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Engines Thrumming 

After days of heavy rain, bitter winds, plummeting temperatures and even some snow flurries, I ventured outside this morning, briefly, like a snail poking its head from its shell to check out the surroundings. The buds of winter blooming Edgeworthia chrysantha are beginning to swell.

Hellebores, just beginning to bloom, are hunkering down against the weather.

Daphne odora 'Aureo-marginata' has fragrant blooms in late winter. Buds are expanding and soon should open.

As if to greet me, the sun came through the clouds, but the icy air soon drove me back into the warm house.

A couple of weeks ago the air was so warm I was outside working in the garden with my internal gardening engines thrumming to start on spring chores. It was premature and I knew it, just as I knew all those azaleas blooms that had started to open would soon get zapped. Encore azalea foliage provides hints of color.
Evergreens are the backbone of my garden, and they provide a lot of interest through the winter.

Arborvitae fern has grown to a lush ground cover beside my front walk.

Jasmine growing over an arch has a wintry background.Winter and spring always play a fitful tug-of-war here. By March, spring should win out.Nandina 'Firepower' has especially bright winter foliage.

Ornamental Kale provides a bouquet of color for months, from fall all the way through winter and into spring. I cut it back when it gets leggy, and it regrows.In the meantime, I am back inside, my engines thrumming, making plans as I sit by the fire with my garden books.

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Reader Comments (25)

I'm always amazed by how much is going on in your warm-climate garden in the middle of winter. Beautiful!

January 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJean

Dear Deb, your photos of the Edgeworthia chrysantha are stunning! I love the silver shine on the buds!
Here the weather is also very fluctuating, but we don't get, or more correctly I should say, hardly get any frost, so it isn't as tough on the plants as in your neck of the woods. Have fun making plans for spring. Sitting in front of a fire is certainly a nice place to do it :-).
Warm regards,

January 23, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterchristina

There is so much winter interest in your garden. Today we are enjoying warmer, calmer weather and I have weeded the north-facing borders. They are always overlooked in winter as I cannot abide being cold. Strangely enough, the south-facing borders are always amazingly well-tended during January!
Enjoy your stay by the fire with your books.

January 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Shoesmith

We received 8 inches of snow in Nashville! (That was the official total at the airport. The strong winds made it hard to measure the snow at my house. Depending on where I stuck the ruler, I measured anywhere from 4 to 6 to 9 inches of snow...)

The snow has given me a taste of what Northern gardeners must feel. I feel...relaxed. There's no need to worry about whether Ajuga's foliage is tattered or indeed whether a groundcover has gone completely deciduous if the entire garden is blanketed by snow!

Of course, it's also beautiful to see some of the junipers and other evergreens garlanded with snow...

That arborvitae fern looks wonderful in your pic...

January 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAaron Dalton

Your photographs of the Edgeworthia chrysantha are absolutely stunning and there is still much to see in your winter garden! Thanks for stopping by to say hello...and yes...we are buried under two feet of snow here on Long Island after winter storm Jonas! Stay warm!

Oh I just love the blooms of Edgeworthia, as unusual looking as they are! It's just so great to see some signs of life at this time of year. We have several inches of snow, so I'm keeping myself content with watching birds and some occasional checking on trees and shrubs full of slumbering buds - and of course enjoying some gardening books and catalogues!

January 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterIndie

I'd like those silver paws!

January 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Studer

I so love your Edgeworthia and Daphne.It is two plants we don't have here. Beautiful photos of the Edgeworthia too. I was in the garden only a few weeks ago here. The weather changed drastically in a short amount of time. We are getting rain next week as well. Strange winter.

January 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Ah, Mother Nature is such a tease to give you those warm winter days and then snatch them back! I do appreciate that you ventured out into the cold to capture some wonderful photos of your beautiful garden, though. Still, it doesn't sound at all bad to me to spend some time by a warm fire reading garden books - I could do with a break from garden chores myself.

January 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

My garden is buried under snow so I content myself with my seedlings. But it was so warm here a few weeks ago, too. Crazy weather!

January 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCasa Mariposa

I don't think you've ever shown your Arborvitae fern before; what a lovely looking plant, I'm going to have to check that one out, I love its texture. Gardening inside the house with inspiring books can be nearly as good as 'being out there'. Have a good week Deb.

January 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

So much of interest still in your garden.
January is the perfect time to dream and plan ... and order all those seeds of course!

January 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHoehoegrow

I made a trip in the past few days through the arboretum to see what is in-bloom in the world outside my garden. It is pretty amazing what is flowering in January and what is soon to bloom...It's a pretty amazing world outside the shell.

January 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie@Seattle Trekker

Ah, exciting time of year, even over here, without any snow it is still a time of waiting for things to wake up and emerge. There might be things in flower everywhere all the time, but the majority of plants are still asleep right now even in my garden. Still, only 5 weeks till spring today!
Have a good week in the garden :-)

January 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHelene

Hi Deb! You have so much of interest in your garden in the winter. I LOVE that Edgeworthia! What a gorgeous plant and the photos you took of the buds are superb! So envious that you have Daphne and Hellebores. I think they are just the most lovely of spring flowers. Now that January is on its way out, Spring will be right around the corner.
Enjoy your week.
- Kate

January 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKate R

So are you revisiting old garden books or reading new ones? I find that garden books I really like bear up well under repeated perusal.

January 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Hello, everyone! Each of your comments is important to me, and I thank you for your support. Jason, I like to read both old and new garden books, as well as gardening magazines. I have a small library of garden books, and many are old friends to me. Best wishes to you all! Deb

January 25, 2016 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

Sitting by the fire with gardening book sounds like the perfect way to while away cold winter days. I bet the Edgeworthia chrysantha will smell heavenly when the flowers eventually open.

January 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

My engine will seize up if I don't get started soon. Temps haven't been too bad here, sick looking at rain though. Edgeworthia, always admired it but have never had it in the garden.

January 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAlistair

Those first buds are just fabulous. I would think they're even better than the flowers themselves!

January 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

Hi Deb, I love that image of you poking your head of your cosy home into a cold frosty garden. Enjoy your reading while the weather is like that.. My theory of why we like re-reading books is that the book is the same but we are different since the last time we read it.

January 28, 2016 | Unregistered Commentercatmint

Thanks for the answer about the forthysia! That does have a lovely color.

What is the fragrance of edgeworthia like? There are some at the JC Raulston Arboretum and I swear none has any fragrance at all, and I'm always interested in adding fragrant winter-blooming plants.

The tug of war is going on here too. Absolutely beautiful and mid-50s today, tipping down to mid-upper 20's tonight, then back up again.

January 29, 2016 | Unregistered Commentersweetbay

Beautiful photographs of the soft and shiny Edgeworthia buds!

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

I noticed swelling buds on my edgeworthia yesterday too, which always makes me smile. Ás does surrounding myself with enticing seed and plant catalogues. In fact I am off to order dahlias right now!!

January 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJanet/Plantaliscious

Hi Sweetbay, Edgeworthia's scent is a bit hard to describe; perhaps a fresh, sweet smell like honey. You may have to stick your nose close to the blooms to fully appreciate it. Deb

January 31, 2016 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

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