Tuesday, January 26, 2010

January Garden Awards: And the Winner is...

Before digital cameras, blogs or social networking sites I used to keep a garden journal. I kept track of various things at different times. But one regular feature was a write-up of the "best in bloom" at that particular moment.

The "best" changed depending on what caught my eye in the garden. Sometimes it was the best plant--with awards sometimes given to the best bulb, annual, perennial, shrub and/or tree in bloom. Instead of or in addition to one or more of these I might also give an award for best combo or for most improved or whatever else strikes me. As the only judge, I make up the rules as I go.

There isn't much competition at the moment. Other than a few pansies and violas planted last fall, only the wild grape hollies are blooming in my garden. They are in the foreground of the picture with Nandina berries in the background. That makes them the "best in bloom" for January by default.

Usually I have daffodils, dwarf iris, hellebores and more in bloom. Not this year. Thanks to an extended period of freezing temperatures earlier, the flowers in my yard are behind schedule. With more than 500 varieties randomly scattered across our one acre lot, there is much more to come.

Daffodils are up everywhere and will likely begin to bloom soon. I noticed crocus, hyacinths, dwarf iris, and other winter bloomers coming up, too. Most bulbs like a cold dormant season. Unless they rot from all the rain or the squirrels and chipmunks ate them, it should be a good year for bulbs.

Perennials are mostly still dormant or reduced to small clumps of foliage for the winter. The hellebores look great but show no sign of blooming. Normally the entire clump is covered with blooms by now. The rosemary has a few buds but isn't blooming yet either.

On walks with the dogs I see a front yard featuring an enormous clump of dark red camellias in bloom that gets my award for most beautiful front yard. This early I give honorable mentions to anything blooming. I've seen pink blooms on trees with bark like cherry trees that I suspect are either plums or almonds, and shrubby clumps of canes covered with yellow flowers that I thought was forsythia when I first moved here.

I'll keep you posted throughout the coming year on the "best of" our garden. Hope you enjoy it. If you plan to be in the area, talk with me about guest judge opportunities. I know someone who could make it happen...

The Crotchety Old Man

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