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Goodbye January, Hello Spring!

Today is why I garden.

I was in the garden, digging up baby forsythias around the edge of a shrub where tips of branches had touched the earth and rooted to produce new growth. The earth was very damp and easy to dig. Most of the diggings would go to the brush heap, but a few would go to a friend. Once every few years I prune my forsythias and dig up unwanted shoots to keep the shrubs within their boundaries. I was late to do this. Already the forsythias are beginning to bloom!

It was a perfect day with crisp air warmed by sunshine. Birds, squirrels, and other animals were frisky, and so was I. I looked up when I heard the familiar shrill call of a Coopers Hawk. I followed his flight and watched him land above me on the branch of an oak tree. I grinned. He had settled within inches of another Cooper's Hawk. I knew there were two of them, but I had never before seen them together. I think they must be making plans for nest and family.

I know I have already published several photos of my Red-shouldered Hawk, but here's one more. Don't look too close if you are squeamish!

Most of January was dreadfully dreary and very wet, but finally we have had some beautiful days, still frosty at night but with daytime temperatures warming up into the 60s. I know it's too early for all these flower buds, and there will certainly yet be a killing freeze. But I have decided to enjoy them while they are here. Goodbye January, hello, spring!

So, here are some blooms in my garden on this, the last day of January:

A view of the camellia 'Red Candles' in the woodlands. It is still a small, scrawny shrub, but it is loaded with blooms:

Some more camellia shots:Top photo is of 'Something Beautiful'. Middle photos are of an old camellia that was here when we arrived in 1985. Lower photos are of 'Red Candles'.




Here's another look at the woodland garden, taken a few days ago. Everything is wet!

Water droplets cling to a native red cedar in the woodland garden:

Another view in the woodland garden, looking over the blue bridge. The moss path is lush after all the January rain:

Gardening is about passalong plants and friendship, about lush blooms and feel-good foliage, about weather and work and wildlife and walks to think about and enjoy it all. It's often a solitary endeavor, but the results are most satisfying when they are shared. I hope you have enjoyed a peek at my early spring; and if it freezes over, I'll tell you about that, too!


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Reader Comments (32)

A great shot of the hawk! It's definitely nesting time already with the warm weather - I just saw some nesting hawks the other day. I can't believe you have so many daffodils up already! I love the flowering quince. Your garden is so beautiful even in January! Another great thing about moss - it looks good even in the winter!

January 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIndie

Looking forward to Spring, so really enjoyed your post! Not too long to go now, although we currently have another cold snap here :(

February 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGaz

Just reading this almost erases my hankering for winter and snow. :o) I’ve awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award: http://bit.ly/yhCUbI. Yay!

February 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCasa Maripoas

There is no more welcome sight in spring than the blooms of the forsythia and daffodils. Here's hoping that the freeze doesn't come!

February 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris

It's pouring rain here in north Alabama, but can see star magnolias and daffodils blooming from my window. Fat sasanqua buds. Hellebores blooming beautifully. As is the Carolina jessamin. I fear the killing freeze that must be coming....it's all so wonderful now! I so love the photos of your woodlands!

February 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercatherine

I love hawks, and there are some in the wooded area beyond our property. I hear them often. My quince is blooming as well...strange weather we are having...

February 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Sage Butterfly

Well I suppose if the warm temps/early spring have arrived, we should just enjoy it! Your pictures are beautiful, as always. I especially like the water droplets on the braches. Have you seen Contagion? The first picture of the forsythia made me think of it. In the movie some people were trying to use forsythia as a cure (I'm not giving anything away, if you haven't seen it!).

p.s. I've been given a Versatile Blogger award, and I wanted to pass it along to you because I enjoy your blog. I hope you accept. I'll be posting about it tomorrow. :)

February 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBumble Lush

Wonderful spring flowers, your Daffodils are early aren't they, your garden looks so like spring has already arrived ! Fantastic shot of your hawk, you never know what you are going to see when you're gardening!

February 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPauline Mulligan

I must admit, I'm a little jealous! Our daffodils are coming up very slowly this year, and nowhere near blooming. I think our tremendously dry weather through December and January has set them back. After looking at your gorgeous pictures, I really miss having Camellias here. You have so much in bloom for February 1st!

February 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCurbstone Valley Farm

Your Hellebore pictures are to die for Deb! My daffodils are not in bloom as of yet but the quince and and camellia are working on it! I was out yesterday too. My beds don't look nearly as good as yours. I really like to garden but cant say I am a good gardener yet! Weeds abound! I'm thinking a trip will be in the nearer future every day! It will be bursting with flowers in no time!!

