January 15th; we are slowly making our way through January. It’s my least favorite month of the year. After a festive December, January seemingly holds nothing but 31 cold and gloomy days. But, surprise, we have some days above normal. I walk around in a turtleneck with a sleeveless vest and must unzip halfway through some light garden clean-up as I am overheating.
About 6 weeks ago I cut back the willows, both the Hakuro Nishiki willow in its shrubby form as well as the grafted tree form. Now I have heaps of (6 to 9 feet) long willow branches ready to be cut down to fit into the garbage container. But not all the branches will be thrown out. The Spouse comes out to help on one of these nice days and together we cut and trim. The side branches on main stems are cut off as well as the thinnest ends. I keep the rest; branches about 5 to 6 feet long, which I plan on recycling in the garden. Since willow branches are very pliable, they make excellent material for weaving. I pile the left-over branches in the back yard, waiting for another warm day to start weaving near the fence. Then it snows, but sun melts it pretty much all the very next day.
Foliage from bulbs is up several inches, tricked by the warmer days. It stops growing as the weather turns cold again, and while the ends may look the worse for wear, eventually all new foliage will appear and flowers too. Spring may still be many weeks away, but I can see the promise of spring all around me. Maybe January isn’t so bad after all!