Even as big winds blow and a little more snow falls, I know that nothing lasts forever; spring's inevitable rising will overcome winter's stubborn persistence.
Heading out to the back garden, I'm surprised to feel myself sinking half a foot into the aging, crunchy snow, determinedly unmelted. As much trouble and pain as the big snows have caused, they likely have helped some plants stay alive by providing insulation and moisture.
Along the way, I note signs of survival all around. Lilac looks like it's thinking about swelling some buds. Rhododendrons that took last year off show promise of blooming this year. Conifers, wearing winter colors of gray and rust, shrug at wind, snow, cold and shout: "Bring it! Hit me with your best shot."
No surprises, so far. These plants survive hard winters without breaking a sweat; they're supposed to. But I am headed for the two camellias I planted in the ground, even though they are not "supposed to" grow this far north.
Both are Camellia japonica 'Bob Hope'. In their normal growing range, they typically bloom in winter, but living outdoors in Connecticut they're more likely to bloom in spring or summer. If they survive.
The taller one, now ending its second winter outside, bloomed last spring. Buoyed by that success, I planted a smaller one last year, and it's now ending its first winter outdoors.
|Carpet piece and tree may provide extra protection from the cold and wind for small camellia.|
These are excellent signs, I say to myself, turning now to look at the taller plant, the one that bloomed profusely last spring Alas, that was then. Today, last year's big bloomer stands budless.
Budless, but very alive. It's possible of course that buds could appear later, or it could skip a year because it's been in shock for almost two years of outdoor living. In any case, it stands as a vibrant sign of survival. I admire it, turn around and head back, looking for others.