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Message from Anne

garden photo 1Winter 2011

So far it's been an unremarkable winter which is fine by me. We did have one or two cold stretches that made the plants shrivel and shiver and respond with a few browned leaves. But just maybe these more mild days of mid to late January are a sign that the worst of winter is behind us and we can move toward the rush of early blooms which are already beginning in our garden.

garden photo 2Before I discuss what's happening now in the garden, I'd like to share a true 'gardener's escapade' from Christmas Day. We had a rather quiet day as we were waiting for my son Jeremy and his girlfriend, Sonya to join us from California and they didn't arrive until nighttime. So with no rain and not a bad day weather-wise, I decided to plant tulip bulbs in my pots at the front entry. I collected new potting soil, the bags of bulbs, tools, gloves etc. and set to work. Now I have often planted bulbs late into the garden but never on Christmas Day! The task was pure pleasure as planting into pots is oh so much easier than dealing with heavy, compacted clay soil in the ground. I had to remove plants in my pots and put the bulbs underneath, but this was simple and as I planted I began to have visions of these fantastic new tulip varieties ablaze with color in the April garden. I had such a sense of accomplishment when finished and I had gotten my gardener's fix in the middle of winter on a holiday. What better gift to myself in the moment with many gifts still to come when the bulbs bloom later.

garden photo 3Please refer to my Winter 2010 article for a full description of garden clean-up for the winter. I haven't done much yet this January, but with clear days coming I will try to do a little each day such that most pruning and clean-up is accomplished by mid-February. Just remember to wait and prune roses last as a late cold spell could damage the new cuts. I also describe the most common plants blooming in our garden at this time of the year. One new one which has just opened is the Lonicera fragrantissima, which I have kept in a pot so I can place it near our back door to enjoy the fragrance. It's a winter honeysuckle and if you have room for it in the ground give it plenty of room as it can be 8 ft. tall and wide. I actually like the form it's kept in the pot and I'm going to keep it going that way as the rest of the year the plant is unremarkable. The fragrance is heavy like Daphne odora or citrus and it really travels over a wide area. The small white flower is rather interesting but not showy. It can be followed by berries but ours has not matured to that point.

garden photo 4The lengthening days are helping to beat back my winter doldrums and in February we'll have the local garden shows tempting us to plant too soon. The Yard Garden and Patio show will be held in Portland from February 18th thru the 20th. There are always lots of great lectures, display gardens and other happenings to convince the NW gardener that spring really is just around the corner. Please note that our own open garden season will begin on Sunday, April 17th. There is also more information on classes we'll be giving locally plus all our open garden dates on our "Home" page. We look forward to seeing you in the garden this year and I hope you come by to see the tulip bulbs in full splendor in late April.