The Daily Muse

A GardenJournal -- December 2001

Last Update: December 17

Hill Country sunset

December 6 - morning

Today is going to be a big work day in the garden, there are thousands of leaves falling from our lacebark elms that need to be raked and many "frost bitten" perennials to cut back. I actually enjoy raking leaves, there is something about the sound of a rake and the rustling of the dry leaves that is very appealing. Certainly more appealing than a leaf blower!

Yesterday, I planted the last of our spring bulbs- two different forms of Leucojum and some "early pearl" narcissus. Leucojums, or "snowflakes" are underused plants in our area. They are among the most dependable bulbs for naturalizing inTexas and make a wonderful, if understated show in the springtime. I have seen them blooming in a few older yards in central Austin and in cemeteries where they receive no care whatsoever. I planted Leucojum aestivum the "summer snowflake" which is the most highly prized form for the southern states. The common name is a misnomer, at least here in Texas, since it blooms early in the spring. The "spring snowflake," Leucojum vernum, reportedly does not do as well here, but I planted a few for comparisons sake.

For more on Leucojum, check out this informative article by Texas plant authority, Greg Grant.

December 17 - morning

We are finally enjoying a bright, clear, and dry morning. The past few weeks have been so dismally gray and wet that little has been accomplished in the garden. Nearly all of the leaves are off the trees, leaving the garden feeling very spare. Our evergreen shrubs have yet to grow large enough to make their full presence felt, so the back yard has an emptiness to it that I am slowly adjusting to. On those few occasions recently when the sun actually did shine, I found myself enjoying the strong winter light- unfiltered by leaves it illuminates the garden in a very precise way, matching the crispness of the air.

I am nearly finished with all of the holiday chores and I am looking forward to some quiet time in the garden. I still have much raking and pruning to do but, after finishing my work, I hope to be able to mimic my cats who are now bundling up together in the warmth of the morning sun. Our garden has some cozy corners that are sheltered from the wind, where I intend to pass a few hours doing absolutley nothing but enjoying the winter light.

Continue to January 2002

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