Winter Gardening

Hi Friends!

Rabbit! Rabbit! Wishing you the very best as we begin this new month together! I hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy… and warm! Know that I am keeping you close at heart as February begins.

I’ve been singing this song for the past few days…

Today is the perfect day to take a little walk through my garden! In Illinois, we have been experiencing a snow drought due to warmer than usual weather throughout November, December, and most of January. Over the past few days, though, my garden has turned into a ‘marshmallow world.’  Last Tuesday, we had six inches of snow. A big snowstorm on Saturday and Sunday added at least ten more inches. (Just over 40 centimeters in all.)  Bundle up! Let’s take a walk!

Gazing at all of the snow covered buds on our Magnolia tree, near the front porch, gives me such a feeling of hopefulness.

With the snow almost to the top of my boots, I made my way to the backyard. The towering Pine trees look lovely with their heavy boughs frosted in white.

The huge Rhododendron (nearly my age) grew in my mom’s garden when I was young. Today it looks exquisite adorned with sparkling snow and tiny icicles. The large buds fill me with even more hope as I dream of the billowing, pink blossoms that await us!

The Yucca plants, cloaked in white, also were gifts from my mom’s garden many years ago. I’m dreaming of their tall spikes filled with cream-colored blossoms. In the words of garden writer Sydney Eddison, “Gardens are a form of autobiography.” So true!  I treasure all of the stories that my garden holds. They truly warm my heart… even on the coldest of days!

The Mason Bee house hanging from our deck has been decorated by Mother Nature, as well. Last year, we noticed that several new bees emerged as the warm weather arrived. I hope they enjoyed our colorful, old-fashioned perennials and the blossoms on our herbs and mint plants!

The snow reached over the top of my boots as I peeked into the ‘heart of my garden.’ My Herb & Tea Garden will always be my very favorite place to while away the hours, savoring the heady scents of the culinary herbs and mints for tea.

It looks like Benjamin Bunny was hopping through the garden very early on this first day of February! I have noticed so many different tracks in the snow the past week. In addition to the rabbits and squirrels, I spotted some unusual animal tracks in the snow. The neighbors on both sides of us have seen coyotes and red foxes in our yard recently!

♥ ♥ ♥

My garden is such a special blessing in my life all year long! While the garden sleeps, protected under a thick, white blanket of snow, I especially enjoy the blessings of my little Paper Garden studio downstairs. Ink, paper, watercolors, paintbrushes, stamps, dies, and stencils are my ‘garden tools’ as I enjoy winter gardening in the studio. It’s chilly downstairs, so I always bundle up and bring hot tea to keep me warm as I make cards.

The most wonderful stamps and dies, from The Greetery, keep me inspired to do a bit of winter gardening!

Sprigs of winter berries and mistletoe, created using layered stamps and Distress Oxide inks, are ready to fill tiny paper Mason jars, vintage bottles, stoneware pitchers, and watering cans for future cards. I just love the chance to gather garden ‘bouquets’ all year long! 🙂

I have also been creating tiny Shiplap boards to build backgrounds on cards. First, I blended Distress Oxide inks onto white cardstock. The Shiplap die (also from The Greetery) embossed the wood grain as it cut these little, wooden planks. It was so relaxing to create tiny wooden walls for upcoming cards!

Feeling creative during the pandemic has been a real challenge for me. Our lives have been turned upside down for almost a year now. So, I’m trying extra hard to spend some of my time at home creating more handmade cards. I’m certain that receiving a ‘paper hug’ in the mailbox will warm hearts… when we need it most! 

Are you finding it hard to be creative in this moment?

Have you been spending a little time in nature?                                                       

Are you already making plans to get your vaccine?                                                     

Hope you will share with us…  

♥ ♥ ♥

Take extra good care!

