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Here Comes the Sun!

One can read only so many garden magazines. The catalogues with their perfect plants are page worn. All the old garden books are memorized. The internet! But one's eyes eventually glaze over, and there is deep longing for fresh air. What's a pent-up gardener to do? Order a new birdhouse. Order a new tree. And pace, pace, watching the weather, hoping for a day of sunshine.

I would definitely be in trouble if I lived in the far reaches of the North, where there are months of winter gloom. I have had to deal with a few weeks, and finally the sun has returned. On Saturday I stumbled out of the house and gulped the warm rays. The temperature went up into the fifties. Spring! Not really, only a tease, but I didn't care.
The front garden, with the sun shining!

I planted this little coral bark tree last fall. I am impressed with its winter color and look forward to the impact it will make when it grows larger.

The dried stems behind the tree trunk is the ground cover indigofera, in the woodland garden. It has fern-like leaves and pink flowers in the spring.
More views around the woodland garden.

I grabbed my unfortunate son who came for a visit and headed for the garden. We planted the new tree, a variegated weeping redbud, Cercis canadensis 'Whitewater'. I have high hopes for it. Because our ground doesn't freeze, winter is a great time for planting new trees, allowing roots to take hold before the stress of summer heat arrives.It's hard to imagine that this old oak tree behind our house was once as small as my newly planted redbud! It has lived through many years of stressful weather. In 1990, its top was ripped away by a tornado, but it continues to survive.

We also transplanted a dozen ferns. My neighbor Betty had told me there were ferns in the valley behind our house, but although this property belongs to us, the hill is steep and the area wild so I rarely go down there. But on Saturday I was in the mood to plant. I wanted to add to the fern glade in the woodland garden, so I dragged my son down into the wilderness and we began digging. Most of the ferns are beautiful evergreen, holly type woodland ferns. My muscular son got to haul them up the steep hill and then dig holes for me in their new location. There are plenty more left in the valley, and I am looking forward to another pleasant day, hopefully when my son will be visiting, so I can continue to enlarge the fern glade. 

Meanwhile, Lou and I have pruned the apple trees and the crepe myrtles, properly — we commit no crepe murder! (This link takes you to a great article published by Southern Living magazine about pruning crepe myrtles.) I also have potted up some pansies. 

The sun is peeking in and out today. Lou is going to install my new birdhouse. We are rushing to take advantage of the nice weather, as rain will be returning tomorrow, or sooner, as already I see storm clouds on the horizon. Soon we will spray the apple trees and many of our shrubs with an ecologically friendly dormant oil. This will reduce insect damage later in the season and also helps to fight some types of fungus. Our season warms up so quickly that this must be done now, before growth starts.

It may be a few days before I can get out to enjoy my garden again. Here are some more images from here and there, photographed while I was taking in the sunshine:

I hope you are enjoying the week!   Deborah

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Reader Comments (26)

Just love looking at your garden Deb. Love all the foliage. Sounds like you have a large property, I don't know where you get the energy to maintain it all. I know the restless feeling of being cooped up indoors, when all you want, is to be outside in the garden.

January 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Boy, do you sound like me!! Loved this post. Your gardens are so beautiful. I look forward to seeing more of them in spring!

January 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristy

We enjoy looking at your garden Debs, all seasons :) but it is extra nice this time with the sun shining and blue skies. And how much we echo your first paragraph!

January 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Glad your son came over to help you! We used to have helpers (eager for allowance) to mow the lawn but they grew up and moved away :)
I always enjoy reading your blog and thinking: Wow. Deb actually transplants ferns in January! I am one of the Northern Gardeners who may not always have it gloomy but especially this week, we most definitely have it cold. (minus 27 C) Brrrrrr…….

January 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAstrid

Hi Deb! Nice pictures! I'm glad you are tasting a little of spring already, just like me. And surely you are affected by Spring fever, just like me! Unfortunately I can't plant anything as the soil is very soggy.
I know I tell you the same thing all the times but: I love your front garden and those huge topiary!
Your oak has a very weird but interesting shape.

January 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlberto

Yes being one of those snow bound Northern Canadian bloggers lol, and heavy sigh...I can live vicariously through you. What is ground? Dirt, things growing?

We are in the middle of another 6 inches of snow.


January 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

See, this is one of the things I enjoy about garden blogging--visiting the blogs of gardeners in warmer climates. It will be a long time before I can "garden" again. Our ground is frozen solid. So I'll have many more weeks of dreaming about spring. Sigh...

