For those of us who enjoy digging in the dirt, the cold part of winter is a time for planning. It is a time of thinking about what I’d like to grow in the veggie garden this year, and looking for some new flowers for the perennial beds. Long time readers may recognize this silver pot with the large bulb as my red amaryllis. It is coming up again, for the fifth year! I’ve never had one live this long, and I am excited to see if it blooms again.
A couple of weeks later, and it is growing nicely, still no flower spike yet.
A gift from a friend over the holidays, I now have a rosemary plant. I have never had much luck with these, so I’ll be carefully tending it over the winter then planting it outside next spring.
Caring for the plants brought inside is a bit of a challenge as we get so very little sunlight actually coming in the windows, only a sliver is available in the mornings. The entire front of our home is glass, but the large verandah overhang limits the direct sunlight except in winter when the sun is lower to the south. Pulling back the curtain early and rotating the plants that get the direct light through the window is a daily chore. Today, the white amaryllis, my rosemary plant, a succulent and a bulb get the light for about an hour.
There aren’t many chores for January, especially when it is so bloody cold. It is a great time to sit in front of the fireplace and look at gardening books and magazines, read the Farmer’s Almanac, peruse the seed catalogs, and dream.
This book, Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady, was a Christmas gift from DH.
It is a totally charming book of poetry and art by Edith Holden. It is divided into chapters by month, and is just enchanting.
It is available at my Amazon link – Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady.
Before the new year, the turkeys came back for a short visit. I noticed them in the lower meadow, and stepped outside with some bread for them. They came running and I had to move fast to get a pic of them coming. This small flock has seven females. At this point in time, I had not seen a male for quite some time.
Bites of bread were thrown in different directions to make sure everybody got a few. They came back one more day, and then apparently moved on.
Sunsets are sometimes really lovely, when the clouds are still drifting by. Even as cold as it has been, the valley views are spectacular.
This cold has brought the birds in large numbers to the feeders. DH is having to refill them almost every other day.
This larger woodpecker has figured out how to get some of the food, even though he is too big to get inside the cage.
A flock of about a dozen goldfinches is taking advantage of the bounty, sometimes all of them will be on the three feeders at once, but that has proved difficult to catch in pictures.
Some readers have asked about how I keep the squirrels out of the feeder, so here is the setup from a distance so you can see the whole thing. The top feeder is almost 9 feet off the ground, with the others hanging slightly below. The pole is far enough away from the house and the trees so the squirrels cannot jump to it. The baffle below is a tube baffle to prevent them from climbing up the pole. We remove the lower feeder and the suet feeder in the warm months to keep the bears from getting them. But they are hibernating now, so we can put more food out for the birds.
It is available on Amazon – Audobon Torpedo Steel Squirrel Baffle.
The female cardinal is coming regularly, she doesn’t migrate so she depends on our feeder. The male often comes by to eat too, and sometimes they come together.
I have a head start on the veggies with the seeds saved from this year’s crops and meals. See how I saved seeds Here. The Farmer’s Almanac says the best days to plant seeds for indoor head starts will be February 5-7, so I need to set aside some time then to get the grow lights cranked up and the potting soil ready.
A couple of days ago, this young male turkey paid us a visit. He may have been here before, as he readily began to cluck-purr when he saw me come out with a bit of bread for him. I am hoping that the flock will return soon.
Back inside, when I planted all the bulbs in October, I held out a hyacinth bulb to force indoors. It has taken it forever to root, probably because it wasn’t chilled for forcing. But it has finally made some long roots into the bulb vase, and is beginning to look like it is going to put up a flower. There is a second little stem coming up from the bottom and side of the bulb, and I go back and forth as to whether or not to pinch that off. On one hand, it might be taking energy away from the main bulb, but on the other hand, it might grow enough to create another separate bulb for planting. Would you keep it?
What is going on in your garden? Gardens must be getting lovely for readers ‘down under’ in NSW, New Zealand, and Australia. Are you in a planning mode? When do you plan to start your seeds?
