No, not the fabulously rich, exciting career, rewarding motherhood, beautiful house kind of "having it all." That's so 2010! I'm talking about the cold weather laced with brief warm-ups and sun, fog, rain, sleet, snow, ice, back to sun kind of "having it all" that came with January 2011. On top of all that, last week's rapidly changing weather also offered a myriad of mystery, intrigue, emotion and beauty in the gardens that only harsh weather can conjure up in the blink of an eye.
A fog creeps in, as the poet Carl Sandberg would agree, on something like "little cat feet" almost every morning bringing with it the company of those devil deer who, for some reason, think they are forever welcome here. Who can blame them when Tucker finds it too much effort to chase them out of the yard while diligently keeping an eye out for that ever-elusive cat dragging in the fog. The dusting of older snow that was here prior to last week's Nor'easter, hinted at what was to come last Wednesday and accentuated the reds, umbers, hunter greens and charcoals of January. Then, when the snow came, it came fast and furiously leaving behind Currier and Ives winter scenes.
We dug ourselves out "luge-style" taking time to shake at least some of the snow off and appreciate the serendipity of ice-kissed leaves and branches. A little black ice was hiding beneath the snow so walking proved to be as dicey as driving. Still the thick frosting of snow plastered against tree bark looks as though it was painted on with a frosting spreader. Oh, what a tangled web old man winter can weave when he has a mind to.
One of the prettiest of plants here at Blooming Hill, especially during January, is Dwarf Nandina, showing off it's regal scarlet and emerald jewel tones encrusted in stark white. Giant tufts of Angel Hair Ornamental Grass bow to the elements of the weather while Pussy Willow begins to burst open as proof of those little cat feet prancing around the back yard when we aren't looking. Blue Spruce and cherry trees, White Pines and Magnolias stand tall as their branches are laddened with wet snow that refuses to melt even in the emerging warmth of the winter sun.
Garden statuary seem complacent and even more still than usual, wrapped in their snow blankets. The deep green fox and the shovel-back crane, both very rare breeds indeed, keep a look out for more stormy weather yet to come. Maybe they are the ones welcoming deer into the yard daily--maybe, it's not all Tucker's fault, after all. And, the fountains are frozen firm. Careful---if curiosity can kill a cat, it can most certainly get even a big, black dog wet, cold and at the very least, stuck in the muck if it so chooses.
Peaking out from inside the greenhouse where the temperature during the day, if it's sunny, can reach a summery 81 degrees reminds me that the change in seasons is inevitable and moisture, in any form, is ultimately beneficial for the garden and its bounty, year-round. Garden-variety geraniums seem oblivious to the snow that surrounds the comfortable confines of the greenhouse and the mother of all Ponderosa Lemons made its presence known this week as well. Inquiring minds n here ask,"Snow?...What snow? What is snow?"
Yes. We have it all right here in January, from snow to sunshine and, perhaps, a little bit more than what we asked for. But, that's winter in the foothills of the Virginia Blue Ridge. I found an old poem from garden folklore describing this time of year that seems most appropriate when summing up January in all of its glory. It goes like this, "But now 'tis winter, child / And bitter northwinds blow / The ways are wet and wild / The land is laid with snow." While finishing this up, I hear over my shoulder, the TV weatherman announcing , "It looks like we're in for a little bit of everything again this week." Gosh...the perks of having it all comes with a price!