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Friday Flowers: Winter Garden

Posted Jan 16 2009 5:30pm
I visited the park this week for a short walk in very cold weather. It is possible to get adjusted to subzero temperatures if enough clothing is worn, preferably at least two layers of everything. Two of our daughters went to the big sledding hill for over an hour the other evening, in the dark and with the mercury at about -20C. They were not alone. Ski hills and outdoor rinks are busy too.

There is a certain beauty found in snow and ice. I walked across this bridge to the little island and saw a large group of White-winged Crossbills feeding noisily in these spruce trees. Many Mallard ducks were congregated on the ice to the left.

Several other people were sauntering through the snow enjoying the fresh air. Even a short time spent enjoying the outdoors is enough to lift the winter blahs. I recently mentioned to my niece that my mother used to insist that we get two hours of outside play every day in every season. Many days we stayed out even longer because we were having so much fun.

In a corner of the park is the sensory garden, a place where all the plantings have a special feel or smell. The leaves above were still bright and green under the snow. I don't know what the plant is.

The holly was also green and fresh as a ground cover under the pine trees. Magnolia bushes had visible fuzzy buds waiting to open early in the spring.

Cheryl wrote this week about finding the first snowdrop in her English garden which is north in latitude compared to southern Ontario. The moderating effect of ocean currents on winter temperatures is significant. It will be several weeks before our early bulbs bloom in sheltered areas. For now we can admire the artful arch of dried up flower heads.

This deep winter garden is full of promise, awaiting the nudge of longer days and warmer temperatures to show us it is not dead, just in a deep slumber.
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