January 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPlantPostings

I don't mean to whine, but you have both a strong young son AND workable ground in winter? It is 7 degrees here as I type this and the ground won't be plantable for months yet. And all my strong young helpers live far away. Okay, I'm done complaining --- now I can enjoy your post about planting a beautiful new redbud, and transplanting woodland ferns. It's all wonderful on a sunny winter day and your pictures prove it. Plant on!

January 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

Oh Yes! What I would give for a nice long warm day with sun! I can almost feel the warmth just looking at your photos. At least our temps here in the PNW have gone up above freezing, finally, for the first time in 2 weeks. I may go out tomorrow and do some gardening, even if it rains a bit. How lucky that your son lives nearby and can help!

January 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlison

Oh, beautiful images! So glad you got a day to enjoy the sunshine! You are so right about being able to be away from the garden only for so long. Eventually a gardener MUST get out there in the dirt! Nice of your son to help you plant!

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHolleyGarden

Lovely to see the sunshine in your garden, it is still hiding from us! Your woodland will look lovely with its fern glade, how handy to have your own to transplant and not to have to buy them! Your new tree has come to a good home, I'm sure it will be very happy and grow well for you!!

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPauline Mulligan

Beautiful! Enjoy the nice weather! Jeannine

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeannine

Oh I am feeling the same - we have had a week of snow which followed a week of very cold weather, grey skies etc. I am desperate to enjoy the garden but this week coming we have rain forecast but I think I saw a sun symbol somewhere on the chart

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

How great to get out and dig in the soil. The ferns sound great.

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjason

Deb - If you're interested in planting your valley, you might be inspired by the jungle in the Lost Gardens of Heligan where Victorian plant hunters brought back plants from the tropics and planted them in the microclimate of the valley.

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterb-a-g

Isn't it wonderful when you get a glimmer of spring in mid-winter? We were blessed with some lovely warm weather a few days ago too, although it's pouring with rain today. I enjoyed soaking up every last sun ray I could. Spring will be here before we know it!

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCurbstone Valley Farm

It seems like there is always something going on in your garden! Cold and snowy here this week but I'm ok with that. It kills the blackspot spores that plagued my roses last year. LOVE the bark on your maple. What a stunning color. :)

January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCasa Mariposa

In some of your photos it almost looks like summer, the light is so warm! Like you I couldn't stand being somewhere that was white all winter, I too steal moments in the garden when it is warm, today the wind is freezing so I don't expect to be outside long! The coral tree is lovely. I always enjoy my 'walks' in your garden. I hope there are many more sunny days for you to enjoy this winter and it will be spring soon. Christina

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Deborah it is wonderful to hear you had sun, warmth and planting going on...and I am glad you do not commit crepe murder :)

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDonna@Gardens Eye View

I loved the walk through your garden, the pictures are amazing. The buds are ready for warm weather in my garden and so am I.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

I too was enjoying the sunshine this past week. Sun makes the winter so much more tolerable.

Your pictures are lovely!

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSweetbay

glad you had a day in the garden Deb, there was a brief few hours of sunshine here yesterday (Saturday) and I grabbed my camera, then had a few hours working in the garden, back to rain which is forecast all next week but the days are getting longer and new life is pushing through, Frances

January 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIsland Threads

I'm glad to hear you've had some sun. In Maine, winters are typically not gloomy at all, but have lots of bright blue skies and sunshine punctuated by snow storms. The sunlight is also magnified by all that reflective snow we usually have on the ground all winter long. In Pennsylvania (where I am now), winter is much more apt to be grey. This past week, we've had lots of sunshine, but accompanied by temperatures too cold for most people to enjoy the sun. We're about to go back into a rainy pattern, but I think no one is going to complain since the rain is supposed to be accompanied by much warmer temperatures. Enjoy your sunshine!

January 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJean

What beautiful - and sunny - views of your garden. I am so envious, we've had very little sun, and although the climate is ideal for planting bare rooted - or pot grown - trees and shrubs, the ground is so very, very wet I fear I would destroy the soil were I to walk on it much. *sigh*, roll on Spring!

January 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanet/Plantaliscious

So much color! Those Camellia are amazing. Still too cold in my garden - plus with all our rain I really don't feel like venturing out. Yesterday I stood at the back door with binoculars to see if my witch hazel was blooming. It wasn't - so I stayed indoors rather than heading out with my camera!

January 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Chapman

Deborah, you are wise to live in the south, because the winter gloom really does get to you after awhile!

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL
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