Sunday, February 6, 2011

Delayed Gratification

Camellias, pansies and a few others usually start blooming in my yard in November or December. Unless the temperature drops below freezing for more than a few hours, they'll keep blooming through April. Having color in the garden in January is one of the great joys of life in the Deep South.

Thanks to a January cold snap that kept the mercury below freezing for several days, the 2011 gardening season is off to a late start. The only color comes from a few scattered pansies. This is the second year in a row cold weather has delayed the start of the blooming season.

Last year the delay upset me. Those first blooms are somehow the most precious flowers of the entire season. January is depressing without color in the garden.

January came and went again this year with nary a bloom in sight. Unlike last year, however, I'm not depressed. In fact, I'm a little excited.

I still patrol barren flower beds in search of signs of spring. And I have to admit, I am just the tiniest little bit disappointed by the absence of color. But I've learned that good things will come if I just wait.

Carefully tended gardens always improve with age. The joy of gardening comes from watching the season unfold. Each comes with its own mysteries and surprises.

Sooner or later, every variety will bloom. In milder winters it's a slow and gradual build-up of color over many weeks. The delayed start this year means everything will come on all at once.

I don't know what the groundhog saw, or what the Farmer's Almanac has to say. I don't care either. It's going to be a spectacular year in the garden, or I'm not...

The Crotchety Old Man

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