Warm, squishy hugs,

♡ Dawn


15 thoughts on “Winter Gardening

  1. Dearest Dawn, your garden is so lovely dressed in its lovely blanket of snow. We had a pretty 4-5 inch snow yesterday and a little bit more has fallen this afternoon. I’m so glad you were able to venture outside and share with us the pretty magnolia that shows the promise of spring. I know how you feel about plants that you have in your garden that were from your mother’s garden. I’m sure you will share your lovely photos with her when you visit. The darling footprints tell the tale of how the small critters enjoy your garden as well. We have bunnies and squirrels galore, but have only seen fox once.
    I’m so glad you are working in your paper garden. You have such a talent crafting your lovely cards. The white card with the conifers is beautiful.
    Grayden and I were fortunate on Friday to receive our first Pfizer vaccination. We’ll have the second dose later this month. I’m so thankful! I pray that with the vaccine we will all be able to return to some form of normalcy.
    Sending hugs to you and John. Stay warm and cozy, my friend.💗

    • Both of our gardens bring us such joy, Martha Ellen! I truly treasure the plants that my mom grew in our garden when I was young. It was such fun to include some of those flowers in the garden bouquets that I shared with my mom each week. I’m really hoping that we can spend time together enjoying my garden together in 2021.
      I wondered if you also got snow this week. That sounds like deep snow for you! Do you still have many birds visiting your feeders? We have so many bunnies and squirrels frolicking in the garden. Their tracks look like they are partying! Perhaps they come to play in our yard because we are one of the few that don’t have a dog to frighten them away.
      I am so happy to know that both you and Grayden were successful in getting your vaccines and are already scheduled for the second dose! That is the best news, dear heart!!
      Tomorrow will be snowman day for me. 😊 Building a snowman was on my January ‘things to do’ list. It’s going to be sunny, so I think the snowman will see his shadow! (The groundhog might not come out at all in the deep snow.)
      Hope we can ‘meet’ for tea again soon! Sending you both warmest hugs! 💗

  2. Mother Nature has a beautiful palette that is for sure even when it is one color. 🙂 I LOVE your gorgeous tree card. That is an A++. I do find it a challenge to be creative because of the weight of the pandemic that seems to never quite leave me. Maybe it is easier for folks without family members with underlying medical issues, I don’t know. We are scheduled to get our first shot tomorrow afternoon. I can’t wait. Then the struggle becomes to schedule the second shot because the online system our state has been using is not user friendly and the dates for the second shot are not lining up as medically suggested. If only we could walk away from the first shot with the second appointment like most states are doing, I would feel a lot better about the process. I hope you, your hubby, and parents are all well and have either gotten the shot or have your appointments.

    • Many thanks for your very kind words, Judy!💕 I just saw the photo of your snow covered garden. So peaceful and lovely! I agree that the heaviness of the pandemic is always with us as we worry about loved ones near and far. Everyone has worries right now ~ whether we worry about health concerns, finances, jobs, education, food insecurity, retirement dreams
      and so much more.
      Our self-care is more important than ever!! Creativity always feels like a very special part of my self-care.
      Judy, I’m so happy that you can both get your first vaccines tomorrow! Two weeks ago, CVS sent five nurses to my parents’ senior community to vaccinate the residents and staff there. I breathed such a sigh of relief that day!🙏🏼 They will have their second doses next week.
      Last week, Illinois moved to Phase 1b of the vaccines: people 65+, first responders, teachers, and grocery store workers. I have signed up with our hospital and my physicians’ group to let them know that I am very interested in a vaccine. There are no appointments yet. Realistically, it could be two or three months until I am able to get a vaccine.
      It’s a bright, sunny Groundhog Day here! The groundhog saw his shadow, so Winter will be staying around for six more weeks. I’m trying to plan some Wintertime fun! So, this afternoon I’m going to build a snowman. (Wish me luck, it has been years!⛄️ I used to invite the neighborhood children to help me, but I’m going solo today!😊)
      Sending hot cocoa hugs all the way to New Hampshire, sweet friend!💗

      • That is amazing news that your parents have gotten their first shot. I hope you get a call for yours as well. Although all levels thought they were prepared for giving the vaccine, I think the sheer size of the task has gotten a lot of states struggling. I know ours is on certain levels. Take care, stay well, and I know you can build that snowman. ⛄️

  3. Beautiful garden and photos, Dawn, and your paper creations are just lovely. I recently found a YouTube channel on gardening that I especially like – it’s called Garden Answer (singular, not plural), and Laura is located in eastern Oregon, zone 6 (was 5 but they changed it last year) in high desert. I thought you might enjoy it too. Stay warm and safe!

