Here's Your Sign

In DC, you never really know, exactly, when "real winter" begins. Sometimes it never does. Sometimes it smacks you in the face and crushes you beneath the obviousness of its arrival, like a drag queen in sequins and three-foot-feather-plumed hat with a giant spotlight shining on her (except the snow is probably less comedic and outgoing).

This year is definitely one of the latter instances.

The pre-snow photos were taken on Friday, 18 December. Snow photo is from Sunday, 20 December.

This is the front planter, which used to have the Datura moonflower and Alternanthera dentata. In the foreground are a lot of turnips, arugula, spinach, and radishes, mixed in with rhubarb, garlic, spearmint, and purple verbena.

The Alternanthera dentata didn't survive through the first real freeze, so I chopped it back. The second freeze split open what I left behind--I thought it kind of cool, but disheartening, to see the water within the plant pop open the stems.

And despite the ravages of the A. dentata, the purple verbena was all like "I'm a-flowerin', yup."

Here's the other end. The strawberries are doing well, even making new leaves in the cold, but the Leyland cypress hasn't done much this year--except for not dying. I could count that as success. The freeze killed A. dentata, the Datura, and the ornamental sweet potato, so I ripped all those out a few days earlier.

Remember when some drag queens fell on Datura? Removing the light obstruction from Leyland allowed his leaf tips to turn yellow, as they are supposed to. So that's a bonus, right?

The grape vine lost all its leaves in the past two or three weeks, but it grew about a dozen feet in just months. We'll see how it does next year. Maybe I'll get grapes? Or maybe I'll just make dolmades with the leaves?

Here's the spring bulb garden--the daylily and the Iris are doing just fine, but the ornamental sweet potato died here as well. The verbena in the foreground is just as happy as the one in the other planter. I mulched the planter with fallen ivy leaves and the remains of my ornamental sweet potato vines and the moonflower.

And the crocuses in the bulb garden are doing the same things as the ones on my windowsill--they made leaves! You can only just barely see at the top of the photo a tulip sending up a shoot to catch some rays, too.

But 'twas for naught, 'cause then it snowed, and everything's under the snow and all cold. I don't want my plants to die. The grape vine is a cascade of ice from water dripping off the building; nothing was mulched except for the bulb garden; and by golly, someone's gonna step on my rhubarb again! Welcome to winter in DC.

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4 Responses to Here's Your Sign

  1. Hello! I have a blog called A-Z Apartment Garden and would like to exchange links. Description: How to grow the plants you love in a small space. Posted Monday thru Friday: Best Houseplants, Better Gardens, Easy Houseplants, Frugal Gardens, and Houseplant News. At A-Z Apartment Garden I take a different approach to plants in the home, suggesting that our houseplants should not be taken for granted. I have already placed a link to your site in my sidebar. Please consider linking to my blog. Thank you! - Nancy Langevin

  2. I admire your determination to garden in small spaces AND your effort to keep the plants going in the winter. They need a rest too....I will be anxious to check in with you this spring.

  3. Janet,

    I'm continually amazed at how much these plants want to keep trucking through the coldest months. But at some point, you're right, they need a break.

    But not a long one. No. I want them to come back soon.

    As a side note, the ice, when melting/falling, sheared off a few feet of my grape vines. Maybe next year they'll be a bit more study.


    I will check out your blog! I don't often update the blog sidebar (only twice in the year that I've been blogging), but your link will be visible in my followed blogs in my profile.


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