2012.02.15 GBBD What a difference a year makes!

In 2011’s February Bloomday I was full of hope talking about spring being just around the corner with bulbs flowering and tulips shoots coming through. I boasted that I was ahead on work especially weeding and I remember enjoying seeing all the signs of life to come, well what a difference a year makes! My Hesperides garden is still covered in snow, now icy and hard. It thaws a little each day but it is difficult to imagine that very much is really growing. Luckily I used a lot of mulch in the last year so hopefully weeding won’t be too much of an issue.

As you may have seen in January’s GBBD post there were still many roses blooming and everything had new shoots, I was panicking about when I was going to prune the roses as they didn’t seem to be having a dormant period. Luckily I pruned the Wisteria on the pergola at the front of the house; the white ones on the side are still waiting. Many of the roses still have foliage, turned red to protect the plants; as soon as we have a few warmer days I will prune all the roses and move one that I want to add to the new planting I made in autumn. The garden needs the moisture that the melting snow will provide; we’ve had very little rain since the deluge in September. The ground water levels need to be high before the long drought of summer.

The crab apple gives some colour

The Nandino is cheerful

and hope from the buds on Viburnum tinus

The snow has high-lighted how many birds now live in the garden; when we moved here, there were few plants to help feed the birds during winter, now there are more hedges for the birds to nest in and many seeds and fruits for them to eat. In the snow I saw the impression of wing beats of the Little owl where it had taken some small bird or perhaps a mouse, I left a few pomegranates on the tree and the fruit has been pecked clean; although I’ve seen birds on the crab apples they don’t seem to be actually eating them as the tree is still full of tempting, cherry red fruit. I do see the birds clinging to the grasses and so I imagine that they eat grass seeds. I leave most seed-heads during the winter for their interesting forms and also to the birds. This is the first 15th of the month when there have been no flowers for a Bloomday post; so now I understand why Carol dreams of May! I’m dreaming too this month so if you want to see some terrific blooms from around the world visit Carol at Maydreamsgarden.  Carol has more blooms than me this month so this might her fell happier.

There was one lone flower, a very confused Santolina, my one 'bloom' this month

Don’t forget Garden Blogger’s Foliage day on the 22nd of each month; what’s looking good for you foliage wise?

26 thoughts on “2012.02.15 GBBD What a difference a year makes!

  1. Like you, the flowers that came inJanuary, in the mild weather, are now burnt with the frost, we are now having alternate mild/frost/mild and more frost is due this weekend. Plants have to be so resilient don’t they, to cope with what is thrown at them, love your Santolina!!

  2. I am often surprised at how much the garden changes in a year. We moved here about 7 years ago, and all was grass. We have done a lot in those 7 years, and we hope to do more. I look at photos from the first few years, and it is so satisfying to see how much things have grown. I love your photo of the lone Santolina bloom in the snow…says much about the season.

  3. It’s lovely to know that by creating your garden you have also created a great habitat for wildlife.
    They’ve just said on the radio that David Cameron is going to host a meeting about what to do about the prospect of severe drought this year. Some parts of Britain have had a very dry winter after a dry autumn so the worry is there won’t be enough water this year. Fortunately I live in Wales and it doesn’t feel as if we’ve been short of rain this winter.
    Hope the thaw speeds up and you have your garden back soon.

    • Your problem could be that England will take all your water. I am almost grateful for the snow because it is melting slowly intot the ground and not running off so should be doing some good. Christina

  4. Weather can get very confusing – since I started gardening I have become so much more aware of the vast differences there can be in seasons year on year. It makes nonsense of “do X job in Y month” since you have to be willing to adjust to the changing conditions.

    Wonderful that you have created a haven for birds and other wildlife in your garden, they must be extra grateful given the snow cover. I hope your roses enjoy the snow melt and thrive, whatever the rest of the year throws at you in terms of weather.

    • I was listening to ‘Gardener’s Question Time’ and they pretty much said the same thing – plants are more adaptable than we sometimes think so we should do the jobs when it seems best and not try to stick to rules that don’t always apply. Christina

  5. It is amazing how the birds appear when the snow comes. I put out a bag of apples every day the other week when we had snow, they all went nothing left. I put some out on Monday after the snow had gone and they are still there.

    Would love to see a little owl

    • I like the idea of apples, they don’t sell birdseed here – not an Italian thing to do at all. The Little owl lives on the roof and is there all year, during the night we can hear the calls, which are strange – not really owl-like. Christina

  6. Our snow is slowly melting here from last week, but we often have snow even in April and sometimes May! I hope not this year.

    I bet that once it warms up where you are everything will grow like crazy! And it is so nice that you are able to have birds around. They are brave little creatures to be out and about even in the midst of snow storms! We are always amazed in seeing ours.

    Happy GBBD!

  7. You have had a lot of snow Christina. At least all the bugs will be killed off. It’s still mild here and we seem to have escaped the snow. we leave all the seed heads for the birds but they do seem to prefer the sunflower seeds etc that I put out!
    It won’t be long before all our gardens are blooming again.

  8. Christina, your first photo is really lovely, with the red crab apples, the blue-grey foliage and the white snow. I’m sure you are tired of seeing your garden like this, but I enjoyed it very much.

  9. Ciao Christina,
    Thank you for thinking of me. In fact we were ‘snowed out’ raher than snowed in and could not reach the house for 15 days – a neighbour tried to go there to check on the place and gave up. We had about 40-50 cm the first fall then another 20-30 cm the second time. So a bit more than you but more a problem of drifts in the small roads rather than the snowfall in general. The main roads were cleared and gritted very quickly – whilst Rome was at a standstill with only a coupe of cm. In the city centre cars were required to have snow chains and no motorini allowed at all!
    We managed to catch the little local train to Rome as the bigger trains that cross the Appenines were all at a standstill. Had we not done so, I wouldn’t have been able to get to work. In fact I was in Bucharest the other day and the snow conditions were almost the same as here.
    Anyway, as you say, this is the water we were so worried about. As the contadini say: ‘Sotto la neve c’è pane’.

  10. I am amazed by all the snow in your garden! It is beautiful and extra special that your garden has become a winter shelter for wildlife.

    My roses still have their leaves, too, and seem to be skipping a dormant period. I was thinking I may as well go ahead and prune them. We did have some freezing temperatures this week but fortunately no harm done to the budding plants and blooms in my garden. We are not out of winter yet. Our biggest snow ever was in a March, so it could still happen.

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