Sunday, April 10, 2016

Dogwood Winter

From my window, the wisteria makes the yard seem surreal, as if the pale purple flowers have strayed from a fairy tale. It would begin Once upon a time, an evil sorceress planted a magical tree, but she didn't want anyone to touch it, so she sent a bitter cold snap, forcing the peasants to stay indoors.



Spring is such a tease. I didn't mind the February snow at all. I dressed in layers, refusing to stay inside. Just last week I worked outside in a t-shirt, and now I'm in flannels, my feet propped on the heating vent. It's this back-and-forth, hot and cold, that wears me down. When the weather was warm and sunny, I bought delphiniums and foxgloves, and now they are tucked away in the garage. I hope I don't accidentally kill them before spring arrives. My mother says we're not having a Wisteria Winter, we're having a Dogwood Winter. And to brace myself: it might not be over. We could have a Whippoorwill Winter, Blackberry Winter, or a Locust Winter. She is the toughest woman I know, enduring crippling arthritis and injections in her eyes. When it's time for a treatment, she holds real still and lets her mind wander into the past. Suddenly she's a girl again, picking tomatoes in her grandmother's Mississippi garden. 

But she hates the cold. She hunkers down, waiting for it to pass.
Like many things, the weather is out of our control, and we must endure. I saw a Titmouse sitting on a branch, the wind stirring her gray feathers. She sat there so long, my son began to worry about her. Normally I would have shared his fear; but two weeks ago, I attended a lecture on wild bird behavior, and I learned how they deal with dire weather. When the mercury falls, birds can enter a Zen-like state. Somehow they tune out the cold, preserving their energy. It's called torpor, by the way. But if you walked by the tree, the bird would instantly become alert and fly away. 

Sunday is supposed to be 68 to 70 degrees. But now, tonight, I'm wrapped in a blanket, dreaming of sunlight and warmth. I will weave my own fairy tale. Once upon a time, the dogwood winter gave way to flower season, and the whole world was warm and bright and happy.
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28 comments:

  1. yay love your stories

    it has snowed for 3 days

    last saturay and this saturday while my hubs was driving he was in a whiteout from all the snow and couldn't even seen in front of him

    like in WINTER STILL lol

    this back and forth has given me a dandy cold. i too am hunkered down and my heating pad is nearly a permanent fixture to my chest these days

    stay warm, it will happen hugs

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    1. Yikes, snow in April--and a head cold, too. Feel better soon!

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  2. I'm sorry to hear about your mom, Michael Lee. My sweet mom is 94 and I know how hard it is to watch them get more limited every day. We traveled to Auburn, AL two weeks ago and enjoyed all the beautiful wisteria, azaleas and dogwood and then returned to Michigan and 16 degrees. And snow every day for a week. It is hard when you think winter is over and it makes a come back. You have such a beautiful property and I'm sure you're so excited to get out and transform it. Spring will be here to stay very soon.
    love and blessings~
    Lynda @ Gates of Crystal

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    1. 16 degrees! I hope temps rise in Michigan real soon, Lynda.

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  3. I had to cover my bulb flowers last night as the temp dipped into the 20s. Like you I am soooo ready for it to get warm and stay warm, not hot, just warm enough to be outside. Your wisteria is gorgeous, I wish I had one! Maybe this year if I can figure out where I can put it.

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    1. It warmed up here today, so maybe the good weather will move your way.

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  4. Happy Sunday! We went to a concert last night and a few ladies were in fur coats...it was that cold. I hope today is warm enough for a tshirt! Your yard is just beautiful. Your poor mama. Bless her heart. Your photos are beautiful, always beautiful. Sheila

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    1. I looked at the 10-day forecast, and better weather is on the way. Let's hope it sticks around.

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  5. Wisteria is one of my favorites. Such wispy tendrils hanging like jewels from the branches. Carol

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    1. Your jewel analogy is so apt. Each time I discover something that a previous owner planted, I feel as if I've found a gem.

