I haven't adjusted to the climate and weather here in Raleigh quite yet. After living in the Mid-Atlantic weather of Maryland for 24 years, moving to the south has really changed my perspective on gardening!
Yesterday I found myself outside in my shirtsleeves, weeding and fluffing mulch, working up a sweat in 76degree humid weather. A quick line of thunderstorms moved through and rained me out of my afternoon chores. Behind the rain came cool, crisp air and clear skies. This afternoon the sun is shining brightly and the wind is light, and it's perfect for working outside!
In the fall I ordered lots and lots of daffodils, tulips and other bulbs to spread throughout the gardens for next spring. Unfortunately I had a very busy fall and didn't get them all planted before Thanksgiving. But the weather has been pretty warm, all things considered, for most of the last few months, and the ground isn't frozen. So yesterday and today I put the last few bulbs into the ground. It's strange to think that I can plant them in January and still hope for a pretty display beginning in March! Crazy! There's a chance they won't do well, but I'm hopeful that because the bulbs were outside the on the back porch for these last few months, hopefully they will have been chilled enough to sprout like normal when the time comes.
It was tough to plant these at this time of year, though, not because of the hard ground, but because everything in the bed had died off and it was tough to find the other plants in the garden! I didn't want to slice through any rootballs with my shovel, so I was careful to rake all the mulch slowly and gently, so I could find but not disturb the other plants. Since everything in this bed is less than a year old, some of them were hard to find.
I also took a little bit of time today to fluff up the mulch in some parts of the garden. The kind of mulch we laid down last year (shredded hard wood) usually decomposes and turns into good soil over the course of the fall and winter, and that's exactly what's happening now. I like the looks of it better after it's been freshly fluffed up, and the rain water has an easier time soaking into the soil when it's fluffed, too. And it makes the weeds easier to pull. So now and again I go around with the garden rake and churn things up nicely.
It's really, really nice to be out in the yard at all times of the year. That's something that we can't really do up in Maryland, because the ground freezes up and is sometimes covered in snow. But down here, we can be out getting our hands in the dirt pretty much all year long. I think it makes the long wait until spring a little more bearable. It's hard to believe that in just a couple months we'll start seeing spring growth return to the garden. That makes me very happy!