Hello, everyone! And happy 2010!
A few of you have noticed that I took a brief hiatus from blogging and I appreciate the emails and messages from people wondering if I was okay or if something had happened. The only things that "happened" were the crazy holidays and a somewhat protracted bout with a rather nasty upper respiratory infection that hung on longer than I cared to deal with it. All gone now, though, and back to good health!
I've also been very busy with some work deadlines that had to be met, as well as redesigning my website. The new pages are not up and running yet, but I'm hoping by early to mid-March the website will have an entirely new look and be more functional and full of new information, photos, etc. I've also purchased another domain name and will be working this year on launching a new gardening website. For now, it's a secret, so that's all I'm going to say--just that I'm doing it. I haven't set any specific deadlines for it at this point until I know exactly what all of the details and parameters are going to be and exactly what the new site is going to encompass, but it's going to be good!
At 6 a.m. tomorrow morning we begin setup and preparation for this year's Antiques & Garden Show of Nashville. This is my 17th year of involvement with the show and it continues to be one of the most fun, but exhausting, weeks of the year. This year, we'll be installing a 1600 square foot garden based on a "spiral" theme. I'll try to post a few pics if I have a chance.
We've had a very long and unusually cold winter here in the Nashville area. The first big cold snap in January plunged us as low as 5.8 degrees Fahrenheit with considerably colder windchills and we stayed below freezing, even during the day, for over a week. I know that doesn't sound that odd to many of you from colder climates, but for here, that's a fairly serious cold snap. Especially true for those of us who like to push the gardening zones just a little. It will be a good test of hardiness for some of those more borderline things and in my garden, though I hate to see a plant die, I always consider an empty spot a "gardening opportunity"!
Oh no! Now I'm going to have to buy more plants!
Well, the foliage that didn't get freeze-dried on the hellebores (and a few other plants) during the first cold snap certainly did on the second one, although we were fortunate enough to get several inches of snow to insulate the garden against the worst of the cold in the second go-round. Many people from here would not use the words "fortunate" and "snow" in the same sentence, but I'm talking about the garden here and we were lucky to have it. If you are seeing burned foliage on some of your evergreen shrubs and perennials, just keep in mind that a new flush of growth in spring will push most of that old foliage off, anyway, so it's no big deal. You can carefully clean up plants such as hellebores, just to make them look neat and tidy, but be careful. Buds are alread showing and you don't want to mistakenly whack the buds when you're trying to clean up leaves!
As a brief digression, if you live in the South and you are not a transplant from the North or the Midwest (i.e. you were born and raised in the south and have never driven in wintry conditions), when it snows you should stay home. You are dangerous. They forecast even the possibility of snow several days in advance here so that you can get to the grocery store and buy up all of the milk, bread and toilet paper before it actually snows (I noticed on one local station that the weather report was being brought to you by your friendly neighborhood Kroger--go figure!) and you needn't endanger the lives of the rest of us who actually can drive in it. I'm just sayin'!
As I pulled in the driveway a few minutes ago from a morning garden design appointment, I noticed that the clump of old field "jonquils" on the corner of the driveway are about 4 inches tall and in full bud. They are loaded this year and if it warms up just enough, I might have blooms before the end of February! The buds on the 'Arnold Promise' witchhazel are just beginning to show a little color, though it will still be a few more weeks before "Arnold" decides to show off ('Arnold Promise' is one of the later varieties) and the earliest hellebores are really starting to push up now ('Ivory Prince', 'Winter Moonbeam', etc.). I'll trim the old, winter-burned foliage off of them next week, once I've recovered from the Antiques & Garden Show, and they'll be ready to lead the way for spring to make its grand entrance.
I'll be back on a regular basis from now on and I hope everyone has had a good start to the new year! See you in the garden!