Promises, Promises!

“. . . promises can lead to joy and hope and love, yes love.”  lyricist Hal David

As many others have commented lately, this is a mild winter, the one that allows you to see everything without a protective blanket of snow. Snow, often referred to as “white mulch” by northern gardeners, is preferable as it protects the plants through harsh conditions and fixes nitrogen in the soil. But I can never bring myself to eschew a mild bare winter where I can actually see the garden. If you grow perennials and shrubs, you have a lot to look at in January.

On a stroll through the garden this morning, I saw the promise of spring and summer everywhere. The reddening of tree branch tips, swollen with the storage of sugars that will burst open in a few months as blooms or leaves. The winter growth of grape hyacinth bulbs, promising lovely purple cones of bloom in early spring. The leathery green umbrella foliage of hellebores, promising spectacular and welcome early blossoms in shades of purple, lavender, rose, and cream. The new green growth of forget-me-nots, promising a carpet of fairy tale blue for the spring garden. The rich green velvet of hardy geranium leaves, constant throughout the winter and effervescent in May and June with sweet five petal blossoms that feed the bees and butterflies and scent the air. New plantlets of Rudbeckia “Viette’s Little Suzy”, a miniature black-eyed Susan seeding true from the seed heads of the parent plant. Textured stars-within-stars of foxglove leaves, promising tall wands of beauty to come.

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A January promise of beauty to come and a reminder that life goes on every minute of every day, sometimes underground or under snow, whether we witness it or not. I think that is called “promises (that) can lead to joy and hope and love, yes love.” (Hal David)

For the music:
The song “Promises, Promises” performed by Dionne Warwick (the perfect marriage of music and lyrics and voice)

Text and photos from the post “Promises, Promises!” ©2012 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved

18 thoughts on “Promises, Promises!

    • Thank you for visiting, Promenade Plantings! I visited your lovely blog and loved your motto: “I garden, therefore I am.” How true! I so enjoyed seeing photos of your garden. I don’t grow as many vegetables as you, mostly salad greens, tomatoes, and herbs but your produce looks luscious! I am starting some seeds this weekend – it makes spring seem closer!

  1. Great pics … and it was a mild start to winter … then pow … “Hello … I’m here!” Then again, I think back to last year when the grip of winter took hold in November and didn’t let go for months.

    Hope all is well … just wanted to take the time to catch myself up with the good people!

    • Hi Frank,I’m in catch up mode as well, since our semester just started. I must say that I have enjoyed the mild winter so far but of course, today, we have 2″ of snow on the ground and bitter cold temperatures. Winter has arrived in earnest!

  2. Oh – all your plants look wonderful! It’s still cold enough here, even without snow, that we don’t have any green foliage poking out yet. I love the “white mulch” reference; never heard that before! I planted a hellebore late last summer, a gift from Aunt’s garden….I can’t wait for those beautiful flowers; didn’t really know what to expect. Thanks for the anticipation of Spring!

    • Hi Paula, you will love the hellebores – they are the first flower to bloom here; the foliage is handsome all summer and winter, then I cut it back when the flowers bloom and new foliage emerges in mid-spring. They also self seed if they are happy in their site, and they are not very temperamental.

  3. I really like the way you showed the plants in their winter and summer clothing. My Yogi tea bag tag from the other day advised something along the lines of “a promise is a gift from the future.”

  4. Very nice slideshow, Lynn. I’ve noticed that the Japanese Maple has become a very popular ornamental in NE Illinois.

    FWIW, sounds as though we’re due for an arctic blast beginning Thursday…

    • Thanks, Kerry, I do love the Japanese maples though they are probably at the edge of their hardiness range in Illinois. Gardeners enjoy pushing the hardiness envelope 🙂
      I’m sure winter isn’t done with us yet!

  5. I loved this neat post of yours. I remember going to hear her sing at a wonderful old theatre in Seattle many years ago- this took me right back to a very happy memory of good music enjoyed with friends.
    As to the garden…guiltily, I’m quite pleased to have a warm winter…
    Melissa

    • Melissa, lucky you to have heard Dionne Warwick in person! Since I listened to her recording of this song while putting together this post, I can’t get it out of my head.
      PNW? A gardener’s dream – I’m jealous 🙂

  6. Lovely photos and I like the ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots so we get an idea of what the flowers are like in bloom. Love the weeping cherry and have never seen one before.

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