January Surprises


This week I was blessed by the usual end-of-January boost that we get around here. It always surprises me, because most of the month, and probably for a good bit of February, I am struggling against the dark and sometimes the cold. I think I am depending on the Christmas lights around my kitchen window to bolster my mood. But this is the time that we get some sunny days and I have to go into the back yard to do some kind of chore, and suddenly I see buds and flowers, and smell the fresh and cool air.


P1120323 manzanita buds
manzanita – Arctostaphylos

On the Monday holiday, Soldier son came to prune the wisteria and the plum tree, but didn’t have time to cut up the branches and get them into the trash, so he made a tidy stack under the tree.

I considered hiring a young man from church to finish the job, but it seemed like that might be more trouble than tackling it myself; I have often done this part before. On Thursday I decided to have at it for 20 minutes and see how much progress I could make.

It was so lovely to be out there, I ended up spending more than an hour, and I reduced the stack by about half. This cherry plum sends up very straight branches every year and I always want to save a bunch of them, envisioning row markers or bean poles or even just kindling for the wood stove. So I made a separate pile of those. It makes me feel young and strong to work with those loppers and my leather gloves, and I even enjoy the slight muscle ache that arrives two days later. This afternoon I pretty much leveled the pile of trimmings.

snowball bush buds 1-24-15
snowball bush – viburnum macrocephalum

I kept brushing up against the strawberry tree, and its little pale green fruits dangled around. Pale green leaves are sprouting on the rose geranium, and I wandered around the garden to admire tiny buds on the snowball bush, the earliest spring flowers, and the beginnings of manzanita blooms.

P1120314 strawberry tree
strawberry tree – Arbutus unedo

Sara inspired me this week with her post about following a tree, and I thought of observing our strawberry tree. I think I won’t take part officially in the group project, but I have observed now in January, and that’s a start!P1120309

The yard waste bin was not big enough to hold all the twigs and branches I collected, so I filled a couple of these garden containers that are a modern form of trug. After the big bin is emptied next week I’ll dump the rest of the clippings in. And then I better prune my dear rose bush!












9 thoughts on “January Surprises

  1. So envious of your signs of spring and especially those snow drops. Those are so delicate and beautiful. I pruned back my rose bushes the other day and thought I had done something monumental. Not really though, but in the cold it sure felt like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely California winters. Theres a very different kind of winter beauty here on the plains. We all seem to be birders. there’s vast “leaflessness” and deep blue sky makes all the migrating birds very obvious. The Cardinal couple at the feeder are close friends and bring joy in a landscape of grays to brown. The Blue Buntings will be here soon, I must get their house ready!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m worn out just reading about all your gardening! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s amazing how green it is where you are. Unimaginable here in upper Minnesota! Glad you’re enjoying it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have not trimmed my rose bushes yet. I feel terrible as I always do that by now.

    I have to get to it next week. I think every thing is just lovely. I am so surprised by the buds that are arriving almost daily. I love that picture of your snowdrop.


  5. Ah, we share the delight of the winter garden! Here in the Northern part of the country ( on the coast only) the various types of Viburnum are blossoming! Gay bursts of pink against the rain washed landscape! My pruners are getting ready to shape the variety of bushes we have. I learned a few local bits of garden advice: don’t prune the roses till the forsythia blooms! Right now it hasn’t happened, but it will in the next few weeks, as the buds are swollen. Hope you and Mr. Glad are enjoying your time together!


    Sent from Samsung tablet


  6. That kind of outdoor work on a good winter day is so rewarding! I know just what you mean. An active, bright woman can keep doing such work into her 90s. I’ve never heard of a strawberry tree — please keep us posted about it!


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