Under the cloak of winter lies a miracle

Published 10:00 am Sunday, January 24, 2016

Looking at photos of colorful flowers and a shrub blooming in July make a gardener long to get their hands dirty again. - Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Looking at photos of colorful flowers and a shrub blooming in July make a gardener long to get their hands dirty again. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

Instead of ending my column with a quote, this time I am going to start with one.

“Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle … a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream.”  — Barbara Winkler

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Now that I have placed my orders for annual seeds for the gardens I have been perusing the photo albums on my computer of my gardens over the past couple of years. I have this frustrating yearning to get out there and get my hands dirty again. At this time of the year I love to sit back and read Celia Thaxter’s “An Island Garden” for about the 20th time. I love how she was so passionate about her gardens. She appreciated every little seed that she planted and was always in awe that those tiny seeds grew into beautiful flowers.

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

When the snow covers the gardens and the wind is howling with wind chills well below zero, I pull out the photos to remind me of all the beauty that is there to save my sanity in this crazy world. A favorite photo of the front entry garden has a lovely fuchsia hanging from the shepherd’s hook, the Miss Kim lilac that was in full bloom earlier in the season. Under the protection of the spanning branches of the white pine are many hosta and tiarella, while in front of these are lilies that stand so tall and colorful. Coneflowers attract bees and butterflies as well as the autumn joy sedum and the deep blue of the May night salvia mimic the blue of the browalia in an old tin bucket. Oh, how my heart aches to see them again.

On the large pergola in the backyard, Betty Corning clematis along with several others clamber up the sides to provide a bit of shade and color. They bloom nearly all season, and on the east side the morning glories bloom later in the season. It’s such a quiet place to sit and view several smaller gardens in front of and to the side of the pergola.

The driveway garden is filled with color through the entire season and when the different zinnias are blooming. This garden is filled with bees and butterflies and of course a few hummingbirds.  It is always a kaleidoscope of colors that will excite the senses. A long and narrow garden, it packs a powerful punch in the color palate. Some of the self-seeding annuals pop up in the most unexpected places. A sunflower that was planted by the birds or squirrels will stand tall to punctuate the garden as well as the tickseed coreopsis that is bright yellow with a brown center while each of them looks different. The smell of dill growing in the most unexpected places brings back memories of the dill pickles my mother always put up in the heat of August. I check them daily for the swallowtail caterpillars that use them as a source of nourishment.

Next to the driveway garden is the cutting garden that is always a patchwork of annuals, perennials, bulbs and more self-sown annuals like kiss-me-over the garden gate, larkspur that resemble miniature delphiniums, blue globe thistle with their little round, prickly balls of blue and even a few four-o’clocks. If I were to plant this garden myself it would never measure up to what Mother Nature surprises me with.

In the Victorian gazebo garden a pink mandevilla climbs up the sides calling hummingbirds to the trumpet shaped flowers full of nectar. As each of the different varieties of daylilies begin blooming it is such a sight to behold. My old pedestal sink that belonged to the former owner of the house that sat on the property to the south of the driveway is always so fun to decorate with pretty flowers, and last year it held my herb garden and filled the area with the fragrance of mint.

I love the red outhouse that is sighted between a couple of pines where I can always hear the woodpeckers feeding on the peanut feeders or the chickadees darting from one feeder to another. Each year I try to add something to this little area. Last year it was a red rooster and in the containers violas that sit alongside the outhouse in milk cans.

I certainly can’t forget the roses blooming in many of the gardens throughout the summer that are oh so lovely. Before long I will begin the countdown to spring.


Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears weekly. Email her at carolhegellang@gmail.com.