Hallelujah! January has come and gone. 31 long and dark days I did my best to ignore. The weather wasn’t too frightful; a few inches of snow now and again and at the very end of the month an Artic cold snap which brought temperatures down to single digits and even down to 1 degree. But it didn’t last long and now we are in for a “warm snap” going up into the low fifties in a few days. What a welcome surprise that will be.
Looking through old photo albums I came across pictures of the spring garden in Holland, blooming less than six months after I left. My father, the gardener, had been busy planting lots of bulbs in fall and my mother took pictures of the resulting eruption of color. While I lived in a fourth-floor walk-up halfway around the world I held a piece of home in my hands, probably wishing I could walk around the garden and sit down to admire it. I was lucky to be able to go back almost every year to visit family and while both of my parents are now gone, we still return every few years. Funny how pictures can transport us back in time, decades ago but it feels like yesterday.
In the basement seedlings are starting to grow. Watching an (English) gardening show on YouTube I came across a nice ornamental grass being used in a garden. It was called Milium effusum ‘Aureum’ or Bowles’ golden grass. It is a brightly colored (gold!) grass which likes a moist and shady spot. It can handle clay soil and grows 12-16 inches tall. In other words, a perfect addition to my garden where I can plant it under the willow and then add to that my yellow blooming Louisiana irises to brighten up the space. A quick search on the internet showed me it wasn’t for sale anywhere in the US, which is ironic as it is also known as “American millet”, but seeds could be had from a store in the UK. Not content to buy just one packet of seeds, I also picked up a few other grasses and within a week I had my seeds. I started my first flat of seedlings about 14 days ago and by now the first blades of grass are up about an inch. The second flat was started 7 days ago and the last flat I started today.
As always, I couldn’t control myself around the primroses in the grocery stores. These bright beacons of spring in the middle of winter were only $5 for 3 plants and after I bought the first 9 in various colors, I came across the bargain rack with plants for $1. I brought home 3 more and now have an even dozen in shades of white, yellow, orange and red. I just repotted them in bigger pots and by April I will be able to put them outside in the garden where they will bloom for years to come.
Days are getting longer and by March 10th we will have an extra hour of daylight as Daylight savings starts; YEAH! It will be here before we know it, or so I hope. In the meantime I dream of flowers to come.