22 thoughts on “January In the Garden 2018”
I have 3 of those jars for rooting bulbs now and love them, I had paperwhites in them for Christmas but also root other bulbs in them. I didn’t think to get any hycnthia’s wish I would have love the way they smell. Great set up for the bird feeders. I never have luck with the rosemary in the house I too have a long porch and it prevents all the sunlight coming in the house in the winter – I have one area but it is full of plants and can’t fit more
The hyacinth is looking very promising, I would keep the side shoot and grow more! I love your cardinals, we have blue jays, but I love the red! We are about ready to inventory the pantry and planning out the garden, but probably no seedlings until March, since we often can’t put them out until mid May. The first things in the ground will be sunflowers in March and potatoes on Good Friday!
We never see the turkeys in the winter but in the early summer before they have their chicks. And for quite sometime after, until thy are almost as big as their moms. They usually stay about 50 feet from the house and run if we try to throw anything out. We don’t leave food out because we have a lot of coons and they like our chickens. While I like to feed and watch the coons, she was eating out of our hand, she had babies and started bringing them up to eat. that is when they started getting our girls. We stopped feeding them in the midddle of summer and shooing them away so they would not depend on eating here in the winter. It seem to work have not lost any more chickens. We had to put a top on the run and lock the coup. They were getting them at night. But we no longer let them out of the run even in the day unless we are with them. We do walk with them daily. We look like the pied piper.
I’m going through my seed catalog now too. Guess I had better be starting to order
I’d keep the side shoot… you can never have too many hyacinths ♥ I’ve been busy planning out the veggie garden for next summer and deciding what seeds to start using the winter sowing method. More milkweed of course for the Monarchs. ♥ The birds here are going through the sunflower seeds like crazy. There are more birds out there every day…. I swear they are sending out messages to all of the birds in the county to come here to eat 🙂 We are expecting ice later today so I had better get out there and get everything filled up.
I think I would rather have your porch than sunlight in the windows…so what are you going to do! Tradeoffs! I have shop lights set a few feet above a counter in the basement that works really well for extra light for houseplants & overwintering plants…I cycle them down there when they seem to be getting leggy. And it is a sort of workbench for little projects. I have been having more success with rosemary by not planting it out, but just taking the quart-sized pot out and putting it with the other pots, then bring back in in October. I think it must be more sensitive to disturbing its roots than living in a pot. Mine even bloomed last summer! Have spent the past week and a half taking everying off the storage shelves, and getting rid of almost everything I have needed to “store” instead of use, and just ordered a set of led strip lights from Amazon to fix to the top of one shelf and expand my growing area. I like to grow greens all winter (sort of microgreens..a little larger) and have run out of space. I also take cuttings of several different scented geraniums in the fall, and those root so easily, but now need more space and repotting. Need to start thinking about the garden and see what seeds I need to order. Have a desire to plant some fruit trees this spring, but…. Bracing for freezing rain this morning, but at least the temp is up to 29, instead of single digits! Have a lovely Sunday!
Okay, if the top feeder is 9ft off the ground, how do you refill it?
I gave up feeding the birds because the squirrels defeated every thing I tried and getting to the feeders through the snow was difficult.
No vegetable garden because of the deer and other wildlife.
I used to start lots of seeds, but don’t anymore.
Sunshine here today, but still very cold. A slight warm-up is due this week.
DH gets out his 12-ft ladder.
Rosemary grows virtually wild around here and some folk even prune it as hedging! Living in an upstairs condo with a south-west facing balcony, my garden is all in pots. The ground temp occasionally drops to the low 30’s around here, but I have not had any issues, even with the temporary poinsettia pots.
I have a dwarf Meyer lemon tree, deliberately chose one with lemons already formed, so have been picking them one at a time to use. There are quite a few bunches of flower clusters forming, too. Never grew citrus before, so there is a learning curve here.
I have a large box planted with a variety of mini-bulbs, over planted with arugula and spicy radish grown for its leaves, both being scissor-harvested for salads right now, also a box of mixed herbs.
Will add two rose bushes, one or two tomatoes and one or two pots of dukes and such that can grow on mini-trellises in a while.
Turkeys, Canada geese and deer are abundant in my large gated/fenced community, but I have no responsibility for the grounds, so don’t even look to see what they are eating!
