January Gardeners Have Green Hope

Don’t despair January gardeners!

Walking around the garden in the expanding hours of sunshine with snow melting I think of this time as Green Hope.

Magnolia buds swelling

Magnolia buds swelling in January

There are a few things we expect to be green in the winter. This year they are green, in good form and and looking fine. The boxwoods are green and not brown this year (fingers crossed!) the pines and spruces are not broken from heavy snows and the buds are swelling on the lilacs and magnolias.

Traditional January Gardener Green Hope includes starting seeds, planning spring and summer gardens, forcing bulbs, forcing branches and maybe even growing lettuce indoors or in a greenhouse.  But best of all to me are the almost miraculous and unexpected tender greens that are peeking out from beneath the snow.

For example, here is some of the Autumn Fern by the sunroom’s back stairs.

Autumn fern in snow

Autumn fern peeking from under the snow


These ferns have been there for at least five years, get no special treatment and there they are– delicate green fronds emerging from under the snow and ice.

The deer come to the bird feeders next to these ferns but have never bothered them, even when the feeders are empty.




I didn’t realize until the past few years (thank you, Roy Diblik) that there are many sedges that are native to our area, evergreen and work in gardens beautifully.  They are easy to use if put in the right place and thrive with little attention.  The deer don’t eat them either!  Here are some of mine that live in the fountain garden.

the carex is green under the snow

Variegated green carex emerging from the snow






Unfortunately, my walk also revealed some evil weeds–green perennial grass that that has invaded a neglected part of one of my perennial beds. I decided you wouldn’t want to see that evidence.  That brings me to another kind of January gardener green hope–the hope I can find someone to help me weed my perennial borders early in Spring!

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