Bending down and peering

Thus begins the season of bending over and peering down at the ground looking for signs of life, for flowers in the snow, for little signs of hope.

In the back garden, I bend over with abandon, confident that no one can see over the fence to see my broadside sticking up in the air while I'm looking down at a little snowdrop which came up and flowered unexpectedly last week.

"Pretty little snowdrop. Are you confused? I just planted you a month or so ago. Didn't expect to see you until late February. Will you come back again in the spring or is this it until spring of 2017?"

I saw another snowdrop, also just planted, in the front garden. Don't think for one minute I leaned over with my broadside toward the street.  Wait, never mind.  I might have broken my rule about not leaning over with my bum to the street.

But I can be forgiven for that, can't I? There was a snowdrop blooming in November.  Of course. Bygones.  And most of the neighbors are indoors at this time of year.  No one saw.

Back in the back garden, I've also been peering down at the Christmas roses, Helleborus niger.
Lots of buds on this one, which is 'Josef Lemper'. I'm sure as soon as the sun shines again these buds will open right up.  And I'll be happy to see them.

I'll also be happy if I see the blooms on this Camellia.
For days I've been bending down and peering at these buds. Are they changing? Is that a hint of petal I see peeking out of the top of that bud? Will these buds freeze before they open? I need to cover these Camellias before winter really sets in but I would hate to cover them and then have them bloom and no one be able to see the flowers.

I've never grown Camellias before and I don't know anyone who has done so around these parts, so I'm making it up as I go, with some help from a book, Beyond the Camellia Belt:  Breeding, Propagating, and Growing Cold-Hardy Camellias by William L. Ackerman.  I need to re-read the part about what to do when your camellia is in full bud and winter is just around the corner.

Dear Mother Nature,

I know winter is officially arriving in just a few weeks, but I need another couple of nice days, preferably on Saturdays and Sundays, so I can finish raking a few leaves and cut back some of the perennials, especially the rampant self-sowers.  Once I'm finished, I promise to still come out to the garden on a regular basis, to bend over and peer down at those places where snowdrops, crocuses, hellebores, and even camellias are supposed to bloom.  Did I mention camellias? If you don't think I deserve a few more nice days, please provide them for the camellias. Thank you.



  1. I know exactly what you mean about bending down and examining the soil and little plants! I know a lady who opens her garden which is home to a massive collection of snowdrops. Some enthusiasts visit with things like dentist's mirrors on long sticks. They get to see inside the snowdrops without the indignity of bending over in public. Perhaps you might fashion one of these of a quiet Saturday to save your blushes? (That's if Mother Nature doesn't grant you the sunny weekend you so politely requested).

  2. I definitely look down at the ground for life! It's difficult to wait for the life I want to see so much!

  3. I agree. This is the season when we start looking for signs of life.
    I managed to bring in a couple of potted plants into the back porch. Both have continued to bloom into December.
    I'm thrilled to see buds on the Gazania, with its beautiful stripped flowers.
    I Keep watering it, it keeps going. Snapdragons(Antirrhinum) are blooming too. The most beautiful deep red blossoms.
    This is an old fashioned plant I've recently rediscovered. Blooms all summer long!


  4. Bending over and peering season makes perfect sense. I still have a few bulbs that came late to plant. I'll get on those today as soon as it warms up a little. ~~Dee

  5. I would bend over and peer if it weren't so muddy in my garden. We just had rain, and my new garden doesn't drain well. I didn't even try to plant any snowdrops. I can say that there is unseasonal growth of irises and coral bells.

  6. All that peering has definitely been worth it - a little glimpse of the spring to come, in the shape of a snowdrop!


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