Happy Garden New Year’s Day!


Our calendar is pretty arbitrary and there’s not much of a good reason to celebrate New Year’s Day Jan. 1, other than, I suppose, it’s far enough from the Winter Solstice so the coming of new seasons is obvious in the Northern Hemisphere.

When the actual New Year starts in a garden is a bit harder to say. Snowdrops bloomed in February in my back garden, but I think of these pretty little white flowers as a signal from Mother Nature that spring will eventually arrive—a foreshadowing of the future rather than the opening notes of the actual performance. A prelude.

To me, the New Garden Year begins with the first splash of real color, when the tiny little green spikes  pop open, and, suddenly, there they are.

Yellows and purples and whites and blues—the crocus, the crocus, croaking out the message. “Spring is here!” There is cold in the air, there may still be snow that yet falls, but forget about it, winter. Your time is done. Today, a new gardening year is underway in east Iowa.

Before hoping on my bike this morning, I did a quick look in back. I was wondering if I should grab my good camera later if there is still light this afternoon—if there is any growing things to snap photos of.

And there it was. One yellow crocus already open in the garden by the house. New Year’s Day is today! I took the image with my little point-and-shoot, but yup, if there is still light when I get home, I’ll be hunting more blooms with my Nikon.

Crocus

New Year's Day arrives in my back garden.

So here are my New Year’s Gardening resolutions:

  • I will create a new garden by the lilac bushes in the backyard. That process is underway already—I planted bulbs in an area where not enough sun shines in summer for grass, but before the trees shade that area, there is plenty of sun for spring flowers. I will have to edge that area off and consider a few later-blooming, part-shade plants.
  • I will try to talk Audrey into a front garden. She’s been after me to move peonies that I planted in the yard there. I won’t. I don’t mind peonies in the yard, and rather than move them, I’d prefer to create a flower garden around them. Why not? There is little sunshine in my yard, overall, and this is a sunny corner.
  • I will plant more trees. I don’t need to, and I know it. But 5 of the 10 Arbor Day trees in my home office are starting to awaken, and I’m thinking some of the others that are asleep may wake up (the oaks are holding back). I can’t use all of them (Cate, Pat, Katy, Mimi—anybody want a tree?), but I can plant some of these behind the fence. And I will fit a few of them in the crowded, woodsy backyard. I really, really want to keep the sweet gum, but know it’s a problematic tree, too. Stay tuned for the future sweet gum saga.
  • I will trim the back bushes around the deck before going to England. Time to cut those suckers down to size, before they leaf out and hide my pretty backyard.

Well, a new year is always exciting, a time of hope and renewal. This is the year when we’ll find out if planting crocuses in our yard was a good idea—although, of course, it was. Some plant catalogs have arrived and Audrey and I have agreed that we’ll hold steady and not order more plants.

Except, if I sweet talk her—maybe I’ll have two gardens to put plants in? One can only hope.

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