Saturday, December 27, 2014

On the Third Day of Christmas, Mother Nature Gave to Me ...

a truly glorious day!

I keep telling you that if you do not like the weather in Central Virginia ... just wait five days.  And this time it was really worth the wait.  It's the kind of day when the 18-year old next door has the top down on his car and people wanting to stroll around the neighborhood are having to get starting times to control the crowd.  68 degrees in the garden - right now!  Glorious.

Finally got the last of the fall clean up done and put the garden to sleep today.  
The sun is so low in the south, that at just past noon, there is already shadow nearly across the whole yard.
It's not as pretty as in June, but it has a calm stillness that I enjoy.  Nothing left standing today except grasses and evergreens.

But if you look closely there's lots going on....

Remember my obsession with ranunculus?  It's all the fault of my blog friends who also are floral designers [you know who you are].  I didn't know anything about ranuncs until i started seeing them in your lovely arrangements, and then my quest to grow them began.  Have planted them year after year hoping for a bloom.  One year I planted four dozen and actually got - drum roll here! - one, yes one, blossom.

Last March Big Blue Box store had them in planters.  I bought many pots and used them in lots of my big planters - a full two months before the normal time to set out planters in these parts.  Thoroughly enjoyed them for about a month and then they went dormant, and i put new things in the planters.  So imagine the thrill I had this morning when I saw this:

and this:

Cannot imagine that they will survive the cold to come into bloom, but i've been hoping for a lot of years and don't plan to stop now. 

Mother Nature didn't stop there, either.  The mini-rose that has struggled for years [until i replanted it in organic potting soil and started a regular feeding schedule - duh!] has a dozen tiny buds opening.

The blueberry is covered with buds for a bumper crop next spring.  [Remember that the most i have ever gotten is half a handful, so "bumper" is a matter of perspective!]

And, would you like a bit of arugula!  It seems to love the cold weather, and tastes just fine.

Or, how about a bit of cilantro?

So far, no signs of the camellia blooming this year.  We had a hard freeze right after the buds came out and they don't seem to have ripened at all since then.  The helebores are late, as well, but i see lots of new growth coming up, so maybe they will adjust, too.  One can hope!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

My Christmas Wish ...

... for each of you is that your days are merry and filled with those whom you love.

Knowing each of you has made my year better and I thank every one of you for your comments, thoughts and encouragement.  Knowing you makes my world brighter. 

Peace and Joy!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Garden Fest of Lights

It's been a long time since we visited a garden, and only one thing could drag me out on a cold winter night a week before Christmas ... lights!

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens - my down the street five minutes local garden - knows a fund raiser when they see one, and for the many years they have packed 'em in nightly from Thanksgiving to New Years with their light show. 

It's almost as much fun for adults alone, as it is with children - and we have enjoyed it both ways.  This year it was just the two of us strolling together and enjoying the colors and imaginative displays.  Well, we did take that new camera of mine (with a tripod!) and had a great time. 

We arrived a few minutes before sunset  [ok, so i mis-read the time for sunset.  it could happen to anyone!] but the local train club enjoys sharing a room full of trains and tiny building, so we let the sun go down in peace while we visited the trains. 

These three signs are reproductions of actual signs in Richmond.  The Sauer's sign is still there and still works- the baker is pouring vanilla into his bowl.   
Once it was dark enough, tho, it was on to the main event.  
A hundred years ago, the site of the Gardens was the site of a bicycling club - men only they point out.  This year's theme was the history of the Gardens and featured bicycles of all sorts throughout. 

Like this one!
Or, this "tree" made of shiny silver bicycle frames!  Ok, so it was weird .... but shiny!
The herb garden was sprouting these pretty "herbs". 
And these were plastic tulips with lights in the center.  Even the real ones looked a little out of focus - honest! 
The "tree house" in the Children's Garden is always one of the highlights.  This year it looks like a giant bowl.  There were dozens of kids running up and down the spiral ramp to the top.
The trees around the original building were hung with shiny wheels and thousands of white lights for the gazebo.
 the prettiest views are the ones over the ponds

and across the lake. 

 It's a wonderful garden during the day, but a magical place at night.  We always say, "oh, we can skip it this year..." and we never do!  We've even been known to grab a couple of children to take with us ... just to make it even better!

Hope your days - and nights - are filled with light, too.