Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Nodding in the cold rain, but still pushing toward the sun!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


This ornamental shrub in a city garden blooms early, long before any of its leaves appear. Its bare branches are particularly lovely brought inside for forcing.

Monday, February 18, 2008


The form and color of the amazing crocus communicates nothing but pure joy at the return of the sun.


My wife points out to me the bloom of another, rather peculiar, winter-blooming plant growing in a sidewalk garden in town. This is hellebore, often called Christmas rose or Lenten rose by the English.


The broccoli seed I planted just six days ago has germinated and begun to poke up through the soil in the little pots I placed under grown lights in an upstairs bedroom.


Spring proceeds apace in spite of the cold weather. The lengthening days encourage the blossoming of what I think is called “winter jasmine” in some of the gardens around town.


It is with great hope that I sat on the porch in the cold winter sun today to plant broccoli seed for starting inside under lights. As Thoreau wrote,

“...I have great faith in a seed...Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.”

02.07.08 SUNNY SPOT

It is so heartening to see the blooms of lawn "weeds" in a sunny spot during the cold of winter!

02.03.08 BIG BROWN BAT

The common name for this creature, since it is probably Eptesicus fuscus, was exactly what my son hollered as it fluttered around his room after we retired last night. It (and who knows how many cousins) must be hibernating in our attic and had some how found its way into his bedroom. It flew from room to room in the dark and by the next morning it had settled on the living room wall. I put on my heavy gloves and gently removed him, as I did he (or she) gave a big winter‘s yawn exposing its attractive bat teeth. I easily relocated the fellow to the woods behind the house and then took its portrait. I hope it finds its way back to our attic to complete its sleep. We appreciate all of the work this family does in reducing our night insect population every summer.


I spotted these groundhog (Marmota monax) burrows recently. Unfortunately I did not make it by on the morning of February 2 to find out the prediction on spring’s arrival. Given the usual bright clear weather of an Albemarle winter, they undoubtedly retreated for six more weeks of snoozing. These cozy entrances remind me of Tolkien‘s description of Bilbo’s home, Bag End, and it’s sunny location on the side of a hill in Hobbiton. Wikipedia reports that a groundhog burrow can contain 45 feet of tunnels up to 5 feet underground!

01.28.08 ICE KINGDOM

Water seeping from the hillside decorates the trail with the ice kingdom’s stalagtites.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I like to celebrate the end of the gardening year with a bonfire of garden debris (including the Christmas tree) sometime just after the first of the year. This year's holiday activity has delayed the ritual, but my daughter took this photo last year of the New Year's Day event.