Bloomin’ Update 17: Anticipation

One of my favorite Christmas carols is “In the Bleak Midwinter,” and my thought was to use it as the basis for a “Bloomin’ Update” post with photos of wintry scenes.  But this winter hasn’t been so bleak.  In fact, it feels more like mid-March than mid-winter.  Perhaps a more appropriate title should be “In the Balmy Midwinter.”

Holly berries.

Hardy Geranium

That’s why I decided to do something I’ve never done in January.  I took my March stroll, the walk around  the yard when I look for bits of green, tiny buds, and any hints of  the coming spring.  As I pushed fallen oak leaves aside, I felt like a kid searching the house for hidden Christmas presents — which, Mom and Dad, I never, ever did. 


And the song going around my head?  Carly Simon’s “Anticipation,” because no matter what the temperature is, winter is “keepin’ me waitin’.”


Climbing Hydrangea

Autumn Joy Sedum


157 thoughts on “Bloomin’ Update 17: Anticipation

  1. It’s abundantly clear how much we have in common. Amazing wit, devilishly good looks, a dab hand with a broom, a miracle worker in the garden & the same choice in plants. These could easily be shots from my own back yard…weeeds n’ all!
    Couldn’t, however, think of a witty song to put in your head…brain not running on full cylinders today! x

    • Hello Alistair. Today, February 1, the temperature topped 60 degrees. As much as I enjoyed the warmth, I’m a little concerned what this is doing to the internal clocks of the trees, shrubs, perennials, and wildlife. A very odd winter.

  2. It has been a strange winter…I don’t really know what to make of it. Should I begin my spring garden chores or should I wait and see what happens…hmm-m… It is nice to see the buds, blooms, and sprouts…gets me in the gardening mood…

  3. Of course weeds.

    “And their strength is mighty, and their name is legion. If there were no other enemies which the gardener must fight, this one of weeds alone is quite enough to tax all his powers and patience.” Celia Thaxton, An Island Garden

    Thanks for the link to this book! And, again, for the Versatile Blogger nod. My daughter is visiting now, so I am coasting with vintage photo posts, but I will follow up on that soon.

  4. Just did the end-o–January pretending it’s March stroll yesterday. I was happy and dismayed to see my crocuses in full bloom. I scolded them soundly saying, “Don’t you guys have any idea how you are messing up my entire spring bulb plan???!!!” They refused to go back into the earth. I suppose I’ll just have to enjoy them and hope they don’t start a mass bulb uprising (pun intended) in the garden. Love the hardy geranium pic!

  5. I have more weeds growing with this mild winter than flowers I think. LOL! It is amazing and a little scary to see the plants starting to grow so early.

  6. Two weeks ago, this would have been a very good description of my garden too, here in London. Today, we are in the midst of a big freeze here in Europe so severe that people are dying! Sunday we expect to wake up to 4 inches of snow, in London….how quickly things turn….I’d take the mild winters any day!! Loved your photos, as always 🙂

    • Helene,
      Frozen images of Europe are all over the news here. After our mild winter, it’s easy to forget how cold cold can be, and how dangerous. Stay warm and stay safe.

  7. Kevin, In Gettysburg, the Feb. 1 temperature felt like April 1. Like you, I’ve found myself outside looking for new growth in the garden — and finding a surprising amount of it. I did see one long-range weather forecast that was predicting colder than average temperatures for the second half of February and for March. So maybe Punxatawney Phil (the most famous groundhog in Pennsylvania) was right about 6 more weeks of winter — but I’m finding it hard not to feel complacent about our mild winter thus far.

    • What I find interesting is how quickly I forget how cold cold can feel. I’ve heard the same forecasts and I’ve watched the footage of the frozen temps in Europe. Time will tell, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for mild.

  8. I like the version by Jars of Clay, Bleak Midwinter. Very nice. Mellow.
    Yikes! Did you pull that henbit while you were out there?
    I cannot imagine this is the last of the winter. I mean, really? That’s all?
    The bugs will be horrendous, if this is all we get, dontcha think??

    • Hello and thank you for visiting my blog. So far, so good — the mild weather continues and spring is in the air. That’s enough to give anyone an appetite! Happy harvesting!

