Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hope is on the horizon

Here on the rainy side of the Pacific Northwest, January is a dark, dreary month.  The days are still short, and clouds and rain are near-constants.  Most of my gardening this time of year is of the armchair variety--poring over seed catalogs, reading back issues of garden magazines, and imagining the perfect garden that will, of course, never exist.  We had a rare sunny winter day yesterday, though, so I was able to weed two large flowerbeds and plant some poppy seeds.  I also spent a few minutes outside with my camera.  My yard seems nearly barren except for the evergreen trees, shrubs, and ferns, and spring seems a long way off.  If I look closer, however, I see the first signs of spring.  Here--let me show you:

Hellebores are the earliest-blooming plants in my garden.  It's such a delight to see some color on these dark days. 
Hellebore ready to bloom


The vegetable garden isn't a complete wasteland.  Here's some garlic, along with a couple of winter weeds I was too lazy to pull:
Garlic and a couple weeds

Continuing with the edibles, both the red and green rhubarb are breaking ground:
Red rhubarb breaking ground

Green rhubarb breaking ground

The woodland garden is beautiful even in winter, because the sword ferns look fresh and green:
Winter view of my creekside woodland

I don't know what those mysterious red berries are.  They grow on wild vines that I keep mostly pulled, but I let a few stay so I can enjoy the berries in winter.  Here's a closeup:
Mysterious vine with red berries

And then there are the spring bulbs.  Daffodils and Spanish bluebells are just starting to break ground:
Daffodils and Spanish bluebells breaking

And finally, filbert catkins grace the winter landscape:
Filbert catkins

It's still winter, but the days are getting longer, and the first plants of spring are pushing sleepily through the sodden soil.  Hope is on the horizon...