Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: January 2008

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

I did not go outside to look for blooms today. Today looks like this:
image of snowy yard and hillside
Last Friday, on the 11th, it looked like this:
Image of muddy driveway showing direction of water flowImage of water flowing through chicken yard
There had been so much snow melt that water was seeping to ground level and then flowing through the chicken yard into the driveway.

Of course, I recognized this as perhaps my only opportunity to look for signs of botanical life. Blooms seemed like a pretty long shot to me. I decided to check the snowdrops. Since I had last photographed them, we had had several snowfalls and another melt. I wondered if they had made any progress.
Image of snowdrop foliage emerging from the earth
They had, if you measure progress in millimeters. Then I admired the Frosty Pearl euonymus that I had been asked to trial in my garden.
Image of variegated euonymus shrub
According to Zelenka Nursery, this shrub is hardy to USDA zone 4 and prefers partial to deep shade. I grew it in a container all summer and planted it in the fall. It didn’t make many flowers this first year, so no berries, but I find the leaves very attractive, especially in the shade where not many shrubs do well. But wait–what’s this?
Image of small, rather beat-up Johnny-jump-ups
Yes, it’s that intrepid cousin of the pansy, Johnny-jump-up, doing its best to welcome spring. Did it know it would get snowed over? Did it care? Will I find it still alive after the next melt? Almost surely, for I had seen it in bud during the previous thaw, and thus knew where to look. So, yes, I’ve got a flower blooming in January–under the snow, but blooming nonetheless, I suspect.

Check out all the other Bloom Day posts.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

Comments on this entry are closed.

Kathy Purdy January 22, 2008, 10:55 am

MSS–I think the situation with violas is similar to that of columbines. There is so much interbreeding that it is hard to distinguish species at this point. Johnny-jump-ups are listed in catalogs as Viola tricolor. I don’t know if I have ever grown V. cornuta or not, but it always looks to me to be a solid color version of the tricolor. I think pansies, at this point, are complex hybrids that have larger blossoms that are rounder in appearance. When I have had Johnny-jump-ups growing near pansies, the two interbreed and intermediate sized blooms are on some of the plants that self-sow.

Diane M. Schuller January 20, 2008, 4:25 pm

sorry I didn’t get here for GBBD. I’m catching up on a few today. I actually did go outside to find the beauty despite the cold and snow 🙂

Aren’t those Johnny Jump ups just the most intrepid of sassy faces? I love ’em. Sometimes we still have them showing their faces in November, peeking through the snow. But eventually the weather and snow tuck ’em in for winter!


mss @ Zanthan Gardens January 18, 2008, 8:36 am

Yes we Austinites do have snow envy. Mine hits hardest in December, though, because I’m dreaming of that white Christmas that I’ve never ever had. But looking at your photos, (or Layanee’s) convinces me that I’d wither away as quickly as the cosmos if I had to live in that cold.

I get confused over the names of violas and Johnny-Jump-Ups. Are they the same? And what’s the difference between Viola tricolor and Viola cornuta. Is one the bigger pansy? Plant labels from the nursery have only confused me more as I’ve had the same plant marked with all these different labels.

Don January 17, 2008, 10:44 pm

well, last year at this time I had snowdrops blooming. This year (except for one Galanthus reginae-olgae that’s been blooming since November), all I’ve got is snow and ice, with fifteen below predicted for this weekend. Sigh.

Dee/ January 17, 2008, 5:53 pm


Love the contrast between the two weeks. Good post, and keep looking for pretties. If you checked out my garden, you wouldn’t see much more. I don’t have snow, but we’re supposed to have more ice next week.

Bonnie January 17, 2008, 3:27 pm

It’s funny being here in warm weather (although today we have a high in the mid 40s) and having a bit of snow envy.

wiseacre January 17, 2008, 12:57 pm

Nothing blooming north of the Adirondacks but I did find green. Usually that’s a sign spring is just around the corner but this year it’s a false impression.

Curtis January 17, 2008, 5:40 am

Your yard is doing better than mine though Kathy. I have not a solitary bloom outdoors.

CurtissAnn January 16, 2008, 8:02 pm

I am picking up the habit from all you gardeners. As I passed the flower bed at the post office today, I noticed what I believe are daffodil leaves sprouting. Understandable here in OK, amazing to me what you have growing up there, Kathy! Thanks for the pictures.

Kathy Purdy January 16, 2008, 7:13 pm

Annie, of course I don’t seem eccentric to other gardeners. It’s the neighbors I suspect find me eccentric. Not that anyone has said so to my face, but what can you think about a lady who’s up at the crack of dawn, camera in hand, kneeling down, butt in the air, taking pictures of who-knows-what as you drive by on your way to work.

jodi January 16, 2008, 2:08 pm

Ah, the weather! I can sympathize, as we went from winter to spring and back to winter again. I DID have a brave erysimum in suspended animation (floweration?) last week, but it’s buried in the foot of new snow. There WERE some daffodils starting to show their shoot-noses in one part of the garden, but hopefully they’ve just yawned and gone back to sleep.

Annie in Austin January 16, 2008, 12:25 pm

Oh Kathy, although I live in Austin now, the majority of my January gardens looked like yours, so I could totally relate to “looking for the smallest crumb”!

Up there I used to grow double impatiens indoors, getting some flowers with the help of artificial light and would have been happy to see a johnny jump-up in winter.

I like your frosty pearl euonymous – used to have luck with a different variety… maybe it was ‘Ivory and Jade”? So few broadleaved evergreens make it through the really cold winters. We are so spoiled here.

You didn’t seem that eccentric to me – you seemed normal. Not sure what that says about either of us!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Mr. McGregor's Daughter January 16, 2008, 11:08 am

Well, I tied you with 1 bloom also here in Chicagoland. Congratulations on finding 1. Every little bit helps, dont cha know.

Kathy Purdy January 15, 2008, 9:47 pm

Carol, goodness knows I don’t need to increase my eccentricity quotient.
Diana, I know all about you Texans and your snow envy. Why, you get so jealous of us you have to make the stuff when you don’t get any the old-fashioned way.

Nan, I should have put a penny next to that Johnny-jump-up so people could see what a small plant I managed to find. Hungry people can find the smallest crumb.

Nan Ondra January 15, 2008, 9:22 pm

Good for you, Kathy, to find any blooms at this time of year! It’s probably even happier being snug under the snow. We’re due for our own coating soon.

Diana January 15, 2008, 9:11 pm

Ah – the grass is always greener! I have blooms — just a few measly ones, but i love looking at your snow! Not sure I’d want to shovel it, but it is beautiful – thanks for sharing!

Carol January 15, 2008, 8:48 pm

It definitely looks colder in your garden than mine. I wouldn’t go out there today, either to look for blooms. We gardeners already have a reputation for being a bit… eccentric at times.

At least you have the Johnny Jump Up under all that snow to remind you that someday it will be spring again.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens