Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Now and Then . . .

The creative juices have been very sluggish lately.  Perhaps it's the cold that is not only creeping into my bones but chilling the brain cells as well.  Bundling up against the cold to trudge outside to take pictures of stems protruding from snowdrifts has lost its luster.  My computer is feeling sluggish, too, and I've been slowly going through the photo files deleting duplicates and fuzzy pictures, hoping this will perk it up.  As I sift through photo after photo of summer blooms, I remember a post that Tatyana did last year about the contrasts between then and now, and the writer's block is lifted--at least temporarily.

Whoever tramped through the snow in front of my house--and I suspect it was a four-legged creature, not a two-legged one who would know better--would hardly guess from this barren scene now . . .

. . . what it looked like in June.  Then it was a sea of green dotted with the occasional pink or blue bloom.

The dried remains of a hydrangea seen now are a withered reminder of the days of summer . . .

. . . Then they were a vision of pink.

Right now visitors might be puzzled by this strange-looking structure.

But if they had seen it in May, then they would have understood its purpose in supporting 'Nelly Moser."

There is some "winter interest" in the lily bed now.

But I much prefer its summer and fall appearance; it looked entirely different then.

A gardener could probably still identify this plant as an amsonia now.

But it was much easier to identify it by its foliage all summer long into November.  Actually, as much as I liked it then, I'm really looking forward to this spring when I hope this first-year plant will be covered with a mass of tiny blue blossoms.

And as photogenic as the coneflowers are now covered in snow . . .

 .. . I'd much rather see them as they looked then, in mid-summer.

The same holds true for the Susans, who look kind of cool now . . .

. . . but looked oh so charming then.

The Knockout roses are still standing now . . .

. . . as they were all summer.  But then their red blooms were what caught the eye.

I don't pay much attention to the stems of the Russian Sage now.

But in the summer I checked it often; then it was a constand buzz of activity.

In the same way, it may be hard to see the appeal of fennel now. (Or is this dill?  Hard to tell in the winter.)

In the summer, though, it held a lot of interest for the grandkids as well as for me.  Then we would inspect it carefully and count how many swallowtail caterpillars we could find.

No life in the goldenrod now.

In the fall--then it was full of insects galore.

Roco's garden now . . .

. . . and then.

Some containers were left outside this fall, and now they're frozen solid.

In summer it was a different story; then they were an eye-catcher, not an eyesore.

I really don't have the winter blues.  I'm using the free time right now to get some much-needed housework done, including cleaning out closets and shelves. It's nice, too, to be able to read a book snuggled under a comforter or to watch the Illini games without feeling guilty about neglecting garden chores. 

But, oh, am I ready for spring--when "then" becomes "now" once again.

"Oh Wind, if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"
--Percy Shelley


  1. Good work, getting all those comparison shots - it's just amazing what happens between May and January when you have a climate of extremes, as we do also in New England. Such a comfort to have those lovely pictures, to know that spring is more than a dream!

  2. This just goes to show you have so much to look forward to Rose. Taking care of all of this beauty in your garden gives you the right to have a rest during winter. Relax and enjoy it. Take this time to read, write and dream about the garden.

  3. A lovely post Rose and a timely reminder of better things to come! Beautiful photos and such striking contrasts.

    I have Nelly Moser in my garden, I love her she has been with me for many years and is most forgiving of my neglect ;)

    Not too long to wait now Rose, the quote at the end of your post says it all!

  4. I love before-and-after and then-and -now contrasts. I can't get enough of them, especially the big woody plants like the trees that are so recognizable in different seasons, but so altered! You have some great picture pairings in this post... I really enjoyed them.

  5. I'm trying to enjoy the beauty in winter, to find joy in the present, but like you I'll be oh so ready for the new life of spring!

  6. Wow, what fun to see the thens and nows. I especially like that first garden....love all those shade lovers. Your Black-eyed Susans in the winter photo really look cool. Sure miss those sunny blooms of the Purple Coneflowers and Susans and Daisies!