  9. Yup, I’m another one who’s just done the same. In fact sat in the garden and found myself planning the clean-up and replant as though it was April. Waiting for the other shoe to fall, as it were, and all the lovely buds and spring blooms to get hammered under the weight of heavy snow and high winds. Bit spooky, really, for round here. (place – north England) 😉

    • Hello and welcome. So far, the weather seems to be holding up — no sign of snow and cold. I’ve seen on the news about the frigid weather encasing Europe. Stay warm — and here’s hoping to a speedy return to spring. Cheers!

    • Feel free. Actually, I’m a fan of weeding — but right now I like them because they’re the greenest things in the yard. A few more month and they’ll be out. 🙂

    • This is definitely a winter for the record books. I wonder what impact the mild weather will have on spring — besides the weed explosion. Enjoy the weather while it lasts. 🙂

    • Glad you found my blog, and I look forward to visiting your site. I haven’t seen buds yet — other than some crocus. But my eyes are wide open and eager for the thrill of spring. Enjoy your day.

    • I was so surprised! I thought something was wrong with the stats page when I saw the numbers going up and up. An amazing resonse, and I am so thankful for your support and encouragement. Best always!

  10. Fresh photos. I really enjoy those first hints of life after winter. When I take my dog for our daily stroll in SoCal I always feel like we pass all four seasons. There are fall leaves, fresh blooms, bright summery flowers, and of course the occasional dead plant.

    • Glad you liked the photos. I’m trying to restrain myself from cleaning up all of the autumn and winter debris in an effort to hurry up and bring on spring and summer. Everything in its own time. Enjoy your long walks.

    • Glad you found my site. I keep waiting for winter to get here — so I use the yard debris to keep the plants somewhat protected. I mean, winter will arrive. Won’t it?

      • I did not catch which part of the world you are gardening in, Kevin, but I truly believe it is giving us a miss in Southern Ontario this year. The snowdrops know best, and they are coming up.

      • I am located on Long Island, NY. The winter here has been extraordinarily mild — I just keep waiting for any sort of winter blast to get here. We shall see. . .

  11. The balmy midwinter indeed! Just posted a similar entry about Boston’s breaking flora. I love your hydrangea buds peeking out of the crown. As we would say up here, they’re just chaahhhhming. Congrats on getting pressed!

    • I will definitely pop over to your site. This whole pressed thing has been amazing. Thanks for commenting and here’s to hoping we continue to enjoy a mild winter.

  12. Vivid colors for bleak mid-winter … so unlike last winter in the midwest. My dogwood has buds showing since last week. The earliest I ever remember.,,

    • I do wonder if the mild weather will have an impact on trees and plants. I haven’t seen buds on the dogwood — yet. It’s only a matter of time. Thanks for commenting!

  13. I love the sedum! But why oh why must weeds be so prolific? Mine aren’t growing yet here in Idaho…but they’ll be out with a vengeance soon. But they are pretty when you take a picture of them like that (and they’re in your yard…not mine).

    • I’m glad you can vicariously enjoy my weeds. It’s pretty amazing how green they are. A few more months, though, and they’re out of here. Thanks for commenting!

  14. Your pictures are beautiful! They remind me of my father, who loves his yard and takes wonderful care of it. It was warm last week where I live, also. I took some pictures at the park. Flowers were in bloom. It has not been a bad winter. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hello and thanks for commenting. You may be a plant lady, but after visiting your site, it’s safe to say that you’re also a book lady. Happy gardening — outdoors and indoors.

  15. Your blogsite is very interesting, and I find your responses very amusing and profound at times. This site gives the gardener something to think about on the indoors!

  16. I don’t remember it although you might think I do, but the blizzard of 1888 was in March.
    All we can do is hope for an early spring.

    • Thanks. I’m not too sure about the weed and feed — I never use the stuff. I like to weed the old fashioned way — but that’s another post. Glad you stopped by. Cheers!

  17. Sue from Grainry Antiques – great post! My azaelas are budding already and it’s going to freeze next week here in southern Indiana. Guess i won’t have these beautiful flowers (my favorite) again this year! My grass also needs to be cut! Waaay too early!

