Thursday, December 9, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside!

As is typical for Ozarks weather we went from
70F  a couple of weeks ago to 12F forecast for tonight, and tomorrow it's supposed to bounce back up in the 50's, with snow on the slate for this coming weekend. It's no wonder the plants and small denizens of the garden are confused! Most of the more sensible ones have gone dormant, but I look out and still see Japanese maples with most of their leaves, white violets that insist on blooming with the first ray of sunshine, an echinacea with one brave flower, and even a hosta that has a couple of green leaves. A lot of the garden seems to be stuck betwixt and between, and I worry that the low teens are going to do some damage to plants exposed without full dormancy or at least a good snow cover to protect them until they finally give up and go to sleep for their long winter's nap.

None of the violets seem to be ready to give up
yet, and oxalis was even blooming a bit yesterday.
There are still Knockout roses in full leaf with a few flowers. As I was pulling some errant honeysuckle vines down out of a bridal wreath spirea, I noticed buds had formed and were about to open on some branches. Daffodils are poking their leaves up in sunny spots already, and that doesn't usually happen until the end of January. I haven't looked yet, but I have a suspicion I'm going to see a bit of yellow on the forsythia before Christmas!

On sunny days,
garter snake
can be found sunning itself under the crabapple tree by the pond. It must have been cold, because I got this close with my camera: even stroked it with my finger. It raised its head and regarded me with suspicion, but didn't move away. It stayed until the sun began to go down.

I wonder if this huge stick bug will find a warm place to spend the winter? I don't think I have ever seen one this big!

As climate change causes our ocean currents to change, which drive the jet stream, which in turn drives our weather, I expect we will see more and more things in nature that will seem puzzling to us. It has been going on for a several years now, but only lately is it obviously noticeable in temperate regions that have gotten colder, less rainfall in areas that used to get a lot of moisture, hotter summers and definite changes in the winters as natural cycles continue, accelerated in part by human activity. Whether or not we can actually do anything to slow down or reverse climate change, we are probably going to see more drastic swings in the weather for years to come. It didn't start in a day, and it won't end in a day. It promises to be challenging, frustrating, sometimes sad, perhaps exciting, certainly scary but interesting to see what gardening is going to be like in the future. Indeed, life on this planet!

One of the most fun things, a soft furry red kitty belly can be found, soaking up the rays in a sunny spot on the deck! Sooo tempting but a ticklish cat can be a dangerous thing if you dare to touch!

It's worth the risk! I love kitty bellies!

"The time has come, the Walrus said,
To talk of many things:
Of shoes-and ships-and sealing wax-
Of cabbages-and kings-
And why the sea is boiling hot-
And whether pigs have wings."

                        Lewis Carroll
                                              "Through the Looking Glass"