OK, Panic

Most people will find the following picture of a red Camellia flower in the process of opening somewhat blurred and unassuming. Indeed the awkward angle, wet weather and dull sky doesn’t make for a very good picture. A bit of focus in the correct place would have helped too.

When I look at the picture, I see the same thing, but I also feel a rising sense of panic.

It’s early February, the Camellia is testing the weather and wondering whether it’s safe to start flowering. Elsewhere in the garden the green tips of iris shoots are emerging, flower buds on the Amelanchier, Judas tree and Magnolia are starting to fatten, clematis and roses are breaking and the spring bulbs are well above ground, with the flowers not far behind.

After what seems like a rather short winter, the garden is stirring; it feels as though it is teetering on the edge of the new season. It’s like the sharp in-take of breath before that messy and really loud, wet sneeze.

The panic is from knowing how the garden jobs will suddenly ramp up and thinking of all the work that needs to be done. Each new season is like a rollercoaster and there’s no slowing down, stopping for a break or getting off. I’m in for the ride and with the garden under heavy development, each year’s show gets bigger and better.

I know in my last post I said I would try to stop for a pause more often, to appreciate our efforts in the garden, but when the list is long, the plants are crying out for attention and there are borders that need creating, it will be hard not to say, “I’ll just finish that job, then have a sit down”.

The Camellia will kick start the new season, let’s hope we don’t have any late frosts or blasting rain to spoil the first showing.

12 Comments


  1. Sunil, I love camellias but we can’t grow them here. We have had a pretty mild winter too, but I fear those ugly spring freezes we’ve had the past two years. Had to cover all the hydrangeas three times in 2016. Some of my struggling roses didn’t make it. But let’s hope for better things this year!

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    1. Hello Lynn, Camellias are quite common here as the soil is acidic form all the pines. We’re lucky to have inherited several mature specimens in the garden. The display can be spoiled by late frosts and heavy rain. I can imagine that it gets very cold in the mountains, I always thought of hydrangeas and roses as very hardy plants!

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  2. Yesterday the Crocus started into flower and I heard my first bee. I enjoyed both these events until I realised that the garden (and the weeds) are not so much stirring after winter, as leaping out of bed and yelling at me to shed my winter torpor and start crossing tasks off the list. On the upside, there is a snowflake on my phone weather for Saturday, so we may be panicking too soon. I did smile when I saw the title of this post – especially after your pledge to relax more!

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    1. Hello Sarah, I haven’t seen any bees yet, I’ve not checked on the crocuses either. I can see a lot of crocus leaves greening the border but will have to look for the flowers at the weekend. We’ve also just had three bulk bags of compost/soil mix delivered so it’s turned into a drag race to get out into the garden!

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  3. As the days get longer, I dream of spring but also realize how little progress I’ve made on those winter projects. Fortunately for my winter projects, spring gardening is still a couple of months away here. We are in a cold, stormy period, with daytime temperatures in the teens (-7 to -12C) and about a meter of snow forecast for the next week.

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    1. Hello Jean, it sounds like spring is still a very long way off for you. I can’t imagine what winter projects you would have outside when there are feet of snow on the ground and the temperatures are so cold – I’m guessing these must be indoor projects!?

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  4. We’ve barely had a winter at all! It’s crazy! I have crocus getting ready to bloom and they’re way too early!

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    1. Hello Tammy, the crocuses are beginning to flower here too and the snowdrops should be out also, so it sounds like you’re doing fine. Virginia is similar to the UK, right? Are you getting roses and clematis breaking into leaf too?

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  5. So many jobs – so little time! I share your rising panic, Sunil, mixed in with a big fat dollop of excitement!

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    1. Hello Jane, there is never enough time, there’s always something that needs doing, I just hope I can get round to doing those jobs before the plants die from running out of patience!

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  6. Hello Sunil, you have a lovely blog and lovely photos. Thank you so much for sharing, and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.

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    1. Thank you, Linda, that’s very kind of you. Glad you’re enjoying my blog. I’ve certainly felt the warm wishes given how mild and sunny it has been here recently!

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