    • It is very early! I hope the freeze isn’t too damaging, but perhaps Mother Nature will be able heal herself do it’s not a total loss. Thanks for commenting.

  18. These beautiful pictures are sure to inspire our gardening group members in a very cold Scotland! Thank you.

  19. Wow! Thank you for sharing, and congrats on all the comments 🙂 I love the Bleak Midwinter carol too. I am originally from the midwestern US and it gets pretty darn bleak out there some times in the winter.

    I always get that song stuck in my head, but when I sing it, I have never known anyone who knew it though, so it’s nice to read your post and know I’m not the only one!

    • Thanks for finding me. I find this particular carol very haunting — and I know for a fact that you and I are not the only people drawn to it. Hope you’ll be back again. Cheers!

  20. This is a nice post. Any bloom is a reminder of new beginnings—hope. Your article inspired me to be more keen on the “blooms” around me. Thumbs up!

  21. Great post! I moved to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee earlier this year, so I am seeing ‘what comes back and when’ here for the first time. I tossed out a bunch of poppy seeds this fall, as they seem to grow well here. As Stevie Smith said of the blossoms in the gaudy print of her maiden aunt’s floral dress, ‘every one came up’. Looks like I will have a vivid red swath in my garden this summer.

    • That sounds amazing. I am a fan of red in the garden, and this year I plan on having lots of it. Stay tuned for a future post. Hope your garden dreams come true!

  22. Nice blog, man! Something I want to work on this summer is my gardening. When I was little I used to help my parents with a our HUGE garden every (extended) summer, and I really miss digging my hands in the dirt. Thanks for continuing my new (old) urge to garden!

  23. I love the photos and the reminder that spring (and gardening season) is not too far around the corner. However, this year, it may come earlier than normal with the unusual warm weather we are having:) I enjoy gardening as well as photography myself. I will have to admit though….I’ve always taken loads of photos of my gardens in bloom but have yet to take photographs of them before they pop out of the grown…perhaps this is a chance for some new shots!

    Looking forward to keeping up with your blog:)

  24. Great photos! I did my first gardening today. Pruned and mulched the collards that have overwintered. Pulled a few weeds. The garlic is looking great as are the onion sets I set out earlier.

    Northcentral AR hasn’t seen any brutal cold at all.

    • Congratulations! I haven’t done any gardening — just picking up branches and hunting for hints of spring. Seeds will be started in a few weeks, and I cannot wait to get dirty! Cheers!

    • Hello and welcome. It’s funny — I started this as a gardening blog with occasional photo heavy posts. Whatever the reason, I’m thrilled that it was selected for “Freshly Pressed.”

  25. Beautiful pictures! I can’t wait until Spring… Winter seems to me to be longer than usual this year. I’m looking forward to my garden bursting into bloom, but perhaps I should go out and look for the little first signs like you have!

    • I understand that your part of the world has been blasted with winter cold. Here, on the east coast of the States, it feels like spring wants to start, but winter keeps doing this dance. Actually, we have very little to complain about in terms of winter cold here. Stay warm, and thanks for your comment.

  26. Your post and blog are lovely! This year I had to move from my long loved and tended garden in the northeast USA where I also took spring review of the garden. I am now transplanted (lol) to Shanghai China and live in a high rise where my gardening can’t extend beyond the herbs on my windowsill. It was so nice to read your blog and remember the days where I still needed gloves but I could feel the first hints of warmth on the back of my neck from the winter sunshine. I was totally transported. Thank you.

    • Thank you for your lovely comment. Glad I could stir some memories for you. By the way, it does not matter how large or small your garden is — as long as you can make something grow and enjoy the rewards. Enjoy your day!

  27. What wonderful pictures of your garden, I was so thrilled a few weeks ago to see signs of life from the bulbs I planted several months ago in my own little patch, but mother nature has given us a real icy blast and my little garden is covered with snow and has been for a week or so now. Roll on Springtime in England…

    • I’ve seen the news coverage of the weather in Europe. The nice things about bulbs is that they’ll slow down in the cold, and then restart when it warms up. Hmmmmm. Sounds a little like me. Thanks for commenting.

  28. Pingback: Shakyard » Not So Bleak, This Winter

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