The Garden in January

I’ve gotten totally out of touch with my garden since the last bout of leaf-raking back in November. With the short days and winter laziness, I’ve spent almost no time actually working in it. Mostly it’s been “hello, goodbye” glimpses as I race off to work in pre-dawn darkness and come back in the early dusk. I haven’t written a garden-related blog post for a while either, being engrossed in reading, writing, writing about writing, critiquing, tinkering with prose and making amateurish but sincere book trailers.

The garden goes on regardless. That’s one of the wonderful and scary things about gardens — they have their own lives, in which gardeners may participate or not. The extent and type of participation shapes the garden, of course, but even when the gardener is absent all kinds of things are going on. Today I took a walk around my garden and found some of them.


Rosemary is blooming, a surprise because it’s such an old, gawky plant in a less-than-ideal spot under an apple tree.


The Corsican hellebores — increasingly indispensable in this garden — are starting to bloom, and the oriental hellebores, such as “Ivory Prince” (shown below), are thinking about it.



Mosses are at their best now, with no lack of moisture.


There is a preview of spring, in the form of Tulipa saxatilis poking up among clumps of black Ophiopogon planiscapus “Nigrescens.”


And through all weathers, this little Opuntia cactus, originally from Ballenas Island in the Strait of Georgia, just sits there, intensely prickly (rather like the gardener on a bad day). Maybe it will manage to bloom someday.

This year, instead of a separate page for garden photos, I’ve decided to do a monthly “state of the garden” post, complete with pictures. This, of course, is the one for January.