A lone crocus, saffron gold, wide open to catch the sunrays brought such joy to my aching heart. Yesterday's walk-about hammered home an important fact. It ain't spring yet.
The constant melt and freeze of the left over snow on our gravel driveway created huge sheets of ice. Even in the afternoon when the ice has melted, the water has nowhere to go so it just re-freezes overnight.
Viola "Bowles Black" was a gift from a garden friend several years ago. A single plant in a 3" pot it now has seeded itself sporadically across a 4' patch of the garden. On New Years day when the temperatures were mild there were quite a few blooms on this sweetheart. Yesterday's blooms were so tiny and shriveled that one could almost see them shivering, yet, the promise is there.
The Hellebores are a wonder to me. Hellebore foetidus is so heavily laden with buds that it bows down under their weight. Another promise to come, blooms will be here as soon as Mother Nature gives smiles upon us and gifts us with some gentle winds. It's almost too good to be true when one considers the beauty of the Hellebore foliage through out the rest of the growing season.
Looking carefully beyond (and trying to ignore) the carpets of chickweed I was amazed at the tapestry of winter foliage. Oenothera, the common Evening primrose has the most beautiful burgundy winter foliage. The rosettes hug the ground and spill across harsh, frozen soil.
Grayish green, the Arabis albida "Snow cap" has clambered along the new stone walls braving any weather conditions thrown its way. Just beyond the Arabis, peeping out from the dingy snow the spiky glaucus blue of the Dianthus "Doris". "Doris" might not have been the prettiest Dianthus for sale at the nursery but my middle name is Doris so of course she had to come home with me.
Hamamelis "Arnold Promise" is another late winter wonder along with all the other fabulous witch hazels. My own shrub should be renamed 'Arnold's Punishment' as it has refused to bloom for the past two years. The punishment is well deserved as I forced it to live a miserable existence in its little gallon pot along side the shed for 3 years. Just up the road at my friend Gianna's house, "Arnold Promise" is about 15 feet tall, covered in the most glorious yellow blooms and their intoxicating scent welcomes you before you even cross the property line.
Back in the house, I find myself curled up on the sofa with a huge stack of gardening books next to me. In the dead of winter I can't get enough prose. Give me pages and pages of words to stoke the dreams of my mind. Now though I want photos. Tons and tons of pictures that are chock full of color.
The wait for spring is unbearable, a physical ache. Just a few days or weeks away, around some hidden corner, spring must be waiting for us.