    • Heartfelt thanks, Ginnie! This is the perfect season to enjoy ‘visiting’ other gardeners. I will definitely visit Garden Answer on You Tube! I have been enjoying the latest issue of Garden Gate magazine with a cup of tea… and dreaming garden dreams. 🌸 It feels like the perfect thing for this moment in time!
      Hope that you made it through all of the snow, Ginnie! Take extra good care of yourself and those you hold dear.
      Thanks for visiting here today! Warm, cozy hugs, sweet friend!💗

  4. Htello dear Dawn, I love the photos of your garden under a blanket of snow. Much as I appreciate living somewhere that doesn’t get snow, my time living in Scotland, England and Vancouver, BC gave me a big appreciation for the beauty of snow. Especially those days where there is a silence brought with the snow – early mornings and evenings. And there is something about having definite seasons – we do in NZ but they are not quite as distinct as yours. Your garden is sleeping and that gives you a strong message to use this time differently, as you do in your paper garden.

    We are watching events in the States and have hope that you will soon get on top of the pandemic. NZ is right down the list for vaccines. We have only had 25 deaths and don’t have community transmission so our need is not as great. Our workers in managed isolation locations are at the greatest risk as NZers returning to NZ often bring Covid-19 with them, including the new strains. But so far, so good, they come out of isolation having recovered.

    So happy to hear your dear parents are getting their vaccine and hopefully soon you will too. Quite the logistical challenge with your huge population. They’re still figuring out how to do it eventually in NZ with just 5 million. I hope you can soon get together in person with your family.

    Meanwhile, it’s summer here and everything is growing wildly. I’ve started taking a photo each month of the view from my door of my garden. I wouldn’t believe how fast things grow if it weren’t for this. So satisfying. I think I now have half my grass area turned into garden, having laid cardboard and a thick layer of mulch and planted trees for my food forest. Enough for this year, perhaps next year I’ll complete it. I have a dream that anyone looking for me will need to walk through trees to find me in my hammock! Might take a few years 🙂

    Love to you and your parents and thank you for sharing your journey with us xox

    • What a wonderful bit of serendipity that we were both writing to one another at the very same time today, Vicky! Kindred spirits! I just couldn’t wait to send you photos of my snowman (actually, a gardening snow lady!) watching over my Winter garden!⛄️ I just knew you would enjoy the contrast in our gardens at the same moment in time.
      Vicky, you should be so very proud of the amazing garden you have created in a few short years! It truly is a food forest! It’s such a GREAT idea to document your changing view month by month. Can’t wait to to see your photos! Love your hammock dream, dear friend! It will happen. You have made so many of your BIG dreams come true… and your TINY dreams, too!😊
      New Zealand has navigated the pandemic so well right from the start under very wise leadership. Are people still being asked to wear masks in the cities and towns even though there is no community transmission at the moment?
      I will pass along your greetings to my parents. They always enjoy hearing your latest news!💕 I will write very soon to share some fun news! Sending snowy hugs on a Summer day!💗

      • Hi Dawn, Surprisingly NZ has navigated the pandemic, mostly without the use of masks. Right now masks are mandatory on flights, and highly recommended on public transport in the Auckland region.

        love your snow lady – she’s gorgeous. What fun.
        look forward to hearing your fun news.
        Love and hugs……

