Great Start to a New Year 2022

I'm having a beautiful morning watching snowfall. Can you believe it ? Yesterday, Jan. 2, we reached seventy degrees. Today we are experiencing highs in the 40s. Our Christmas decorations were removed yesterday, so I'm feeling refreshed and peaceful.


Northern Cardinal and White Throated Sparrow enjoying the Cole's Hot meats (pepper coated sunflower seeds without the shell) Don't worry, there is plenty of Cole's Special Feeder blend food in a covered feeder for the squirrels.


The plants are understandably confused this year. The weather has been unusually mild, but unfortunately also very dry.

I'm starting to think we will only see a handful of winter days. This goes hand in hand with this year's La Nina effect for the Southeast, mild and dry. The real difficulty for our plants this season has been a lack of rain. The winter system that we are experiencing today has brought us at least three inches of rain since last night. Thank goodness!


The summer blooming yarrow is still producing a few blossoms.

Spring blooming creeping phlox has opened a few of its buds.

Autumn blooming sedum is producing a new set of flower buds.


The camellia japonica is starting early, too. March is its normal bloom period.


The Merlin Hellebores are in their normal bloom cycle and looking pretty perfect. These are the earliest blooming Hellebores in our garden. I'm not sure if it is the plant or the position. They receive the most sun compared to our others.

It's another good year for the paper bush.


Even the Ralph Shugert periwinkle is sporting a flower. Normally, I would see this in February or early March.

One more photo to demonstrate just how mild it has been. The deciduous berberis shrub still had its leaves and gorgeous Fall color on Dec. 6th. This was taken around sunset. Everything had a gorgeous pinky red hue.


Most years I do not make New Year's resolutions, but this year I am making one for the front yard next door. The two large willow oaks and the drought have left the bank barren. I am resolving to find a garden solution rather than grass. Wish me luck. It will be a challenge. This will give me a creative project for the winter months. We won't plant until Spring though. It will probably take a few years to get anything established, but I will try.

Update 1/16/2022 The yard looked fine pre-drought. This was taken on July 3 of 2021.


On to a whimsical note. We have a new addition to the fern bed in the far back of our yard. A troll from France! I fell in love with her expression. She looks so contented. This was my Christmas gift from Annette. It's amazing what you can find on ETSY. The brown leaved plant is 'Domino' epimedium, another plant that is suffering from the lack of rain. I hope that the roots are alive. The Spring blossoms are very fairy like. The former Reba n Roses garden center in Hillsborough really impacted my taste in gardens. They had the best whimsical garden art amongst their plants. What a great escape! About a decade later, I still miss them.

The Happy Cottage living room looking cozy and bright. Just the way I like it on a winter day. May the New Year bring you joy!