Introducing L.J. Gibbs
Bloom Day-February 15, 2016

Winter's Treats

Cornus 'Midwinter Fire'
Cornus s. 'Midwinter Fire'

There is much to be said for winter in New England. I know, it is cold and dark but cold is good and dark is restful.  Every gardener needs a bit of a rest when dreams of past and future garden glory can take over. Nothing is as beautiful as the garden was or will be next season. All is possible. As for the cold, it is necessary for some plants in order to produce flower buds. This process is called vernalization. The actual definition of vernalization is ' the induction of a plant's flowering process by exposure to the prolonged cold of winter, or by an artificial equivalent.' Other factors are, of course, important and you can read more about the process here if you wish.  As a gardener, I would submit that I need a 'vernalization process' as well. The tropics are not for me at least not for more than a week or two in the middle of February. A warm climate is lovely but cool temperatures restore me.  There is nothing like a walk outside on a cold day as long as one is properly dressed for the low temperatures. Anything over 15F is comfortable for a walk. The air is clear and there is often an energetic crunch of snow underfoot. Sleeping Maiden2The world is mostly black and white here in New England in winter but those few spots of color, color which would not be noticed during the height of June bloom, is cherished and appreciated. The boxwoods punctuate the landscape and the bleached stems of tall grasses lend subtle color and movement to the garden. Oak LeavesA walk in winter requires greater attention to detail. The sights and sounds are much more subtle than at any other time of year. The trees talk in the rustle of the oak leaves, which are slow to fall, and they define this environment. Pine trees whisper and tell their secrets to each other.  The lights of Christmas have been replaced by the few bright plants glowing in the garden. The bare stems of the Cornus stolonifera 'Midwinter Fire' cheer from the sidelines providing bright contrast against the Dwarf Alberta Spruce. The low cotoneaster sprawls at ankle height and its berries yell unnecessarily for attention.  CotoneasterFor me, there is yet another reason to walk in the cold these days since Gibbs has joined the family. Gibbs with a snow facePuppies need a bit of exercise and this pup loves to chase the secret scents of winter. He has already embraced the field and the stone walls which provide nooks and crannies to investigate.  Gibbs is eleven weeks old today and it has been three weeks since he has become part of the family. He loves to chew sticks, acorns and pine needles not to mention socks and fingers. Gibbs chewing sticksMany people think winter is not a great time to add a puppy to one's family but I would disagree. These short days with no gardening to be done seem just the perfect days to watch a puppy grow.