Sunday, February 11, 2007

January Blooms

I took a few pictures in January just before we headed south for a couple of months. We live in zone 6 Massachusetts, used to be zone 5 but thanks to global warming, I have a broader plant palette than I used to.

I love Helleborus niger because it has the whitest flower of the hellebores. This may be some named variety, I'm not good about keeping tags. Look at that flower - I just wanted to lie down on the ground and gaze into it. Actually, that's what I did. It wasn't too cold that day...

Then there was a wonderful little Cyclamen purpurescens blooming away in a warm spot near the garden I call the allee. I was mesmerized the first time I found one of these blooming, and they still charm me far more than any showy June blossom. This is the hardiest of the hardy cyclamens, I would say zone 5 is usually safe.

The little blue flower is my favorite Phlox subulata, 'Oakington Blue Eyes'. It's not an easy variety to find these days for some reason. I like it because the color is very cool and pale. And yes, it was blooming on January 1st. Okay, it wasn't covered in bloom, but it was blooming. I could really get used to this whole global warming thing. Of course, I don't live on the coast...

And then there are the heathers (Calluna ssp.). Heaths (Erica ssp.) are actually hardier (at least in my experience, but many say otherwise), but I love them both. They are generally hardy here, although a few winters ago we had the worst winter in 100 years, at least as far as gardening is concerned (too much cold, not enough snow). A customer at the garden center where I work, a very nice older gentleman originally from England, had lost a 20-year old planting of heathers. Very sad. But he was shopping for new plants. Gardeners are nothing if not hopeful. That's a whole other topic... How many plants have I killed? But my otherwise reasonably healthy memory is capable of completely forgetting plants that I have killed not once but possibly several times, and finding a spot for them yet again. I suppose that's not hopefulness, that's suppressing unpleasant memories. Which really isn't such a bad thing, therapists be damned.

Honestly, anyone who gardens in this climate (brutal winters, unreliable snow cover,occasional 70-degree days in January, steamy summers...) is hopeful to the point of irrationality. More power to them (and me).

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