The Winter Garden

After hibernating during the recent cold snap, it was time to check on the status of my P-Patch garden to see if there was frost damage since some of the spring bulbs had already shown signs of breaking the surface of the soil. All was well and my beloved roses were happy that they had been pruned back and given a treatment of horticultural oil to suppress fungal spores when it warms a little.

I was unable to seed a cover crop in the fall so as an alternative I placed burlap bags (thank you Starbucks) on the vegetable garden after I had spaded in an ample amount of planting compost. The bags worked as there were no weeds in the vegetable garden but I must get busy soon as the freeze didn't seem to stop the growth of shot weed, fireweed, chickweed and, of course, those hardy seeds from last years nigella were sprouting.

After looking at the bare veg plot, I decided it was time to go on my yearly walk through the UW Arboretum's winter garden. My timing couldn't have been better, as the late afternoon slanted winter sunlight was at it best showing. As I approached the winter garden, the enjoyable scents started filling my senses. The garden was alive with various shades of flowering hamamelis (witch hazels) and the Garrya ellipitica was feeling proud to display its sensuous catkins letting me know the alders will be soon to follow.

The winter sunlight had warmed the flowers to create a delight of different warm scents from the sarcococca (sweet box) and daphne and, of course, the witch hazel. A woman walking her dog walking through the garden told me the scents always remind her of white chocolate. Point well taken. As the light slowly progressed to sunset, the brilliant salix of varying colors really showed their brightness.  

I always enjoy looking at the different barks on deciduous trees in the winter as they are not shadowed by leaves and their structures are more visible. This winter walk through this mass of winter bloomers is well worth the time as for me, it's inspiration and a reminder that the impending spring season will soon be upon us.  

When I came home and refreshed the birdfeed for the chickadees, juncos, and a multitude of bushtits, the little white flowers on the sweet box hedge seemed to be more pronounced and the spring bulbs, breaking the soil surface, seemed unconcerned about the recent freeze.

How many days until Spring?