Colder and less rainy than usual this time of the year in the Bay Area, but nothing like the frigid temps on the east coast, which I do not miss!
A flock of turkeys is called a “rafter.”
Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady I have this book and year ago Noritake made a china set with the drawings and sayings. I have the whole set, love it. Thanks for sharing your garden.
Oh your photos are sensational. You must have a beautiful property. It is nice living out in “the sticks” I could never enjoy city life. I love the foxes and all of the birds, and the deer. I dump all of my sewing scraps from my cutting table, into the woods across the street for the animals. I always find a time to do it with the kids next door and we pick a good spot each time. Then we like to imagine what the birds and the squirrels will do with all of the soft bits. Gosh, I must do this again soon, I have two full bags and the last dump was early last Fall. I better plan a day with those kiddos. The neighbor has five, but the three youngest are usually the ones interested.
All of the kids are growing up here. growing up going to college and moving out. The good thing is all of us are getting old and help each other, and a few of us lucky ones are enjoying grandkids to play in the woods and view nature.
Your new book looks great. Now I want one
Great post today, as always. I haven’t had luck with Amarillys but growing rosemary here is very simple, and thety survive the cold winter, grow even in poor soil, and don’t like fertilizer. I nearly killed off my rosemary bed one year when I used fertilizer on them. They love full sun outdoors. At least that has been my experience with these hardyj, evergreen, delightful plants. :o)
I love seeing all your winter birds…I should do more to attract them. LOL!! I harvested marigold seeds….hoping they take in the spring?? (I honestly have no idea what I”m doing with them…LOL) Anyhooo….what happened to your snow? I thought for sure you’d have some. How are the fire quilts progressing??
Hi Carole, yes, our gardens in New Zealand have reached the mid summer point. Lots of deadheading and starting to get that hot dry look. We have had very little rain here,so are only allowed to water every second day with hand held hoses only. Our gardens stay in all year round as in my region we very rarely get snow. Love my garden too.
I so enjoy reading your posts …. seeing your birds, and seeing what you’re growing! Thank you, Carole!
Your rosemary looks so much happier than mine!
Hi Carole. I find it so interesting reading how you manage your garden, with your winters. Here in South Australia (“the driest state in the driest continent “) we have a bounty of summer vegetables and fruit. I even have lots of big pumpkins already, about 2 months early this year. On Saturday we had a maximum temp of 41C, about 105F. There are a few wilted leaves on the vegetables, but the plants are well mulched and deep watered, and will recover with a day or two of cooler weather, before the next onslaught. We have a very large garden, with flowers somewhere, and birds, all year. We are very lucky. Pauline
This Christmas I bought my mum and myself amaryllis bulbs. It’s our first try. I hope it succeeds this year and for years to com.=e.
I am enjoying a vacation from our garden. We have had so much company that I haven’t even glanced at the garden for weeks. It didn’t help that during the really cold weather, we kept the drapes drawn over the sliding glass doors. I enjoyed the photos of your birds and turkeys. Beautiful!
Even though I am an avid gardener, I kill almost all plants inside. Thank goodness our plants stay outside in Winter. The day you wrote this post, it was 45ºC (113ºF) here, with only slightly cooler days on either side. We are watering like mad to keep everything alive. I enjoyed looking at the photos of your birds. The birds here are appreciating our bird baths.
Have been hibernating mostly doing some of my projects. Enjoyed seeing your pictures of all your birdie friends. Those woodpeckers are rascals like our squirrels. He has figured out how to use his longer neck and beak to his advantage hasn’t he? Guess you will have to figure something else to keep him out.
Please let me know how your rosemary does: I’ve killed so many every Christmas since I moved here! have no idea what the secret is. One lasted almost long enough to get it in the ground, but whoops! Grocery store ones, expensive nursery ones, it didn’t matter. I have a “dead” one in my car right now because I can brush it and it still smells good. Keep thinking I could probably take the needles for a spice jar, but haven’t been sure. Just letting it smell up my car! Has anyone saved the already dried needles for cooking or sachets?
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