Life is there

Gloria sent Jeff these hydrangeas on his retirement ceremony, February 26, 2016.
I later planted them outside, and I hope they will soon be sprouting new spring foliage.

And still the earth is cold and white,
And mead and forest yet are bare;
But there’s a something in the light
That says the germ of life is there.           Jane Goodwin Austin, “February,” c.1886

I searched through all my February photos and couldn’t find any that showed pretty flowery landscapes, so I resorted to cheating (again) with a colorful potted plant for today’s post. We all need some color right now. While I was visiting my sister in north Alabama last week, I saw several flowering fruit trees, but so far nothing in bloom here at my Virginia homes.

We’re having those on-and-off, up-and-down weather days, which surely mean (for those of us in the northern hemisphere) that spring is on its way. Yesterday the afternoon was so warm that I went outside to prune my crape myrtles, and though I accidentally cut a deep “V” into the side of my thumb while I was at it, I couldn’t help but feel cheerful.

I’m dreaming of spring plantings, and can’t understand why the landscapers aren’t as impatient as I am to get going. What are your garden plans this year? Will you be setting your own seedlings out, or enjoying those of your neighbors? Are you as eager as I am to see some outdoor blooms?


  1. Spring is on its way in Vancouver, although we had a Snowday a couple of weeks ago. All the photographers were out taking photos before it all melted. Still no sign of the daffodils, but I can feel the earth waking up. It is a glorious time.

    • I’m eagerly awaiting those daffodils myself. They are my favorite flower. Right now I’d take any kind of flower! Good to know that Vancouver will soon be bursting into bloom. Canadian gardens are the most glorious on earth.

  2. My sister-in-law handles the gardening around our house. She does a great job. But, from what I’ve seen from your photos in the past, I do look forward to more from Julia’s horticulture.

    • This won’t be one of my better years, since we are still dealing with getting some site drainage problems fixed in the new home. BUT I will certainly do my best! You are very lucky to have a relative who likes to garden. As with many hobbies and skills, it benefits all of us when someone has a green thumb.

      • Hope your drainage issues are soon resolved. I have a thumb of many colors…one of which is definitely not green!

        • Well, it’s never too late to go for a color change. Who knows, you may discover that special plant that grows very well for you.

  3. Good morning, Julia! As I write this, wind is howling and gusting outside my hotel room in Marlborough, MA, and the weather back home is expected to be below zero at night this week. At this point, the thought of flowers peeking through snow … well, they’d have to be sunflowers, to be tall enough! Yesterday my cousin in Michigan’s U.P. sent a photo of herself in her shoveled walkway, and the snow was nearly as high as her head!
    For a while, we’ll still be resorting to store-bought flowers … which is a kind of fun idea: I could get some for my hotel room, and then leave a note and tip with them, for housekeeping, when I check out!

    • Hey, that’s a great idea! They’d enjoy seeing them while cleaning your room, and then would be really happy to be able to keep them. Your note about the photo from the U.P. made me realize how glad I am that Jeff refused to go to K. I. Sawyer for his very first assignment. Back in those days it was so hard to get in the Air Force as a dentist that I was afraid they would withdraw his commission if he didn’t do what they said. But he held out for Wright-Patterson in Dayton, which still felt like the frozen North to us, but was much kinder than Marquette, MI would have been! I keep telling you to get a gig down here. Surely there are some biomedical engineering slots with a warmer climate!!

  4. P.S. I’m sorry to hear about your thumb! I hope it heals quickly.
    Somehow that incident just reminded me of A Muppets Christmas Carol, when Rizzo says, “LIGHT THE LAMP, NOT THE RAT! LIGHT THE LAMP, NOT THE RAT!”
    (Now I’d be telling myself: “note to self ….” or as I so often find myself saying, “OH! That’ll leave a mark” as I try to get too much done, and typically bruise myself somewhere, being not terribly graceful.)
    Have a beautiful, relaxing day of healing!

    • Hey, of all the brilliant lines from that movie, somehow that one completely got by me in the many times I’ve watched it. I think the two Marleys had me so distracted that I missed everything else. What a great movie. The thumb is doing OK but I’m still afraid to un-bandage it for very long. I had a lazy day today in which I worked on lots of projects but felt like I didn’t get much of anywhere. I drank lots of tea, though. 🙂

  5. Chris

    Julia, hope your thumb is ok! Bless your heart. Our camellias are blooming abundantly! I was out this past weekend cleaning up and pruning those. We have those “bloom again” azaleas, and they are always confused by our weather (cool days, then very warm days followed by cold snap). The’re blooming already! We’ve had an unseasonably warm winter and most of our trees and bushes are telling us Spring is here! We don’t have a long winter on the Gulf Coast. For some reason (the soil I think) our hydrangeas never do well. Hope the one’s above do well in your yard!
    Have a great week! 😊

    • Chris, it may be that hydrangeas like a cooler climate. I remember how gloriously they bloomed on Lombard Street in San Francisco, where it is almost never anything close to hot. And I don’t remember seeing many of them in any of the warm climates where we were lucky enough to live. Virginia is about as cool as I can stand it, though still a much milder climate than most of the country and plenty hot in the summer. They really seem to like it here. I’m happy you are already enjoying some springtime color! My winter-blooming camellias have just recently stopped flowering. Some of our azaleas are bloom-agains, and some are the one-and-done variety that make up in density of blooms what they lack in repetition. They all usually start up sometime around Easter.

  6. Harry Sims

    Life is there.



    • Yes! Even when we don’t see it.

  7. Sheila

    Julia, we’re being teased here with a few warm days, then only to revert back to the seasonal cold and cloudy with rain almost daily. Can Spring be far away? I love to start planning this time of year, ready to bring on some color! I think we’re gonna try some wildflower seeds this year, maybe some moon flowers from seeds. Have to keep in mind the maintenance, as my little gardener reminded me this week. He told me that “there’ll come a time when all this will not be important and you’ll exchange it some day for a crown”! At the same time we both said, “The Old Rugged Cross”! I told him I couldn’t put a price on what his reminder meant to me. I knew at the time that I would have to share with you, my dear friend. Love to you and Matt!

    • Sheila, thanks so much for that reminder. We all do need to hear it from time to time. Meanwhile we keep planting those flowers in hopes for nature to mirror that distant glory in mystical ways. I’ve never had a moonflower vine, do they grow well in this part of the country? Just today I planted some sweet pea seeds after soaking them until they sprouted. We’ll see if anything comes of it. Hey I just love the porch swing on the Verandah this month, and that quote could have been written about me! 😀 Sending love and laughter your way. ❤

  8. Sheila

    Good Sunday morning. ☕️ Just this week, getting out my bird seed container, I noticed my stack of colorful pillows that I call “outdoor decor” and Bill calls “unnecessary”! Every swing and every chair needs a pillow, lots of pillows! I do love our Verandah, see it as hopeful for sunny days soon! I’ve been looking at the Burpee Plants website and ordered a catalog. There’s much good info there. Enjoy this day, whatever you might be doing! Hi 👋🏻 to Matt! ♥️

    • Sheila, bring on the pillows! It’s a rainy, dreary day here in Virginia, but I can dream of sunny days in the swing with the seedlings blooming. Wishing you a joy-filled week ahead!!

  9. Everything here is still frozen but I’m sure it will change soon. Love the hydrangeas.

    • Thanks M! It’s COLD here today (in the 30’s) but sunny, which makes it so much more bearable.

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: