Distressing times in our nation and in the world. Now, in the dead of winter, the temperature drops below freezing every night. Yet, the violets are thinking about spring. The original plants, given to me by a friend, have long since died. They didn’t like the location where I planted them. However, they lived long enough to seed the surrounding area, and ever since, their offspring have delighted me year after year. Before the end of the month, they will be covered in blossoms.
I still believe in faith.
I still believe in hope.
I still believe in love.
Just when I thought my perennials were going dormant for the winter, the warm afternoons breathed new life into them. The Scabiosa is putting out blossoms, and the Cherry Sage is covered with new color.
The Violets and Vinca are raring to go too, although they won’t bloom until spring.
Although not much is blooming at the moment, the shady side of the courtyard is looking rather nice.
The sunny side, where we recently created a new border, is looking bare. (See below.) The blossoms have fallen off the new Lantana plants, although some buds are forming. I am hoping the plants will put down good roots over the winter and spread out nicely next spring. In October, I will pot up some violas and kale plants to fill in the spaces over the winter.
The evergreen holly tree in the corner has only been in the ground for two seasons. It grows very slowly, but it is covered with green berries that will soon turn red and remain on the branches throughout the winter.
I am still experimenting with Pelargonium cuttings. In the summer heat, my cuttings from the Pelargonium graveolens (Rose Geranium) rooted well in moist soil. Even though they are related, all my efforts with Pelargonium citrosum (Citronella) utterly failed. Undaunted, I took some cuttings again this morning. Perhaps they will root in water during the cooler weather. The fragrance in my studio after I brought in the cuttings was intoxicating.
A few bright spots remain in the garden, such as the Marigolds and Ageratum pictured above, but most of the annuals and perennials have stopped flowering. A neighbor recently gave me a sweet potato plant (not sure of the official name). The lime green foliage provides a nice contrast to the dark green foliage of my other plants.
The Vinca (Periwinkle) cuttings that I took a few months ago have rooted nicely. They are temporarily sharing some pot space with two aging cacti. The parent Vinca is pictured on the left below. I love the periwinkle blossoms that appear in spring. Here in Southern New Mexico, the new plants should weather the winter nicely.
In the sunny corner of the courtyard, my husband took up some flagstones that butted against the walls so I could create a new border. I have planted it with Lantana and Evening Primrose. The latter is pictured below. Unlike the yellow Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) that only opens in the evening, the pink variety (Oenothera speciosa) blooms all day. I have great hopes for the Evening Primrose plants. They are native to the area, extremely drought tolerant, and can be invasive if left unchecked. Anything that will cover the ground and bloom profusely is OK with me. We’ll see.
This morning my husband mentioned that a dove was nesting in one of our Vitex trees. I hadn’t noticed. She had hidden herself and her nest so well that it was difficult to get a photo. I quietly moved between the low-hanging branches for the best shot. She didn’t move a muscle or bat an eye. I assured her that I meant no harm.
It seems late in the season for a new family, but perhaps new life is never out of season. No doubt the chicks will grow quickly. I hope they survive the winter to come.