This month came in like a lamb and went out like a lion. No, it is not March yet, but the saying is relevant. January began cold but calm and with (almost) a promise of spring. It ended with a snow storm and the arrival of a Polar vortex, plunging temperatures to -4°F (-20°C) in my garden last night. The first week of the year I found daffodil shoots and other signs that the winter wouldn't last forever. Now it is a different story as you can see from this month in pictures:
|Clear, cold days at the beginning of January were perfect for taking a walk around our farm fields.|
|Froggy Pond froze over but there was color in my gardens from evergreen trees and shrubs.|
|Buds on rhododendron. Leaf rosettes on sedum growing in the crevice of a rock.|
The tree stump --remaining from the silver maple tree that was felled a couple of years ago-- had an interesting fungus growing out of it.
|Gnomes play on the tree stump where an interesting fungus grows|
There was a dusting of snow earlier in the month.
|Daffodil shoots made an appearance in early January -- photograph January 9.|
I haven't peeked inside the cold frame since the Polar vortex arrived because now the kitchen garden is covered with ice. It is too treacherous for walking. When I last checked, about a week ago, the cabbages and Brussel sprouts where looking great.
|In the middle of the month brassicas were surviving in the cold frame even with the intense cold.|
|Japanese andromeda Pieris japonica 'Mountain Fire' in the Woodland Walk|
January 20 saw a dramatic ice storm. The garden was magical.
|An ice storm brought a different beauty to the garden.|
|Ice glittered on every plant and shrub|
Ice storms are beautiful but as you know they can be deadly in the garden. Two years ago we lost our last remaining white birch tree when the weight of the ice snapped its trunk. This time several shrubs were damaged including three biotas that were dashed to the ground. I think they will recover.
|A slight warm-up enabled the biotas (Thuja orientalis) to begin making a recovery but they have a lot of brown leaves.|
|It was a steady snow for most of the day resulting in a total of four or five inches.|
|The Serenity Garden took on a new beauty.|
|Doodles, the Nigerian dwarf goat, ventures outside before and after the snowfall. Billy Goat will not|
leave the barn when there is snow on the ground. He doesn't have a thick coat like Doodles.
As I said, the snowstorm was followed by a severe drop in temperature. Parts of the country, however, are experiencing much colder weather than here, so I'm trying not to complain too much. Hopefully, February should be a little warmer. The weather man says it will be all the way up to 20°F (-6°C) in my corner of the Poconos tomorrow.
This is the first of a series that I plan to publish at the end of each month to document my garden throughout the year. Looking back at my photographs I find that some months I take more pictures than others. I take lots during the gardening season unless it becomes too hot and humid. I sometimes go weeks before getting out the camera. I love photography and shouldn't let the weather deter me. Knowing that I am planning this series should motive me to take more pictures. At the end of the year, I will have a more comprehensive record of the changes and challenges at Astolat. Maybe some of you would like to join me. Link to me and I would be glad to provide links to your postings of This Month in the Garden. The next one is due February 28.
(I now realize that Lee at A Guide To Northeastern Gardening has a monthly posting of the same name. Lee's is quite different, however, as she highlights a specific topic each month. I'll try to think of a different name for mine. Check Lee's December posting HERE.)
Stay safe in whatever weather conditions you are experiencing, dear gardening friends.
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