  5. I am not sure how I missed this in my inbox. But I did. So this morning I enjoyed not just the wonderful stroll through your snow covered garden, but reading all the comments. We had two snows this year for the first time in 5 years! The most beautiful was the one on December 31. We had at least 4-6 inches and lots of wind and the snow blew up on the porch and covered the Christmas decorations, so pretty. Then we got a second snow 10 days later. Both snows gone in a day! And boom, back to 60’s and 70’s for daytime highs, but chilly nights.
    I am starting my seeds today. I have my grow light in place in the laundry room and I have onions transplants in a bucket on the porch that I need to get in the ground. My geraniums are starting to bloom in the barn. I noticed last night when I was putting the barn cats in for the night. Yeah!! By the way, you will love Garden Answer. Laura is just the cutest thing. She just had her second child, a little girl. I have learned so much watching her.
    Who knew Texas could do something right? At least vaccine wise, we are getting it done. Jim and I have had our first shot and on Monday we get our second. Here, our hospital has coordinated it all, although I know some pharmacies have the vaccine, but it seems to be very difficult to get a shot from them. It is going to be a relief. I still plan to wear a mask, but it will be nice to do a little shopping in a store for something other than groceries!!
    I can’t get over the shiplap embossing! ❤️ I am thinking of trying to get back into cross stitching, I have loads of supplies, but my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be and they get really tired from the strain. But I need something to do when I am stuck in the house.
    Warm here today, but another windy one and I need to fill my bird feeder.

    • Good morning. Chris! Reading all the comments is my very FAVORITE part of blogging. The nicest people have been gathering here for the past six years and it is such fun to read all of their thoughts! Everyone is welcome to share their hearts. We all learn and grow together here!!💕
      When I watched the news reports of snow in Texas, I so hoped that you got a bit, too! It sounds like the perfect kind of snow ~ all of the magic and beauty… then melting the next day! Did you take photos? I can’t resist grabbing my camera to take a walk in the fresh fallen snow! Our snow will be around for quite a while. We shoveled last night and again this morning. An Arctic blast blew in over night. Brrrrr! For the next week, most of our temperatures will be in the single digits. They are predicting some windchill temperatures of -30°F (-34.5°C). I built a snow lady in the backyard the other day.😊She will be with us for quite a while!⛄️ It’s comforting to know that the roots of my perennials and herbs are warm beneath a thick, fluffy quilt of snow.
      I love knowing that you are already doing some gardening, Chris! There is nothing like garden therapy to brighten a day and lighten the heart! Can’t wait to watch the Garden Answer videos on You Tube with a cup of tea! I know I will enjoy them, too!
      Chris, it makes me so happy every time I hear that friends have already received their vaccines. It makes me feel so hopeful that we are slowly making progress! My parents will get their second dose on Wednesday along with the staff and other residents in their senior community. I’m so relieved! In the meantime, I will wait for my turn. It could be up to twelve weeks to vaccinate everyone in Phase 1b in our heavily populated county.
      Kindred spirits, my friend! I also gathered some stitching projects in a big basket near my rocking chair. The cross stitching projects include herb pattens to stitch onto dishtowels and hearts and flowers to stitch onto the edges of pillowcases. I also have a fun, primitive design to try my hand at punch needle embroidery. By evening, though, my eyes are tired. Perhaps they could be my daytime projects on a cold, snowy weekend!
      Sending sunny wishes to you and Jim. Be well, sweet friend!💗

  6. Hello Dawn! As always, reading your words brings a smile to my face! I loved seeing your snow covered tea garden and all the other gorgeous snowy yard pictures you shared. I will send you some pics of our snow adventures right now! Hope you are well. I feel your warm squishy hug and I’m sending one right back to you! xo!

    • What a treat to hear from you, Mo! How did you know that I was thinking of you TODAY?💕 Hope you and your whole family are healthy. This is the perfect time for snowy adventures, isn’t it? Last week, I had great fun building a snow lady in our backyard, near the herb and tea garden. I named her Rosemary (in honor of my favorite herb!). Rosie loves our Arctic temperatures! ☃️ I hope she will be around for a long time! Can’t wait to see photos of your Winter adventures, Mo!
      I really miss our visits and long talks, dear friend. Be well.
      Sending even more hugs!💗

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