I love the whole idea of a New Year, new ideas, new places to see, new people to know, and of course new gardening ventures. January means bringing in the Clivia from our unheated garage . You may have heard of this plant by another name, Kaffir lily. The term Kaffir was a derogatory word in South Africa where this plant originates. The Clivia has hopefully formed flower buds during the six weeks it was out therein the cold. While waiting for the Clivia I will continue bringing amaryllis and paper white narcissus into flower (Just plant. Add water. Place in light.) I will also bring orchids in spike (flowers-in waiting) up from the basement ao we can enjoy their flowers as well.

February will mean bringing the forced bulbs into the house. They have also been overwintering in the garage. (I know you are wondering if there are cars in the garage. The answer is No! Every year I try different tribes of daffodils, narcissus, and tulips. March will mean the oxalis (shamrock to most folks) collection should be coming into bloom. April means the calla lilies will rebloom. At the end of April well into May will be the outdoor display of a thousand tulips, scilla, daffodils, crocuses, scilla, and other bulbs. Every year is different . Such fun!

Then comes the spring cleanup, seed planting, some transplanting of perennials, purchasing new plants, giving away plants, and spreading compost. I hope this doesn't sound like too much work because it is truly a labor of love. I can't wait!

I have made some garden resolutions for 2009. I need to spend more time simply enjoying the gardens for their beauty. In the past I have dried flowers and leaves in a press and used them to make cards and pictures. This has made me quite aware of the differences in flowers and leaves . This has greatly increased my observation skills but I need to learn more. I hope to sketch flower parts this coming year which will be new for me.

I hope to stress less when the gardens aren't perfect. Are they ever perfect? I laugh when I remember coming back from a trip in mid-August. A neighbor brought her visiting relatives over to see the gardens. They noticed the colors and textures of the different plants and asked to return again later in the season. I was focused on the emerging weeds and plants that needed staking! I remember watching workers at Longwood Gardens in Philadelphia bringing in and planting flowering shrubs already in bloom and then planting the bulb displays to compliment them. Now if I only had a place off site ......

I also hope in 2009 to introduce even more native species into the gardens. They are already acclimated to growing in our climate and are disease and insect resistant.

In 2009 I hope to share more of my garden knowledge with the public and with friends while continually learning more myself. I want to get my hands and my clothes dirty. I hope to nurture my small plot of earth and just to marvel in it all. May you have a wonderful new year as well both in and outside the garden.! I love to hear from you.

Forever Young Magazine - January 2009