The sky was blue and clear today, the temperatures in the high 50s, and after too many weeks of neglecting both the garden and this blog, it seemed like today was a good day to get back into both. I guess I experienced some autumn burnout the last couple months, but it felt good to get outside today to begin cleaning up and clearing away the detritus from last year's efforts.
We had a couple nights of light frost about two weeks ago--something that doesn't happen very often around here. I saw on the weather report that frost was expected so I moved as many of my potted plants into the mini-greenhouse or under the cover of the carport as I could possibly move. As for what remained in the rest of the yard, I covered the dwarf meyer lemon and my two pepper plants and hoped for the best. I'm glad I took the time to do all this because all the plants I covered or moved did fine. Because most of the rest of the plants are close to the house or a fence, they were sheltered enough to get by. So the only real damage was to the salvias in the middle of the yard, a Martha Washington geranium which may or may not be dead now, and a few frost-burned leaves on the two brugmansias.
My work today consisted entirely of pruning and cleaning up. I cut back the blackened salvias, pruned the shrub roses, and pulled out the remains of the roma bean plants. I also pruned the clematis, even though most of the sources I checked said that it shouldn't be pruned until February or March. When I looked closely today I saw that it was already budding, so I cut it back to the buds.
There was actually a good deal of budding already happening in the yard, including this fragrant narcissus, and a few die-hards, such as the snapdragons and dianthus, are still flowering on. I'm always surprised by these signs of growth in the middle of winter, even though I know well enough that gardening here in the Bay Area is a year-round endeavor for both the gardener and the plants.
The first bit of planting for the year was also done today, although not by me. While I was working away with my pruners, a blue jay dropped by to carefully plant a fat peanut under a small mound of mulch. I guess he thought it was a good day for gardening too.
Happy New Year to all!