Winter skin

We’ve been hit.  And just like back in June with the sucker punch heatwave, there hasn’t been a chance to acclimate.  All of a sudden in a bitter wind, the plants have turned inside out and I have frozen solid.  There’s a crust over frogs and underfoot and a biting cold that probably has massage practitioners working overtime to un-hunch shoulders.  We’re not ready for this!  It did finally dawn on me this morning, after a week of shivers and complaints, to wear more clothes… And I do think the one way to get used to it is to get out in it.  — I’m working up to that, I really am.

We still have outdoor projects that we’re tackling in mad dashes between restorative cups of hot tea:  We could cut down all of the plants, like this Nicotiana mutabilis (left) and Salvia tingo (right) that we left standing until the bitter end.  Our landscape is no longer graced by their presence and for the sake of public garden tidiness we’ve gotta get ‘em out.  (That’s not to say you shouldn’t procrastinate clean-up until spring.  You certainly could and the critters will thank you for the extra cover.)

Today we busted through a crusty earth skin to heel in the last few frozen plants we had left over from our North Garden furniture rearranging.  I can say that it’s not too late to do this because there have been times our plants have stayed in bossbags under the arbor – and by some miracle (you can’t kill a daylily) they lived to be planted in spring.  But these plants are happier in the ground now, no doubt about it.

We’ve still got veggies to pick – the Swiss Chard and beets have a few tender leaves left, and the Brussels sprouts will be even sweeter for the hit.

When it’s cold out it really takes determination to slow down, breathe deeply and open your eyes from a squint.  But there is so much beauty in the unfolding death of winter and it’s too easy to overlook – especially if you can’t see out from under your hat or swivel your neck inside scarf layers for fear of a draft.  But getting out, for starters, and breathing deeply will help your wimpy autumn skin to acclimate.  – Just think, soon anything over 32°F will feel pleasant!  And if you bring your camera, like I did, you can gaze leisurely at the pretty things while wrapped in a blanket with a cup of tea in your hands.

What are you doing to get acclimated to winter?  Do you still have last minute garden chores?  ‘Fess up now – are you still planting?

4 thoughts on “Winter skin

  1. I can’t plant anymore, but I must admit that my poor dead tomato plants have been left in the veggie bed and they don’t look so good after several hard frosts! I went out to take photos yesterday and boy did my hands hurt by the time I was done. I think I’ll need some fingerless gloves so I’ll be able to take my camera outside this winter!

    Amy, It’s when my hands are cold that I get the crankiest. I wear layers even on my hands and when I’m taking pictures I definitely have to choose between dexterity and warmth – with gloves and mittens on I hit some new buttons on the camera (I learn a new trick every day)! -kris

  2. Brrr! Stay warm, Kris.

    Yes indeed, I’m still planting in Austin and will be continuing to do so all winter. Now’s the time, while we have a reprieve from the death star.

    Pam, you made me laugh! I’ll be virtually visiting you to remember what warm looks like. What fun that you get to go full speed ahead planting your new garden. -kris

  3. I am not ready for this! I just put up the cold frame and now we have solid freezes! It was a bit eerie for me to see your first picture. Come over and visit Ledge and check out the first picture on today’s blog. Honest, I didn’t look here first.

    Layanee, It’s like we’ve both showed up in the same prom dress – we’re weirdly in tune with each other! -kris

  4. I’m… sort of… still planting! Actually, I’m looking at the 4 flats of free perennials that are sitting on my driveway (oh, okay, and one shrub, too) and wondering when in the heck I’m going to get them heeled into the ground. Not to mention the bronze Dutch iris, and that last bag of species tulips that I couldn’t resist…

    Kim, Has your weather gone to the top of the roller coaster like ours has? I’m a little dizzy from the ride from 14 to 60ish yesterday but if you’re going through that too maybe you can still sneak those orphans in! Of course now we’ve got rain and if it freezes right after … aargh. Good luck! (Could you force the bulbs if you don’t have a chance to get them in?) -kris

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