A new year, a new life – let’s get started!

The cold east wind has returned to my corner of the Pacific Northwest and although it does bring a break from the rain, bright sunshine and deep blue skies, it also brings wind gusts of 25 to 35 miles per hour. Travel a few miles to the south and the wind is but a breeze, a few miles farther and the windless sunshine feels warm through the crisp, cold ambient temperature.

Even during the very crisp and cold days of winter, the conifer garden looks alive!

Today’s walk through my garden is bittersweet. I am bundled and warm enough, but this will be one of my last walks through this garden. Life does not always march in step with the plans we make, and I find myself nearing the end of my stewardship of this little acre. It has been great transforming this once ordinary yard of some older trees and a lot of lawn to mow, into a garden which not only filled hearts with joy in all who strolled the paths, but also became home to an assortment of critters from birds and squirrels to a small lizard with the occasional passing raccoon and opossum (and of course, the neighbor’s cat who enjoyed this sanctuary away from the large dog in his own yard). Fortunately, I know that I will have gardening opportunities in the future and I look forward to sharing those adventures with you all here.

Of course, I will continue to have the pleasure and honor of strolling through the Jean Iseli Memorial Garden and I am confident that I will continue to learn a great deal from my friends at Iseli and apply that knowledge to my own future garden and new conifer collection.

May 2015 become a great new gardening year!

Conifer Lover

And it begins…

The new year has always given me a fresh new outlook. I suspect that it is not so much the turning of a page on the calendar, or remembering to change the last two digits of the year when writing checks, but more the simple biological fact that the hours of daylight are increasing and a sense that new life is just around the corner.

December was a very dark and rain-filled month where I live. Even though clear skies bring much colder temperatures this time of year, I am energized by the sunshine we have experienced the past few days. Sunny days encourage me to open the curtains, and open curtains mean a great view of my garden.

Tsuga canadensis 'Kelsey's Weeping'
'Kelsey's Weeping' is a premium conifer any time of year.

Brisk, cold mornings often bring frost, and frost gives the winter garden a special charm. The conifers all take on a new look with sparkling new colors when they are covered with frost early on a sunny morning. Even the last crumbling brown remnants of my wife’s perennials look good when covered in the multi-faceted crystals of a good, hard frost. Fortunately though, most of my garden is filled with the vast assortment of shapes, sizes, colors and textures of my conifer collection.

From the tall dark green of my Picea orientalis ‘Aureospicata’ and bright blue of my Picea pungens ‘Hoopsii’ to the weeping forms of Sequoiadendron giganteum ‘Pendulum’, Tsuga canadensis ‘Kelsey’s Weeping’, and Picea omorika ‘Pendula Bruns’ and all of my various and assorted dwarf and miniature conifers, they all have an exciting new look in the bright early morning sun.

As I take a brisk walk through the garden, the ground makes that familiar crunch as my footsteps break through the frozen heaves of gravel in my path. I see birds busily searching for seeds and even the squirrels are out to harvest some of the goodies they had hidden away earlier in the year. The sun, very low in the sky, in an unsuccessful attempt to warm the morning air, creates a wonderful golden hue to the garden while the shadow patterns move silently across the landscape.

I think about the smell of the soil and realize that it won’t be long before I am able to bury my hands in its goodness as I begin a new year of gardening. But for today, I think I’ll just enjoy the garden, in all its winter-time beauty, from the comfort of my favorite chair near the woodstove with a fresh cup of tea.

Conifer Lover

See you next year!

Just quick note to wish you all a Happy and Joy-filled Christmas Holiday Season! Pop on over to the Facebook page and say “Hi” to one another there until I return!

See you in 2011!

Conifer Lover