Saturday, December 19, 2015

The December Garden: Winter Weather Deferred

I pause in my busyness to enjoy the December garden during this unusual weather event: El Nino brought the warmest month on record to the Poconos. Although it is cold today, the atypical high temperatures will return for Christmas. For the first time, I had a couple of plants blooming for Bloom Day which gardeners around the world celebrate on the 15th of every month at May Dreams Gardens. I wish that like our lovely host, Carol, I had hellebores and snowdrops, but I'm thankful for the blooms of my little vinca and tattered primrose. I was delighted, also, to find buds on my favorite hellebore. Normally hidden under the snow at this time of year, they hold the promise of spring.

Tattered but colorful primrose blooms

Hellebore foliage in the Woodland Walk
Lucious, pink hellebore buds

I have fabulous foliage in every garden, so I am linking with Pam at Digging for her December 'Foliage Follow-up' meme.

Sedum 'Angelina' in the perennial border of the Cottage Garden
Rose campion, lamium and creeping Jenny in the Horseshoe Garden
Fabulous ferns in the Shade Garden
Hydrangea 'Pinky Winky' with graceful zebra grass beyond.

With the unusual weather the fish were active up until this weekend, so we closed the pond only a few days ago. That was the last of the chores for the gardening year, apart from putting away a few lingering items. We always forget something until we are warned of an upcoming snowstorm. No such warning on the horizon.

The fish were still active earlier this week -- can you see them bottom right?
This frog doesn't know he should have hibernated by now.
We switched off the waterfalls and closed the pond at last.

I even worked outside on the fuschia and coleus I propagated a few weeks ago. Of course, I brought them into the house where they will spend the rest of the winter in a sunny window.

 Dude has his thick, winter coat ready for when the real winter arrives.

Dude, are those dreadlocks around your face?

In the kitchen garden I continue to harvest carrots and parsnips as well as various herbs.

Parsley in the herb garden
Parsnips taste better after a hard frost. Yes, we did have one or two.

Parsnips are my family's favorite winter vegetable and a symbol of our Christmas dinner. I cut parsnips into two-inch pieces, sprinkle with garlic, rosemary, and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil and roast them in the oven. I wrote an article about parsnips here. I am choosing the parsnip as my December 'must-have plant' for my garden, linking to Diana's meme 'A Dozen for Diana' at Elephant's Eye on False Bay.

Rosemary for the roasted parsnips.

With so much to do before the family arrive for our traditional Boxing Day celebration, and before we leave to spend the New Year with my children in Arizona, it's difficult to stop for even a moment and consider the reason for it all. In addition, the dreadful times we are living in defy contemplation. Fran Sorenson at Gardening Gone Wild found the perfect poem, by Dr. Maya Angelou, called Amazing Peace: a Christmas Poem. It's hard to choose a favorite part, but here is a snippet:

We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.  
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.  
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.  
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,  
Implore you, to stay a while with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light  
How to look beyond complexion and see community.

It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.
-- Dr. Maya Angelou.

To read the entire poem I urge you to click on the link to Fran's excellent posting here.  Thank you Fran for this! I am using Angelou's perfect poem for Donna's Seasonal Celebrations at Garden's Eye View as we 'beckon this good season to wait a while with us.'

Wishing peace to all my gardening friends,

Pamela x 

Sled's ready; where's the snow?
Hoe, hoe, hoe.

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  1. The weather seems to be unusual over the whole world we too have higher temperatures in December as never before, upto 16 degr.C. Of course I like your garden very much as a gardener but today your animals the goat and the pony are my sweet favorites, love animals. And such a wonderful photo of the frog who is also mixed up by the weather.
    I love that piece of the Amazing Peace poem.
    Wish you and your family a Merry Christmas!

  2. Snap. Guess what I made for dinner this evening? Veg curry - parsnips with spinach and chick peas. My English mother taught me to love parsnips.

  3. And over here in Britain we have smashed some old temperature records for December – it is unusually warm here too! Loved the frog picture too. Have a great Sunday!

  4. Here too we are enjoying mild weather. Roses and clematis are still flowering in our garden. On a visit to a nearby church this week I saw the daffodils in bloom!

  5. Hey Pam! Blighty is also crazily warm for December...16c is just not right. We want cold, frost and snow would be nice for Christmas. Is it too much to ask? Daffs' and cherry blossom is wrong. Merry Christmas Pam and a very Happy New Year to you and yours xx

  6. Just beautiful in so many ways Pam...the poem is perfect and oh you have veggies and flowers too. No veggies here but I must remember to plant parsnips. It has been a tad colder here so not too much foliage but the frogs are not hibernating here either. Wishing you a Happy Christmas and thank you for always joining in to Seasonal Celebrations.

  7. Have a wonderful holiday!
    Yesterday I saw a few cherry blossoms at a rest stop near Williamsport. I keep whispering to my plants "take it easy", since there must be at least one blast of winter coming. It just begs the question 'when?'

  8. These are indeed troubled and troubling times. Thanks for the moment of respite, to enjoy beautiful blooms and foliage and take our minds off all that. Happy holidays to you, Pam!

  9. Interesting quote. Our herbs are still holding up due to the warm temps. We can always find life in the garden.

  10. Happiest of holidays, Pam. The Maya Angelou poem is a calming reflection. We've had crazy mild weather this fall/early winter, too. Yes, it will be interesting to see what the rest of this winter brings! I love your pond and the way it meanders across the lot.

  11. It's similar weather here at the moment too, very warm for this time of year and spring plants are flowering early alongside plants which are still blooming from the summer time. Wishing you a very merry Christmas and all the very best for 2016.

  12. Still there are some hopes on your garden, especially your herbs. I love to see your pond, so refreshing.

  13. Your winter garden looks lovely. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and the very best for the New Year.

  14. I see that you are also having the same strange non-winter that we are here in Columbus Ohio. I was able to find four different flowers blooming in my December garden, whoever heard of such a thing?

  15. I am off to look at your parsnip link now! I simply can't grow them and my husband loves them. Weather here in France on Christmas day was up to 18degrees C. Thanks for your post, although I'm late reading it. Have a wonderful 2016!