Mid-January Garden

Today, Saturday, was a beauty of a day here in Chapel Hill with sunny skies and pleasant temperature of 61°F (16°C). In contrast, forecasts call for rain and maybe even a snow flurry Sunday morning and unseasonably cold on Monday with highs only in mid 30s and low 18°F.

Just after the grass was cut yesterday another heavy rain started falling. The ground was completely saturated again this morning.

Freshly Mown Grass Beside Meditation CIrcle

Freshly Mown Grass Beside Meditation CIrcle

I stitched together a panorama capturing most of the garden as it appeared around 8:45 a.m. looking westward from the top of the screen porch stairs. Sunlight was just reaching into the tops of the trees; the garden was still shaded.

Garden Panorama 2016-01-16

Garden Panorama 2016-01-16

About an hour later I had a chance to inspect the borders more closely. With leaves caked in mud this poor hyacinth, alternately enticed by days of warm sunlight and bashed by rain and cold, is the only one of its group to open. Others are up, but remain in tight bud.

Hyacinth orientalis ‘Woodstock’

Hyacinth orientalis ‘Woodstock’

By this time of year it is not unusual to have Hellebores in bloom; however, despite the many warm days this winter they do not seem to be opening very quickly. There are lots of buds.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) is spreading far and wide. Fortunately it is easy to pull out when it oversteps its welcome.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

I planted Euphorbia ‘Shorty’ (Shorty Spurge) last spring and am happy with its color and form. Still covered in raindrops it seemed to be dancing in the morning light.

Euphorbia 'Shorty' (Shorty Spurge)

Euphorbia ‘Shorty’ (Shorty Spurge)

Last winter was unusually cold and long and a late February 2°F cold snap ruined the leaves and buds of Daphne odora (Winter daphne) before it could flower. It eventually recovered its foliage. This winter it has already been blooming for several weeks. There are 3 bushes clustered together. This one in front is Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata.’

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Pansies are blooming throughout the meditation circle, but the plants themselves have not grown much. In spring they should fill out more.

A female Northern Cardinal was one of many birds happy to find the feeder has been restocked.

Female Northern Cardinal

Female Northern Cardinal

33 thoughts on “Mid-January Garden

  1. Christina

    I dream of having a Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata.’ Such a beautiful shrub, I’m sure our summer would be too dry for it and my soil is too free draining. I wish I walk past yours to smell it’s wonderful perfume (that would mean I would be visiting you too, which would be lovely!) do you have any plans to visit Italy? We’d love to see you.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Daphnes do like free-draining soil or so I’m told, but not sure about matching other conditions in your region. It would be lovely to have you stop by. I can imagine a long, long itinerary of places to show you. Can’t make plans now but going to Italy would be a dream Christina!

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Shorty is indeed about to burst! I’ve always heard Daphnes can be quite short-lived. These have been beautiful this year. After last winter’s cold I was afraid they would not survive.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks. The daphne seems happy in that corner location along the front of the house next to the drive. The house faces east. We enjoy getting to walk past it frequently and smelling its perfume.

      Reply
  2. Cathy

    I love the panorama picture Susie, and a freshly mown lawn in January is a lovely sight. The Euphorbia is looking great! Mine have been flattened by the snow, although it’s only a few centimetres.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Don’t think we’ve ever had to cut the lawn in mid-January before, but it seriously needed it. I hope to remember to create more panoramas at different times of the year, especially spring. Hope your Euphorbia recovers.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      You’re very welcome Judy! We had a few flakes today but nothing serious. Snows are infrequent here so even glimpsing snowflakes makes us giddy.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Daphne’s scent is indeed a treat. Glad yours are doing well too. I hope the panorama shot will inspire me somehow to work on the structure of the garden. We’ll see.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Daphne is a lot earlier than last year as it’s been much warmer this winter. Yes, the feeder is great. It protects the seeds fairly well from squirrels and a lot of different birds are attracted to it.

      Reply
  3. Beth @ PlantPostings

    That Daphne is really pretty, as are your Pansies! You make me want to move to Chapel Hill: We had a high of 1F/-17C here in Madison today. Blech. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon for us in January. I don’t like Wisconsin in January and February. So I’ll dream I’m in a nicer place. 😉

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Oh my, that’s cold cold! Every few years we drop to near 0F, but nothing sustained. It ruins the camellias and gardenias though when that happens. Well, try to stay warm and thin spring thoughts.

      Reply
  4. Pauline

    Your Daphne is fantastic, the perfume from all those flowers must be wonderful! We can’t get on the lawn to cut it, it’s far too wet, but it is so long, it really needs it!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Hi Pauline. Yes the Daphne is a sweet welcome-home near the front door. I do hope your lawn will dry out soon. It’s unusual for us to have to cut grass this time of year.

      Reply
  5. bittster

    Flowers and fragrance, what a wonderful story from the weekend. Here it’s much colder. No grass to mow, so that’s not all bad, but I wouldn’t mind soaking up some sunshine!

    Reply
  6. gardeninacity

    How lovely to see all that green grass in your garden at this time of year. Pansies, I think, are my favorite cold weather annual. Those Daphnes look very substantial – I’d like to give them a good sniff.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      The grass does perk up the otherwise drab garden. It seems backwards to me. When I grew up grass was brown in winter, but this will get stressed under the summer’s heat.

      Reply
  7. Frogend_dweller

    That panorama is really helpful in understanding the context for your meditation circle. Thanks. I don’t think I have ever seen so many buds on a daphne before. You must be treating it exactly right. Well done.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      It must be location that makes the daphne do well. I don’t do anything to it except trim a few branches for vases. I have heard they can be short lived and am hopeful these stay happy.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Pris. The pansies are under ice this weekend but they’ll probably bounce back quickly. Hang in there. Hope the storm will be kind as it moves your way.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Kevin for the good wishes. We’ve had a bit of snow and ice this weekend–winter excitement. I’m hoping to remember to take more panoramas to add to my record of the garden’s moods.

      Reply

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