A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Springtime in January

We have been enjoying balmy weather for virtually the entire month of January. Daytime temperatures often reach the 50's and 60's (10-15 C). We did have one nasty cold snap last weekend. I took my usual nightly walk on Saturday evening. It was 60F (15.5 C) and pouring rain. When I left the house 90 minutes later to go to work, the rain had turned to snow and ice. Everything froze over night. My driveway is on a slight incline, just enough that I had a tough time the next morning walking (sliding?) down it to retrieve my paper and then trying to skate back up it to get to the house.

The only casualty so far has been my birdbath. We have been getting lots and lots of rain so it has been filled with water. Normally at this time of year, it is empty. The water froze during the cold snap and shattered the bowl.

This is a new bowl. I bought it last Mother's Day to replace one that had also broken during the winter. I'm going to have to start storing the birdbath in the shed during the winter. I have to have one. I enjoy watching the birds enjoy it too much to do without one.

I took a stroll around the yard today to see what was being fooled by the unnaturally warm weather. There the usual crocuses and daffodils. Those I'm not concerned about. When the weather turns nasty, they just go dormant until it warms up again. What worries me is seeing the new growth on columbines and hollyhocks:

Look at this lilac. It looks like it is about to burst into full foliage:
I don't know where those leaves you see in the background are coming from. I keep raking them up and they keep reappearing. They're not blowing in from the neighbor's yard. They are much better about raking leaves than I am.

What has me really worried are my rosebushes. All of them have leaf buds and some of them are even starting to get leaves.

If it gets too cold for too long, I'm afraid those buds will die. Without leaves, the bushes will die. All I can do is cross my fingers that they will make it through the winter alive.


At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Judith said...

I have lots of bottoms to my bird baths, but the tops don't seem to survive for long, like yours. Crazy temperatures this winter! I have leaves like you have, I rake & they reappear.

At 4:44 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Maybe you can splurge and get a copper birdbath that won't break. I'm sure it would be a pain to drag it to the garage every winter. Or, how about one of those birdbath heaters, that keeps the water from freezing all winter? It will increase your electric bill but will also increase your pleasure, as the birds will visit all winter.

At 10:58 PM, Blogger Sylvana said...

I have some large pottery that I didn't Get a chance to bring in before things froze. I am hoping that they will be OK because I can't replace them!

At 1:40 AM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Kathy, I don't have an outdoor outlet to plug a heating element into. And I have a rechargable mower! To recharge it, I run an extra long extension cord from my shed in the very back of my yard, all the way up to my house and into a kitchen window, across the kitchen floor to a wall outlet!!!!! Not something I want to do all winter long so that the birds can have "hot tub" privileges.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

Old Roses, my house is over a hundred years old, and I didn't have one either until my husband wired one in, and that didn't happen until we had to tear the wall apart for another reason. It is terribly inconvenient, I know. But the services of an electrician are not cheap, either. But if you ever have to have electrical work done for another reason, see if that can be added in.

At 9:29 AM, Blogger crazygramma said...

Because I live in an area where we also get the cold freezing days and then spring like days I take everything into the shed for the winter. It is a bit of a pain but the only thing I have to worry about over the winter are the high winds that wreak havoc on the arches and trellis.

At 2:13 PM, Blogger kerry said...

Around here I've seen people take the bowl off and lean it up next to the bird bath once the weather starts getting below freezing.


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