Between the years

Since well before the holiday last week, the weather’s still been pretty mild here. That’s not all that unusual. In spite of the early temperature plunge in the middle of November, the really cold snaps usually have the good sense to wait until the New Year’s well up and running off. But it was rain, heavy rain and more rain all day long, the day before Christmas. Grilling in the garden on Christmas Eve was almost a wash-out. It’s become a bit of a tradition at Fuchsias in the City so the wet and soggy wasn’t all that welcome. If it had been near freezing and not fifty degrees (10˚ C), dreaming of a white Christmas would not have been a dream. More like an “Uh-Oh... Now what?”. But the rain pulled back to a mist long enough that dinner was ready on schedule. And then there were gloriously sunny skies in the morning. And Camellia ‘Winter’s Joy’ is still blooming away. Nice.

The garden hasn’t really minded the mild. Me neither. Do we ever? It’s been nice to work outside, on and off, as the mood strikes. I mean, soon enough it’ll be January and February and any striking moods will have to stay satisfied by thumbing through a mysteriously growing stack of garden magazines. Or plucking up dried leaves from over-wintering plants. Or tending to the “Winter Greenhouse”, my plant lights. It’s amazing how long and lost I can get with my head stuck in under the lights, tending to the little rootlings growing on. And I did still need to check up on things outside. Take care of a few odds and ends I’d neglected to think of as I was rushing around earlier. Like turning the watering cans upside down so they don’t fill with water, freeze and burst out the bottom. Don’t want surprises like those in the spring!

As long as it isn’t freezing, I put a bunch of potted fuchsias back outside for most of last week. It’s good to keep them cooler. They’ll have to come back in tomorrow night, I think. Looks like that frigid arctic air that’s started sagging down into the middle of the continent again will start working itself this way. It’ll have a few edges knocked off by the time it hits the coast but 25˚ F (-4˚ C) is too cold to leave any of the fuchsias out in pots. Which reminds me I’d intended to take a few more stick cuttings from the hardy  Fuchsia regia subsp. serrae while the stems are still viable. I like its vigor. The clone is from  Joy Creek Nursery near Portland, Oregon and very free-flowering, as well. This Brazilian species is a bit of a liana and I decided I want another for the trellis on wall at the back of the garden. Should be ready to go in by the time any freezes or frosts have receded in the middle of March.