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  6. I love wisteria, but I finally had to chop mine down as it never bloomed.
    Your mother sound like a very strong woman, god love her - I wish her well.

    Our weather is up and down like yours - we are getting rain and then NOTHING. We get all excited and ready, then it's only sprinkles.

    So enjoy your pretty trees and soon your Spring will be there.

    Have a great warm week.

    Mary

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    1. I had one that didn't bloom--and it pulled down an inexpensive metal arbor.

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  7. I too have been seduced by beautiful blooms at the nursery when it seemed winter was over, only to be hit with a plant and bud killing freeze. I have learned my lesson the hard and expensive way, and now wait till the last week of April to purchase plants and I do not plant them till Mother's Day - they stay in my garage till then to harden off. Since abiding by the Mother's Day rule, I have not lost any plants, but boy, it is so difficult to see plants at the market in February & March and not purchase them!!!!

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    1. It is so hard to resist. My mother told me that Lowes had a sale--3 plants for $10. She said she wouldn't buy 10 for $10 in this weather. :-)

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  8. Christmas day the temp was 70 in Connecticut. Yesterday 4/9 we had snow. My plants are on my dining room table waiting to be put in the ground. The way things are going that might be July. By the way, I'm with your Mom, I HATE being cold.

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  9. I'm afraid to walk through my garden after last night's freeze. :(

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  10. So pretty, ML. I've never grown wisteria, but have always wished we had a spot for one. Wish we could go dogwood trees here. Stay warm and cozy. Your springtime will settle in soon.

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    1. I didn't realize your area didn't grow dogwoods. It fascinates me to hear about plants and geography. There's a type of coneflower that only grows in the glades of the Central Basin here in Middle TN. If you plant it in rich soil, it won't thrive.

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  11. We got snow on Sat. but it was gone by Sat. night. I LONG for Spring. Like your Mother I hate winter, hate being indoors, hate feeling like a prisoner in my house!, LOL. Your wisteria is so beautiful!

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    1. Oh, Pinky, you've had a cold, snowy winter. I hope spring arrives soon for you!

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  12. Every year I buy 20 large geraniums for my self and daughter and have to babysit them in the garage until
    May. Being doing that for 18 years. But once in the ground they are there till Oct. it's worth it, it's gardening. gardenthymewithdiana.com

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    1. You've made me feel so much better about my plants in the garage. You're right: "it's gardening." Thanks!

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  13. I see a few more nights in the 20's around here, and then it looks good in the forecast after that....at least for now! Spring has been such a teaser this year - the pansies have been in and out of the garage more times than I can count. I took them out yesterday for what I hope is the very last time! Like you, I bought a flat of flowers - snapdragons, lobelia, sweet alyssum - and I'm so anxious to get them planted but I'm not sure they can take the cold as well as the pansies....so they are now the garage prisoners. Love your blog - you are such a beautiful writer! Oh, and that Wisteria - oh, my! Just lovely! There is an estate down the road with glorious stone walls and the wisteria covers the walls in purple blossoms in the true spring - I can't wait to see it again!

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    1. That's so funny--"garage prisoners." I feel the same way about my plants. LOL I hope the cold evenings give way to warmth for your snaps! Thank you so much for your kind words.

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  14. Thanks for sharing more gorgeous photos, Michael Lee! I can't wait for the weather to get warmer and stay that way...but here in Missouri, you just never know what temps will be from day to day!

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  15. In southern Alabama we have anthracnose disease that is affecting our dogwoods. I've lost 3 or 4 and the others have the dreaded die back that eventually takes over. I had mine sprayed several times but it only keeps the disease slightly at bay.
    Your wisteria is pretty and in a great spot.
    Spring is coming. Hang on. It's already come at my house but I'm very southern. It is glorious and will be at your home before you know it. I lived in Alaska almost five years and break up wasn't until the middle of May and we didn't plant until Memorial Day so I know how hard it is to wait.

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