A brisk walk around the garden............

I couldn't stand it anymore. The temperatures were falling after the high we had of 35o F. Tonight is going to be bitter, as the clouds are drifting eastwards after yesterday start of intense fogs, misty rains mingled in with some downpours. With all the humidity, and the temperatures dropping to 28o last night, you FELT the cold.
I was standing watching the little flying dinosaurs flinging chaff to the ground to be scratched thru by the ground birds. Six kinds of finches on the thistle socks, nuthatches, chickadee's, a rosy finch, gold finches, bluebirds as tiny as the largest one of them, white and black ones with yellow on their wings like sergeant's stripes, two kinds of smaller woodpeckers, bluebirds trying to thug their way to the seeds but the sheer numbers of the finches and oh the cardinals! kept them scolding and rowdying above the horde from the Pawlonia branches.
Cardinals, screaming scarlet males with dark markings watching over the hens. We counted at least seven pairs of them. Even in the cold, the hens were beautiful with their buff and soft rose reds.
I went to the front door that I keep open for the added light and was looking for signs of emergence. I couldn't stand it anymore. Sugar was whining at me to please let her go outside, so I grabbed up my soft hat and fuzzy jacket and looked for the digital camera to shove in my pocket. We headed out the nook door, leaving Rose asleep in Squire's reclining chair snoring, twitching and woofing in her sleep. As soon as the screen door popped, we heard her bark awake and realize we'd left her behind to go outside. It was funny to see Sugar head right back to the cat window and stick her head INSIDE where her and Rose usually look OUTSIDE and sniff the air. It was as if she were trying to console or ridicule Rose because she got to go out and she was asleep and missed out this time.
I stopped at the Cornelian Cherry tree. My little twig leaf dogwood, so loaded in buds for late winter it's all knotty looking. I can't wait to see this tree with some maturity on it. Already at a tender 8 years it wow's me. I sucked in my breath.....little glimpses of sulphur yellow poking out of rosy folds of the perfectly round buds tucked at every twig juncture. The fairies have been busy despite the frigid temperatures lately. I took a couple of pictures up close of the emerging buds. I'm not sure they'll turn out. My fingers were getting numb.
In amongst the brown of the previous summer's growth I saw green tongues poking tentatively out of the ground, almost as if tasting the cold air for signs of temper and welcome. Sugar was sniffing around when I spotted the purple-green rosettes of my sempervivums in the hanging spagatti strainer, in the various pots all giggling in the cold, waiting for spring's warmth to allow them to take a breath and open their little jagged succulent leaves more and grow.
I was shocked that the cobweb hens and chicks I'd bought in the cactus section of work were actually thriving. Just a little bit of frozen damage to the outer leaves was the only sign of stress, but tucked inside that was green and viable tight leaves waiting for true warmth.
Everywhere, sharp little tongues of irises shouldering the brown leaves aside to claim as much sunlight as they could get. Tiny little razor blade green shoots, no more than an inch tall in some places. And everywhere the glossy, obscene green of the vinca major. I swear this stuff grows in the winter cold!! I see wherew I could pull up at least a garden cart of it and still leave some behind for the effect the blue flowers have on me. I am tucking in every piece I pull up under the outside edges of the black cherry bed to ramble where they want to. I know I'd regret it but I'm actually thinking of tucking some under the mulberry stump on the northeast corner of the carport near the first drop off to our woods. Let it tangle and fight the poison oak and ivy..........
In a broken pot I planted with a yarrow, tiny, miniature ferns of the new growth sit all blotchy purple green and waiting. Next to it, a Commander Hay hens and chicks with a great round, purplish globe of artichoke like leaves sitting quietly until spring where it will attempt again to grow a chick to replace it.
The winds were cutting thru the jacket, and I scanned other area's quickly and was pleased and dismayed to see the Eye of the tiger iris leaves were up even more than last time, and tucked amongst them were the ferny threads of the coreopsis.
Light was fading fast and my fingers were more numb than I wished, my gloves being inside the pockets of my down coat in the house......so I took one more picture and called Sugar to follow me back inside. She was most obliging. One last look at the dark green palmate leaves like green fingers splayed outwards of the Hellebore's underneath the narrow walkway towards my nook, lighter, more tender green baby leaves with promises of flower stalks hidden still shining up at me as I hurriedly pulled open the screen door and Sugar darted between my legs and into Rose's face and chest. Warm air rushed to greet my face and here I am. The pictures are about to be downloaded into my Paint Shop Pro program and if they're worthy, I'll keep them in the file where all my photo's live until I can put them on a disc to save.
I'm already getting a bit of spring fever in this early part of winter, but given a bit of time, the Cornelian cherry tree, crocus, and Helebore will satiate me until true spring rears her head for another year.
Thanks for letting me ramble a bit today, I look forward to hearing from you about your little pieces of paradise wherever you are, be it a container garden, rooftop garden or a real tropical garden. They're all our little pieces of nature and wonder no matter how large or small.
The soft gray of evening's dusk has just lit the dark branches of my black cherry tree in the eastern window of my nook and the glow of sunset has lit the cacti in the north room from the western window. I'm sure the little fairies are all tucked under leaves and mosses for the bitter night ahead. Until later.......
madgardener up on the ridge, back in Fairy Holler, overlooking a sunset lit English Mountain, in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36
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I absolutely love cardinals :) my favorite birds. In the 27 years I've lived here I've only seen one male cardinal. We have blue jays, cow bird egrets, snowy egrets, 4 or 5 kinds of cranes, ibis, red tailed hawks, several other kinds of hawk, little fat chickadees (I think), grackles, blackbirds, doves and vireoles. The squirrels have finally discovered the new fence and are using it like a super-highway.
My mostly wild rose is trying to bloom again, three of the 4 buds have opened. The chrysantemum I thought was dead is coming back and the bougainvillea has new leaf buds all over it. I bought one of those plastic birdbaths that look like stone and I want to train the bougainvillea around it.

I have a package of hen and chicks seeds to plant in an old terra cotta baking dish I got at the local thrift shop. The lid will make a great planter too. I've lost a few plants to the dry heat in the house (my mom refuses to let it get down lower than 72 in the house and my sinuses are paying for it along with the Stanhopea occulara that bit the dust) My Christmas rose is dong great as are the Meyer lemons and iris. Snails have attacked the amaryllis and I've seen huge black wolly catterpillars near the amaryllis too.
Shell
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