Winter inversionI think winter’s gone upside down for the moment. Less than a week ago I posted this about an honest to goodness arctic-like morning where my fingers felt like they might fall off and I couldn’t hide my nose deep enough in my scarf to keep mean Jack from biting. This week the temperatures in RI have risen into the 60’s. Weird. I’m not inclined to complain – the other day I worked in the potting shed with the outside door wide open while the greenhouse vents flapped up and down (they’re set at 75 and 80 degrees F, I kid you not). It’s pleasant to walk out in less than eleven layers of clothing. The smell of thaw outside is gorgeous and sweet and I want to suck it all up and wear it like perfume. Birds are singing, the bees have been out for a stretch and still-fat squirrels are racing all around. The weather is perfect for winter walks and wildlife sightings (hawks have been circling overhead). I like it. But it’s weird.

I’m nervous for the spring flowerers. If you were a bud wouldn’t you want to swell to burst in this weather? The Forsythia are still wrapped but the Quince is showing an awful lot of green… And the Witch-hazel buds might open soon.

Forsythia 1-10-08Flowering quince - Chaenomeles speciosa 1-10-08Witch-Hazel — Hammemelis x intermedia ‘Arnold’s Promise’ 1-10-08

glass pond 1-10-08The unseasonable warmth can induce a gotta-get-out panic in gardeners too. It’s ok. Relax. It’s not time to cut the garden back yet. Instead, go for a walk and look for buds, keep perusing the seed catalogs and start thinking about fertilizing your houseplants again. The sun is out again today so I gave half-strength fish emulsion (Neptune’s Harvest, 2-4-1) to our big potted flowerers like the Camellias, the citruses and Gardenia and to particularly anemic looking other things. In another couple of weeks on another sunshine day, I’ll feed the whole greenhouse (except the Sweet Olive –Osmanthus fragrans– which, we found out recently, prefers starvation).

Tomorrow the forecast is calling for rain and thunderstorms. Thunder in winter? – Weird. After that maybe it will start to feel like January again.

Winter inversion - another view