Winter Dirt Therapy

This past weekend proved to be an excellent opportunity for sprucing up the cottage gardens. Temps warmed to about 45 degrees (7.2 C).  The air was heavy with moisture; I was certain it would rain, but it held off. The earth was so soft and it was easy to use the trowel to dig up nasty weeds and scratch about. I love the look and smell of a newly scratched bed.

Hellebores are budding. I have become an addict, and I blame my fellow PNW gardeners for the addiction..teehee ;)

Ivory Prince Hellebore
I am amazed (and a little worried) at all of the new growth I found.  Columbines are sprouting up, the peony has a few shoots that have reached the surface and even the echinacea (purple cone flower) has new leaves.

It has been a mild winter thus far. I'm not convinced that it will stay that way. However, in this unique little micro climate along the Lower Columbia River, we often get a coastal influence that keeps our temps mild.  In comparison, the foothills of the Coastal Mountain Range are literally at our back door.  Drive half a mile up and you quickly climb in elevation.  They have had icy, cold temps since early December.

Nonetheless, all of this new growth does have me a bit concerned as it's not unusual to get a deep freeze in February.  I should stock up on some mulch to be prepared.

I found the garlic planted in October to be looking as it should in the veggie plot.

Inchelium Red Garlic

Heather is blooming around the pear tree.

I feel good after tidying up the front yard. Playing in the dirt is good therapy.  Projects for this next week include finalizing my vegetable seed order and playing around with an online veggie garden planner.  I also need to spruce up the side, shade gardens.  Things to look forward to in-between the daily routine of kids, cooking, and running a small biz.

Wishing you a cheerful and cozy, winter's week.
Cheers, Jenni


  1. I love digging in the dirt too. It's been mild here as well, unusually so, and some of my perennials...sedum, fern leaf peony, are starting to push new growth, and I'm a little concerned about them. But oh, what fun to get your fingers dirty in a flower bed! :)

  2. Unfortunately I have NOT been digging the dirt. Usually during the Christmas holidays I re-distribute all the compost I have made during the year (which is tough work), but for the last 3 weeks I have been pretty much incapacitated with a bad bout of Fibromyalgia. :(

  3. Unfortunately I have NOT been digging the dirt. Usually during the Christmas holidays I re-distribute all the compost I have made during the year (which is tough work), but for the last 3 weeks I have been pretty much incapacitated with a bad bout of Fibromyalgia. :(

  4. Hasn't it bee a strange winter so far!?! I'm actually starting to worry about 1) the perennials not getting their needed "rest" for winter and 2) a hard frost killing at that tender new growth. Granted...I'm a bit of a worry-wart!

  5. Mark, I am so sorry to hear you've had a flare up! I hope it settles down so you can get back to the work you love. Moving compost is not one of my favorite tasks, but I sure do love the results!

  6. Scott, I'm turning into a worry wart too! If I hadn't see the peony's growth, I could have just let the worry go. It's far too early for them. They are out pacing the daffodils!

  7. Unbelievably mild when you think of the snow dump Seattle had last year! I too am worried about a late freeze, my magnolia and hydrangeas are already showing buds...ah this weather is messing with me!! Jenni, hope you had a wonderful Christmas/New Years...Cheers Julia

  8. I haven't been out for a good dig or tidy up in weeks and I'm looking forward to getting out there soon. I've noticed hellebores coming up in nearby gardens. I don't have any but wish I did, they are really nice. It won't be long to Spring!

  9. Dear Jenni, I am a hellebore addict, also! Wonderful, aren't they? There seems to be bizarre weather all around the world. P. x

  10. I had so much indoor stuff to do I didn't make it outdoors on Saturday but it was really nice weather, wasn't it? I'll have to check my Hellebores. Yours look so happy. I guess we'll just have to keep our fingers crossed that our gardens make it through the next couple of months unscathed. Nice looking garlic too!

  11. I love a freshly cleaned bed too. Sometimes I'll go out just to look at it for the next few days :) I'm hoping I can squeeze some time in outside this week, it's supposed to be clear and I have an empty compost can just waiting to be filled.
    It's so strange how this winter is, but last February we did get really cold and snowy for about a week. I was thinking that same thing that Scott said about some plants really needing a time of dormancy, I think fruit trees and lilacs need it.
    It'll be interesting to see how it goes.
    Your Hellebore is ahead of most of mine. They are addicting since they are such great plants.

  12. Our hellebore flowers are open - I'll have to take a photo but it means mud treading as true hellebore fashion - they keep their heads down and you need to get up close and personal to fully appreciate them

  13. There is always something therapeutic about fresh dirt and clean flower beds. Something in the blood. Hellebore is something you have to be careful around. You start life not knowing they exist, then before you know it they jump into your cart when you aren't looking. I have only bought three this winter, so I figure I'm doing good. (at least until I find more spots for them)


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