On The Verge Of A Thaw In February

– Posted in: What's up/blooming

A January thaw I expect. A thaw in February–however pleasant–makes me nervous. Last year we had a mild February–and three feet of snow in March. I would much rather have my seasons in chronological order–first winter, then spring–than to be ping-ponging back and forth between the two. But whether or not I approve, it appears we are having a thaw. In February.

Today the temperature rose to 59°F (15°C). The average high for this time of year is 32°F (0°C). According to the ten-day forecast, every one of those ten days will be warmer than the average.

first snowdrop sprouts

These are the very first snowdrop sprouts of 2018.

The rest of them are still under snow. And no, I can’t tell you what’s on that label, because I always stick the written-on end in the ground so it stays legible longer, and it’s still frozen in the earth. So, there hasn’t been much thawing yet. But we have at least ten days…
windowsill blooms

When I sit at my desk and look to the right, this is what I see.

A cold climate gardener expects it to be cold in February, and she prepares for it. In this picture an orchid I’ve had for a couple of years, a miniature orchid I was given yesterday, and the forced lily-of-the-valley–now on the wane–all bask in the southeastern exposure. These are the types of plants I expect to be blooming in February, and indoors is the only place I expect them to be blooming.

My mom gave me this clivia when she moved out of her apartment.

The flower stalk is supposed to be more elongated before it blooms. I probably didn’t withhold water long enough, or the living room didn’t stay cool enough, long enough. No matter. I feast my eyes on the flaming orange petals just as readily with the flowers at half-mast, so to speak.

I know I’m not fooling anybody. I will be thrilled if I have blooming snowdrops–or eranthis–in February. I will enjoy each mild day as it arrives, and if winter comes back to bite me and my garden–well, we’ll deal with that when it happens.

Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens. Check it out at May Dreams Gardens.

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.

Villroses hage February 22, 2018, 2:06 pm

Beautiful sights!

Shain @ Manchester South Garden Services February 22, 2018, 10:44 am

LOVE the Clivia, Kathy.

Eva Kehm February 21, 2018, 8:25 pm

Love that I found our site. I have a cabin in upstate NY, But only there in the warmer months. I have been looking for some perennial edibles for the climate, since I cant tend them too much. Here in Pittsburgh we have also had a record warm up, and I do worry about some plants starting up to soon. Sawsome buds coming out on small trees in the back.

Dee A Nash February 16, 2018, 8:41 pm

Here’s hoping your weather settles down. That up and down thing is a southerner’s lament. Happy Bloom Day.~~Dee

Frank February 16, 2018, 7:08 pm

Things look just about perfect up there in the cold north. Signs of life both inside and out, and the orchids are very impressive. I have nothing but admiration for people who can rebloom an orchid… mostly since I’ve already killed a few over the years.
I’m glad you pointed out that the snowdrop label was frozen in there, for a minute I was a little put off that the name wasn’t on the photo!

Carol February 16, 2018, 4:10 pm

Pretty windowsill full of flowers. Thanks for joining in for bloom day!


Lea @ Lea's Menagerie February 16, 2018, 3:37 am

Beautiful Clivia!
Mine has bloomed only once in the 5 years I have had it.
Have a wonderful day!

Leslie February 16, 2018, 12:03 am

I hope the garden stays safe. Your indoor blooms are lovely!