JANUARY’S JOKE

January inevitably plays its little joke on us and the mostly dormant plants. When a streak of warm weather visits, reaching into the 70’s, it sends us headlong out into the garden wearing T-shirt, cut-offs, and garden hat and encouraging the buds to swell on many plants. Oh, are they in for a shock when the temperatures go down into the 20s and 30s again. They ought to know now not to be fooled by January’s joke, but they are. We’ll have freezing temperatures again, no snow, but frost on the roof and frozen birdbaths. But we gardeners ought to know better, too. We begin pruning our perennials when we shouldn’t. The garden beckons; it’s dreary; the plants are brown and drooping; and new basal growth has begun on some. The sun shines through, and we are simply compelled to begin clipping and cleaning up. STOP! (I remind myself.) The pruning helps break dormancy and encourage new growth. Tender little leaves and shoots begin appearing. And then–another 20-degree frost. Boom, blackened leaves and shoots, and the poor plants must begin all over again in a couple of months. I know better, but I did it again. Today. Pruning, raking, tidying. Who will suffer the most when a deep frost hits again–the plants or me? The plants which must begin again or me when I discover all the dead ones because I pruned too soon. Then I must begin again as well–but not until the air and soil are both warm enough for new plantings.

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About writersandy

Writer, Gardener, Crafter
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