The final days of 2015 brought a welcome return to blue skies and sunshine.
Damp and unseasonable warmth was replaced with crisp clean air and starlit nights.
A tulip poplar halfway down the lane.
The fading russets and grey-browns of the winter hillside are enlivened by slanting sunlight.
Before the weather changed I spent an afternoon repotting plants.
I despair of saving my remaining rosemarys.
The two larger ones have presented brown and drying branches, brittle twigs.
I can't identify the source of the problem.
I usually add builder's sand to a standard bagged potting mix hoping to provide better drainage.
When I tipped the rosemarys from their large pots I was surprised to find that the soil toward the bottom of the pots was heavy with moisture.
I carefully pulled away soggy tangled roots, brushed soil from the remaining root balls, pruned sad looking branches and resettled the plants in fresh soil---less sand added to the mix, some peat moss worked in, a layer of crushed rock in the bottom of each pot.
I have placed them under a south window in Jim's shop.
Short of a drastic freeze-up they should be safe.
I'm not optimistic that any or all will flourish.
This is disappointing.
I trimmed the fibrous-rooted begonias which have been carried over for several seasons, brought them from the basement storage room into the laundry area to keep company on the old table with an angel wing begonia.
[Nellie feels that the table is now too crowded.]
I finished my work with the plants just before dark, potting up some slips of Swedish Ivy, and poking barely rooted stems of a vintage geranium into fresh soil, settling the remainder of my paperwhite bulbs into a decorative tin.
By the time I stored soil mix in covered buckets and swept my front porch work area,
darkness was falling.
I gathered up the pruned bits of rosemary and flung them into the wood fire--a brief burst of spicy scent in the warm kitchen.
With the change of weather we have white and frosty mornings.
Frost covers the still green lemon balm.
Willis samples ice-coated stems of catnip sprawled near the lemon balm in a corner of the
Willis can be counted upon for companionship no matter the weather.
Coming in by way of the steep concrete steps at the side of the house I stopped by the small plot where I have planted a few herbs.
Purple sage wears a frosty coat.
Inside I have been enjoying the progress of the amaryllis.
Behind it is my one remaining prostrate rosemary.
So many seedlings from that loved plant two years ago--so many of them slowly expired.
I would like to place the blame on the interminable hot and wet summer of the past year.
A marvel of delicate color and intricate folds.