red oriental hellebore - time to go check the H. nigers, which should have been blooming since Christmas but are always late because they're in deep shade. There may be lots more surprises out there, I haven't done a real tour of the yard since I left home for 5 weeks of field work back in late December.

So, YES! our forks are ready and we're full of hope - looks like we will survive another NE winter after all!


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RE: With Forks and Hope

LOL, that is funny that you remember that, Bill, such a small memory, so long ago. You must have a great memory! You've reminded me that when my brother and I were about 8 and 9 yrs old, we lived two blocks away from a city square. In those days, parents were not concerned to let you walk to the square on a Saturday to go to the movie matinee. When it snowed, they would plow all the snow into a pile in the middle of the square. To us that pile was huge! Reaching as high as the second floor windows of the storefronts and offices in the square. We would play 'king of the mountain' with all our friends. Also we lived at the base of a street that was a small hill and all winter we would be out sledding down the street. There was hardly ever a car that would come by and interrupt our fun. Lots has changed for sure. I always enjoyed winter and being outdoors in all kinds of weather and that hasn't changed. I really wish we had digital cameras in those days. I would love to have a photo of it. :-)


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RE: With Forks and Hope

dtd, I didn't see you there, we were posting at the same time. I have yet to add some of those early bloomers that you have, but in the back of my mind, I keep trying to work them in. I always enjoy your descriptions of your garden this time of year. Maybe you have a few photos when you get a chance?

Actually, some of the hellebore seedlings you gave me at the last swap I went to, have done well and looked good going into the winter. It may be at least another season before I see bloom, but I can't wait. I also bought three new doubles last year and those were small enough that I probably won't see bloom on those this year either. I have not found room for a witch hazel yet, but I hope to.

Nice to see you posting again. :-)


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RE: With Forks and Hope

I don't find that my plants are showing any signs of spring (my witchhazels don't bloom until the end of March) but the longer days definitely help my outlook and energy levels. Yesterday I saw a mocking bird on the seacoast feasting on multiflora rose hips - can't remember having seen a mocking bird ever at this time of year.


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RE: With Forks and Hope

Witch Hazels would probably bloom fairly early here and I've been considering getting one for a while now. There are several varieties and they all seem nice but very pricey. I've never seen them at local nurseries.


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RE: With Forks and Hope

Arnold Promise is probably the longest lasting Hamamelis, and a nice clear yellow; there are newer yellow varieties that might be even better, but I love my old Arnold. The smaller Diane blooms earlier, in a lovely red; mine has just started to show color (actually, I hadn't looked until yesterday) although the buds are not open yet.

I also had Jelena, but its coppery color just looked brown to me, even when back-lit, so when that one's graft started to go I tossed it.

I'll see if I can get some photos; H. foetidus (stinking hellebore) is in full bloom and Jasminum nudiflorum (winter jasmine) has some buds opening. That one's not hardy much north or inland from here. Some of my H. niger are in bloom, but at this stage the open flowers don't look like much, they tend to be soggy - depends on the weather, I think. The later flowers are generally more sturdy, and they all eventually age to a really nice light red.


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some of last year's winter garden photos

These are from 2008 - this year things seem a little later to me! There are some from 2009 in one of my other Picasa web albums. Winter photos are tough because there's so much brown around, but it's fun to be able to see how much things will progress in the next few weeks - Picasa adds the date (from the camera) to all the photos, which sure beats trying to keep track.

Helleborus foetidus:

From Winter-Spring 2008

Diane, Feb 17:

From Winter-Spring 2008

Winter heath (can't remember which one)

From Winter-Spring 2008


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RE: With Forks and Hope

DTD,

I've had Jasminum nudiflorum here in Providence for over 10 years and it is rock hardy here. It spreads a little when it touches the ground and roots, and also reseeds now and then (not at all invasive though). It will open flowers whenever there's a mild spell. I had a lot of flowers in November and December, but only one flower last week. Should be some opening soon, but the real show is usually late March and early April.

Bill


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RE: With Forks and Hope

I've had mine for a long time, too; I fell in love with it when I first saw it in a NE Flower show exhibit. I especially like it for being shade tolerant.

It won't grow in most parts of NE, though; PVD and Cape Cod have similar maritime climates. I'm sure it would do well along coastal CT, but not very far inland.


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RE: With Forks and Hope

I've been planning to get a winter jasmine if I ever build a cold greenhouse . . . I could do with a little bloom at this time of year. I did have a winter heath 'Vivellii' at one point, but it eventually died in a cold snowless winter. I think I need to plant another one since it would bloom even when surrounded by snow, even when much of the plant was still covered n snow.


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