Thursday, January 31, 2019

This Month in the Garden: January 2019



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.

Then the snow storm arrived:

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.

Pamela x





I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited! 
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.

21 comments:

  1. What an excellent idea for tracking your garden through the year with these end of month posts. I look forward to them. As for January, it certainly seems to have been a month of contrasts for your garden, ending in cold and snow. Stay warm and safe. Spring is coming!

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    1. Now we have a spell of warm weather coming. Crazy winter.

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  2. It was the same here in January, a mild start to the month but going into February in minus temperatures, though we haven't had as much snow here as some other parts of the county are experiencing. We've got our fair share of frost and ice though. I'm with Billy, I like to stay indoors when it snows.

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    1. I live in an area where vacationers come to ski; skiing is not my idea of fun.

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  3. Hi Pam. I enjoyed your new meme and certainly you can use the same name. Also, thank you for linking to my This Month in the Garden post. I will look forward to your end of the month views of the garden. It certainly looks like you have had a bit of a roller coaster winter. We are experiencing extreme cold, but no snow yet...only a dusting that quickly melts. I am wondering what surprises Mother Nature has in store!

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    1. Thanks, Lee. I'm now finding that the name is not entirely original. But I like it and will stick with it. P. x

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  4. We have been hearing all about the polar vortex Pam. The South of England has been getting the worst of the bad weather here. We got our first scatering of snow last night. I think your end of month rundown is a great idea, I am doing my dumbded down version as a secondary subject.

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    1. I look forward to seeing your January happenings, Alistair -- dumbed down or not.

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  5. We've had crazy weather as well, alternating between warm rain and bitter cold. My confused snowdrops have been in bud for the last three weeks, waiting for the snow to melt and it to warm up again. I love your cold frame!

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    1. I love my coldframe too. It was custom-made by the young man who does our odd jobs. I gave him free-reign and he made it look an integral part of the potting shed.

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  6. You made January into quite a beautiful month! What a lively winter garden you have. One thinks of winter as such a dormant season but your pictures sure do show the wonderful changes which take place. Now if we can just get it a little warmer, right?

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    1. You are too kind, Frank. Well, it did get a little warmer, but now we have more snow on the way. Crazy winter.

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  7. I do this one
    https://downbytheseadorset.blogspot.com/2019/01/through-garden-gate-january-2019.html
    But January has slipped past me without a single picture, so my 'January' will be very early February.

    Glad the polar vortex is not hitting you too hard.

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    1. Thank you so much for the link, Diana. I plan to join Sarah's meme. See your there. P. x

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  8. Your cabbages look great. How did you refrain from picking the leaves for a salad? For me the temptation is too great. I think recording your garden month by month is a good idea. I do my vegetable garden and it is amazing how much it changes. I look forward to watching yours also.

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    1. Thanks, Jeannie. Actually, they are broccoli not cabbages. I don't know if they will ever 'bear fruit' -- it's sort of an experiment as I planted them very late and the Polar Vortex struck before they could mature. I could use the leaves as you suggest, though.

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    2. I stand corrected! I have different kinds of greens growing and have trouble telling them all apart. Of course, chopping off the leaves and eating them doesn't help with identification either. If your broccoli has survived the Polar Vortex, it's going to make it. I think it will suddenly take off growing when the weather warms a bit.

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  9. The weather has been rough here, too. Luckily, for us, it's snowing a great deal, which does help to protect the plants, though the conifers are having a hard time of it with the snow load. I'll take the snow any day over the Polar Vortex, though. We were down to -30F and that was without the 30mph winds. The poor furnace was running nonstop. I love the month by month gardening diary and look forward to it. I was so happy to see your daffodils!

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    1. Karen, -30? Oh my, and I thought -8F was awful. I'm in Arizona right now. What a difference!

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  10. Hi Pamela, It's great to meet you and share a link to your garden. Memories if my grandparents gardens still featured strongly in my mind. I think -1C is freezing so I can't imagine what -20 C must feel like! The effect of the ice storm in your garden looks so beautiful I hope your plants all survived. Sarah x

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  11. Hi Pam - what a lovely post. The snow makes it all so magical - especially love that outhouse with the moon in the door - is it a tool shed? Oh and the goat! Looking forward to seeing your next garden update. Best, Kim

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