Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Monday, January 11, 2016

Winter Sunshine

Good morning gardeners!

One week ago Portland was blanketed in snow and ice. Yesterday it was sunny and a beautiful 45 degrees. I seized the opportunity to do some much needed clean up in my own garden, and I’m glad I did because today is back to rain & wind. My front deck is home to nearly 30 containers of all sizes that I garden in year-round. I cleaned off an abundance of winter muck from the outside of my ceramic, terra cotta, and plastic pots. Several winter storms over the last month landed autumn leaves, branches, twigs and all kinds of debris blown in from all over Portland to gather upon my front deck! Sweeping off leaves from the deck, I gathered enough to fill an entire yard debris bin to bursting.

Removing debris from the top of my containers I discovered a multitude of bulbs pushing through the soil. Crocus, daffodil, hyacinth, muscari, and even tulips are poking up their brave little heads. Perennial hellebores are unfurling their new growth with blossoms to be enjoyed throughout the late winter and into spring. When my hellebores sprout new growth, I prune off last years foliage so that the emerging flowers are showcased.

Indeed I was not the only Portlander embracing yesterday's winter sunshine with gardening. My best friends told me they "reeked of rosemary" from doing so much winter pruning, which is by far the sweetest gardening sentiment perfect for the beginning of a new year. They happily showed me the pile of pruning they had done of the gigantic ancient climbing rose that was threatening to take over most of their back yard. Well done!

Yesterday’s weather was so lovely and mild I did not want to leave my garden. I pulled out patio chairs from under their protective winter tarp and sat on my deck soaking up the sunshine. I admired the winter daphne all budded and hopefully soon opening her tiny fragrant blooms. During the winter my garden contains the evergreen “bones” of native huckleberry, daphne, choysia, fatsia, nandina, cypress, jasmine, rosemary, lavender, ferns-sword, autumn, maidenhair, ornamental grasses-acorus & black mondo. Though truly my garden’s glory is in her abundance of winter-dormant herbaceous perennials. For now my beloved dahlias, lilies, peonies, poppies, echinacea, rudbeckia, agastche, and monarda are all in their winter slumber, gathering strength for their vibrant spring and summer peformances.

In a few months my garden will come bursting to life with the bright colors of blooming spring bulbs. This autumn I planted containers full of crocus, daffodil, tulips, hyacinth, anemones, buttercups, grape hyacinth, miniature iris and checkered lily. Every spring I look forward to their happy faces that signal the beginning of a new spring gardening season ripe with potential.

2016 seed and plant catalogs are daily arriving in my mailbox, but that is a story for another day…

Happy gardening,

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