February 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEve

I really need to plant a Camellia here...my only blooms right now are Hellebores. Or maybe I'll add a Quince...both of yours are gorgeous. I am still hoping for a little snow...just because. Our winter has been mild, but nothing like yours! Everything looks beautiful there!

February 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJan @ Thanks for today.

We saw lots hawks when we were travelling in the States. your weather is suddenly much milder than ours. We had snow this morning and it is very cold. Nothing new seems to be growing - no bulbs at all which is unusual. Your woodland looks wonderful a nd how I envy that you have lived in your garden for so long. Christina

February 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Beautiful for mid-winter, isn't it? You won't have to tell us when it freezes, we'll be in the midst of it too. My nephew sent me a picture this morning showing how thick acorns and hickory nuts are on the ground at his place just south of Atlanta -- a sure sign of a hard winter to come.

I'm enjoying while I can, sure that bad weather will sneak up just when we're getting all smug about what a mild winter we had.

February 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNell Jean

We had 2 ft of snow and then a melt and rain again...nothing really much blooming...we keeping riding the wave of 20s, 30s and 40s and the bulbs show some emergence but I doubt they will bloom although maybe if it stays more in the 40s we will get an early spring in late Feb or early March...I am not holding my breath. Gorgeous blooms and picture of the hawk BTW!

February 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonna@Gardens Eye View

Just like you, i am trying to go with the flow and not worry about potential cold weather--enjoy the flowers now.

I meant to ask if you are going to the Asheville fling.

Deb, I enjoy your blog so much that I want to give you a Versatile Blogger Award. I've announced the award and linked to you on this post, which also has instructions on passing the award on if you wish to:


February 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

The beauty in your garden never fails to amaze me. Thanks for sharing them Debs, it's brought some cheer on a cold wintry day. Spring is just around the corner...

February 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Seriously, all that beauty and color in January? I am jealous. We have warmer than usual temps and not one little bloom, or even a show of a sprout. Your quince is gorgeous, I love that color.

February 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Love the closeups and the moss path! Perfect with the bridge.

February 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBom

You have a wonderful garden I can't believe that you have so much in bloom! I had said goodbye to winter when it suddenly came back with a vengence today. It's a great time of the year though , full of promise. Thanks for your support recently I appreciated it:~)

February 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFoxglove Lane

Many thanks, Deb, for whetting my appetite, showing me what's in store. Your photos are wonderful – the hellebore, forsythia, the camellia, Ahhh, camellia, a plant I am trying to entice into surviving outdoors here in Connecticut - all are such evocative images.

Good timing on photographing, that hawk. It seems to be saying, "What're *you* looking at!?" And, I say, a great looking bird, that's what.

Happy spring,

February 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLee May

I have that dwarf flowering quince too. I've taken so many photos of it, as it flowers when everything else is dead. However, none of my photos are as good as yours.

February 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterb-a-g

I love this post! Fantastic photos! Love the Camellias. Your bridge is so inviting and words inspiring and true :)

February 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNHGarden

You have so much blooming in your garden now, and the moss path looks fantastic!

February 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersweetbay

Wonderful blooms, Deb! So glad you are out enjoying spring already. It is quite a bit warmer in PA this year than last, but the snow flakes were still flying today, so winter is not over for us yet.

I love the blue bridge... just perfect. Like your blue seat.

February 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWife, Mother, Gardener

Debs your garden in Helena is so much further on than ours is. Forsythia! every time I find a position for one I keep thinking that another plant will look better, big mistake we have done this for forty years and still have not planted this beauty. Love the shot of the Hawk.

February 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlistair

I love that photo of the hawk with his lunch. How great of you to be able to capture it!

February 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPrairie Cat

It is thrilling to see hints of spring, Lovely photos -- and I know I've said it before, but I am in love with your bridge and its color.

February 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNitty Gritty Dirt Man

Goodness, it will be at least another month before I get to see most of the things you already have blooming! Hope the cold snaps stay away so that you can enjoy it all for longer.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanet/Plantaliscious

I'm freaking amazed by that hawk pic...
What are you using to shoot with?

I was trying to shoot the woodpeckers yesterday, and I can't see nething in the pic 'cept the dead tree it was on...

I shot other birds, n I cn barely pic em out through the thicket...

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterstone

a wet woodland is a thing of natural beauty but with moss paths, camellias and hawks we see the work of a true green gardener. How advanced you are with Quince and all Deb.

February 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaura@PatioPatch
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