What a difference a few weeks make. Not long ago, we were experiencing the still and quiet of winter, along with the glorious sunrises that seem to happen mostly in the colder months. The first stirrings of spring, in the third week of March this year, came as distinctive sounds: the pre-dawn and pre-dark buzzing and twitterings of the woodcocks in the meadows and hedgerows, and the chirping of the spring peepers and other frogs in the vernal pools and wetlands that are common in our neighborhood.
The snow seems to be gone for good now, so I’m finally making progress on the garden cleanup I didn’t get to tackle last fall. The work is so routine now that it leaves plenty of time for contemplation. It’s easy to start dwelling on the various planting and design mistakes I’ve made over the years, but that’s a poor frame of mind to be in at such a promising time of year, so instead, I try to focus on what I’m happy with. I’ve come up with lots of things to be positive about, but overall, the best decisions I’ve made for the garden have been related to creating an abundance of holding beds.
We’re finally seeing a few signs of the growing season starting here in Pennsylvania, but there are still several more days before spring officially arrives, so I’ll indulge now in one of my favorite winter topics: botanical nomenclature. One subject I haven’t covered yet is plant names that relate to the body parts of all kinds of critters, including people. Usually there’s some relation between the body part and the shape or texture of the flower, leaf, or some other structure, but sometimes it’s a clue to the plant’s historical use.
Most, if not all, of these will be obvious to those of you who work in the medical field, and I’m sure all of you will recognize at least some of these. It’s not an exhaustive list, as I couldn’t find plant-name examples for all body parts (feel free to speak up if you know of any I missed), and I deliberately left out some parts to keep things…um…safe for all readers. I’ll warn you now, this is a long one, so if nomenclature isn’t your thing, maybe you’d rather just scroll through the pictures and catch the bit of news at the end.
Still here? Ok, then, working roughly from head to hoof…
There are no signs of spring springing around here yet, due to the brutal cold still lingering—and oh, look, more snow on the way—so it’s back to the topic of fun garden photography to find some cheering color. This time, I’m thinking about ways you can change your views by changing the height and angle of your camera.
After yet another zinger of a winter storm and no near prospect of seeing bare ground again, things are getting really boring around here. I figured that it was time to take a break from the photography series and find some other excuse for rifling through my image archives, so I thought I’d indulge in another color-theme post. Right now, there’s only one predominant color: white. Well, let’s say four colors: white, black, gray, and silver. (Remember, you should be able to see larger versions of all of these images by clicking on them once or twice.)
It’s frigid and snow-covered here in
the Arctic Pennsylvania, and the new growing season seems very far away, so it’s a good time to dip back into my photo archives and hunt for examples of different ways to keep a visual record of the garden. In the previous post–On the Spot–I discussed the idea of choosing set places to stand and reference points you could use to capture similar views at different times. But it’s just too cold to stand around right now, so let’s think about moving around a bit.
(As usual, you should be able to see plant ID info by hovering your cursor over each image. If you’d prefer that I use proper captions from now on, feel free to speak up. And FYI, I tried a new way to handle the photos this time, instead of letting Windows Live Writer upload them automatically. They’re still not full size, but I think they’re much clearer this way, and if you click on them, you can see larger versions. I hope you enjoy the better quality. I just ask that if you pin any of the images to Pinterest, you do it from here–at hayefield.com–and not from the enlarged versions at hayefield.files.wordpress.com; thanks. Now, back to the point.)
I’ve been a professional writer for nearly 24 years now, and a garden blogger for more than 6, so when I come up with a topic for an article or post, I usually have a pretty good idea of how long it’s going to take me to tackle it. I have to admit that this one tackled me, though, and it’s had me down for a pretty long count. It seemed like a good idea last summer, when I thought it would be interesting to see how many different ways and reasons I could come up with to photograph a garden and put them together for a winter post. But after weeks of going through my archives and picking out many hundreds of images, I finally decided that this was going to have to be a series instead of a single post—if I wanted to get something done before next January, at least. So, here’s the first installment of a rather elaborate, non-Bloom Day excuse for presenting pretty garden pictures.