Winter Buds

We had a bitterly cold December, but according to local lore, the polar vortex over North America has given us a balmy January. Temperatures that barely count as winter, low levels of rain and snow only on much higher ground, disappointed skiers and confused garden plants.

I put in bulbs in a tiny patch of land behind our kitchen. The house is over 500 years old, the property divisions are inexplicable and bizarre. There is an old rose which thrives against the shady wall – in summer, of course, not now. We never know when some of these plants were first put in – one vine was planted in 1947.

Photo: PK Read
Photo: PK Read

In springtime, the little sliver of shaded kitchen garden territory looks like this, more or less. This is an old picture from when I first put in the garden patch – the plants are all much larger now and we’ve installed a woven fence.

Photo: PK Read
Photo: PK Read

I planted a few bulbs in a pot back in September. They seem to think it’s already time to come out.

Photo: PK Read
Photo: PK Read

As does the misguided peony.

Photo: PK Read
The tiny red slivers are the new peony buds. I use the old stalks to create a protective nest above them for overwintering.
Photo: PK Read

And the hydrangea, which I bind into a tipi form that is usually snow-topped around now, is sending out fresh buds against the flowerheads from last year.

Photo: PK Read
Photo: PK Read

 

The crazy rosemary on the other side of the house, a huge and unruly bush that I started cutting back in autumn, is budding up. It was planted right after WWII and really needs to be completely renovated.

Photo: PK Read
Photo: PK Read

I know snow will come and cover all of this. Sooner or later. I guess I’ll just have to see which plants have the strength for a second attempt come spring.