A list of New Year resolutions gardeners and rescuers.
In the new year I vow to:
Nurture more. Feed the earth with organic nutrients; plant smaller to grow stronger; and mulch…mulch…mulch.
Protect more. Save precious resources with earth-friendly products, preventative pest measures, and judicious use of water – something that will be in short supply again this year.
Re-use more. One man’s garbage is gardener’s compost; cuttings and divides extend the garden and can be shared with others to create their own.
Welcome wildlife. The garden is for sharing with all.
Even those mischievous bunnies.
And appreciate the beauty of all seasons – including the dry, dead stalks of winter.
Resolution thoughts for my rescuer friends:
“Accept the pain, cherish the joys,
resolve the regrets; then can come the best of benedictions – ‘If I had my life to live over again, I’d do it all the same’” ~ Joan McIntosh
Welcome the New Year with joy.
This is the note I found in my inbox this week after failing to post last weekend: “Did I miss it or did it go on vacation this week?”
It’s nice to be missed. But just as the garden winters, gardeners (and bloggers) need to take time to rest, recharge, appreciate the quiet of winter…
and let the true meaning of the holiday spirit sink in. This week at Homeward Bound is about celebrating pups going home in time for Christmas,
and enjoying the company of dogs and friends.
One of our volunteers shared this message today. I could not have said it better:
“It’s such a blessing to find one’s passion in life and be surrounded by those that share the same. I love my given family, but my chosen family and I get each other. We have laughed together, gotten frustrated together and most certainly cried together. I love you all and wish you and yours a blessed 2014!”
I wish you all the same.
Two weeks of low 20-degree temperatures overnights (unheard of in the Sacramento Valley), and there is not much left to show you in the garden.
It got an overdue drink this weekend – after the hoses thawed out. The forecast says the worst is behind us for a while.
The only color I have to share with you this week is on the Christmas tree;
the only birds that made an appearance today were stuffed.
So to warm your hearts – I give you Charlie and Linus (photos courtesy of my friend, Rob) –
two pups that arrived at Homeward Bound barely four months of age. They were accompanied by a very unwelcome guest: parvo. You can read their full story here. Suffice to say, they were blessed to have Homeward Bound guardian angels looking down on them. Most times, the prognosis is not good. A few weeks later, our miracle pups are healthy, happy and ready to roll.
They are also adopted.
Both went home this weekend, just in time for Christmas.
I can’t think of a greater gift.
Just a week ago, the garden still managed a display of fading, but beautiful color. Then came the cold.
From west to east across the nation, the freeze is on. The garden has bowed to winter.
“Autumn to winter, winter into spring, Spring into summer, summer into fall, – so rolls the changing year, and so we change; motion so swift, we know not that we move” ~ Dinah Maria Mulock
Record-breaking overnight lows have burst pipes and snapped the flowers from their stems.
The frost lays like a blanket of crystal ice across the landscape.
The sun shines for a bit…until the icy cold blows in again.
Fur coats, shorter outings and warm hugs keep the dogs safe and cozy.
At home, white lights and frost covers protect sensitive plants.
But the Memorial Garden is in the country and on its own while this cold snap drags on…and on…and on.
“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
“You only need sit still long enough in some attractive spot in the woods that all its inhabitants may exhibit themselves to you by turns.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Lest you think I never leave the garden. 🙂
The squirrels know. It’s time to store away and prepare for cold.
The Sacramento Valley has true seasons; it’s one of the reasons why things grow so well here.
But the overnight temperatures we are expecting this week can wreak havoc on sensitive plants and fruit trees.
True cold does not usually arrive until January, but this week we’ll see night-time temperatures in the mid 20’s..and that is way too cold for our newest orange tree. Planted in honor of the beloved Shelby, it should be well protected from the hard frost thanks to a special tent which lets the sun in during the day and keeps cold out at night.
Because the garden is on its own during the week, we just have to do the best we can to prepare it. This means we don’t cut our perennials way back until spring, with the withered leaves and stems providing some protection for the plant crown. We also ignore the blanket of leaves which serve as insulation until the danger of frost has passed sometime in mid-February. They also help to keep some moisture in with the water turned off.
Where do butterflies go in such cold?
The Dahlia bulbs have been tucked into a dark box and covered with vermiculite for cold storage in the garage. My favorites are labeled with gardener tape.
But we can pretty much say goodbye to these last hold-outs from the season. They have served us well.
Hello to winter grasses, pruning chores and dreaming of spring.
Good thing we have pups to keep us warm.