Sunday, January 27, 2019

...the Candlemas garden predictor...

As Christmas in my household winds down, I have a touch of melancholy. The decorations will be put away; the handles will no longer light the windows. Everything feels like it is losing its magic. Or does it?

Small buds on the Red Bud tree
Candlemas approaches. This midpoint of winter, halfway between the December solstice and the March equinox, enables us to hope and welcome the return of spring and the sun. With the weather being so overcast, I am really looking forward to the sun.

It was believed that the weather on Candlemas Day would predict the forthcoming weather, just as we look to today’s Punxsutawney Phil to predict the weather for the remaining winter. If the weather is bright and sunny, the rest of winter will be bleak. If the weather is stormy and wet, the worst of the winter weather is over.

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,

Go Winter, and come not again.

This week will have temperatures in the 60s during the day and low teens at night. Looking at the weather app, Candlemas, which is February 2nd, there is clouds and sunshine so there’s no telling what is in store… except if I look out into the garden.

Since we moved into our house in summer, it has been exciting to see what was planted before us (except maybe for that ivy! But it was fun to discover the woods and the brick path under the ivy!) We have berries on some of the holly trees, and recently I have been watching these bulbs grow. I had hoped that they would be paperwhites but I think they’re a bit too large for that.

We also have this glorious bush in the backyard that we have suspected is a variety of Daphne odora. A few weeks ago, I noticed that she was growing buds and recently the buds have hints of pink. Because I have been researching the Daphne odora, I have learned that there are two types: the first has solid green leaves while the second has a green leaf with a pale yellow-near white border along the outside edge of each leaf. This variety is referred to as Aureo-marginata. That is what we have. Daphne odora also have two discrete flower colors with blooms that are white or pink, which open to reveal a cream color throat. I cannot wait until she blooms, especially since the fragrance is supposed to be the real showstopper. She will perfume the entire yard for about six weeks and I will want to be out in the garden.
The Daphne is the bush in the center between our copse and the yard.
It is still too early for me to tidy up the garden but we did have a tree company out yesterday to look over the broken branches from the ice storm. Only two branches need to be pruned. Overall, the pines and the Sweet Gum are healthy and happy. Those darn gum balls are everywhere so we’re learning about when our Sweet Gums prefer to drop them.


  1. I read this as I was enduring the Polar Vortex in Wisconsin. The buds and bulbs made me teary.
    There will be a spring! Every winter I dream about moving south. Every winter seems longer than
    the last. Your garden gets me through until I can get out into mine. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Anon. With a new garden just waiting for me, I am looking forward to getting out there.