  7. What a lovely post! The contrasts are simply amazing. Such beauty now and then even. Wowser on the crabapple and coneflowers!

  8. That was fascinating to see the winter and summer/spring scenes next to each other. I think my photos help me get through these difficult months. Sometimes I can't believe anything will ever grow ever when it is covered in a foot of snow!
    I think your garden is beautiful winter or summer.

  9. Loved to see the Summer/Winter differences and it warms the heart to be able to look forward to such beautiful sights again.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  10. love love this post! your garden is beautiful, even in winter. i love that tree in the last photo. i also love the clematis. i planted one in the summer as well, a dark blue/purplish, and i can't wait to see it go crazy this summer. ahhh! why does warm weather have to be so far away?
    do you grow hollyhocks? i planted a bunch of seeds last year and i'm wondering if they will bloom this year.

  11. Hi Rose, this post clearly gives us all hope, hope for what is to come. We tend to look at a winter garden and forget all that is sleeping beneath the soil.

    Enjoy the winter days, time to gather strength ready for the seasons ahead. Time to dream about your new border and the wonderful plants you will add to it.

    Tku for the bee image, I very much needed that.

  12. What a very interesting post...I really enjoyed it. Balisha

  13. Hi Rose, this was a GREAT post - I loved the comparisons... your Summer comparisons are so lush and beautiful! :-) Are you feeling warmer or better(!)now??

  14. Haha...I have to agree with you, no matter how much we all love winter interest, nothing compares to the real deal in spring and summer!

  15. A+ post, dear Rose. Believe me, I appreciate the time involved and you did it so beautifully! Thank you for the lovely reminder with one of my favorite quotes.

  16. What a great post! I really love your shade garden in the second picture. I'm with you--I can't wait for spring!

  17. Love this post! I'm feeling exactly the same way. You really put things into perspective. Soon we'll be taking the spring photos again! It can't come soon enough!

  18. What a fantastic post this is, Rose! The perfect anodyne for this time of year...you've made me see the winter wonderland outside with clearer, happier eyes...thank you for inspiring me. Now, if the wind would just stop blowing here...

  19. Such vivid contrasts - and proof of why it is always worth taking loads of photos of the same area! The summer flowers are gorgeous, but the snowy scenes have their own beauty, testimony to your gardening skills that there is still so much to catch the eye.

  20. I love the contrasts of these images and the finishing quotation was perfect. Hold in there. Spring will come. I actually see beauty in your winter shots too.

  21. Cyndy, Cleaning up some of my photo files has actually been therapeutic, especially looking at all the blooms from the past year.

    Lisa, I am spending lots of time planning and dreaming of this year's garden. I have a long list of plants I want:)

    Songbird, I don't do anything to my 'Nelly' either, and she's done quite well.

    Laurrie, Digging through my files to find the "before" photos took some time, but was fun.

    Garden Sense, The first snow was magical, and I put on boots to go tramping outside to find good photos. Now I just look at from inside my warm house:)

    Janet, The shade garden is my favorite, too. No indoor blooms can match the cheery faces of coneflowers and Susans.

    Tina, the crabapple and the coneflowers are two of my favorites, too.

    Rosey, Thanks, but if it weren't for the trees, I don't think I would have much "winter interest" here. Going through summer photos has been good therapy.

    Maggie, The best part of winter for me is that it makes me appreciate spring all the more.

    Rachel, I have lots of hollyhocks that grow wild here. They're biennial, so you should probably see some blooming this year.

  22. Cheryl, So good to hear from you again! Yes, it's amazing what lies beneath this frozen ground; it's always a delight to see the green popping through in spring.

    Balisha, Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for stopping by!

    Shady, Yes, seeing all these colorful blooms in my files warmed my heart as well as the old bones.

    Scott, Winter has its own beauty, but it can't compare to spring or summer, that's for sure!

    Joey, I know the way December and January have flown by, that spring is not that far away.

    Rose, The shade garden is one of my favorite spots; I just kept sticking in more plants until it was crammed full, but that's the way I like it:)

    Plant, I think all gardeners long for spring this time of year.

    Jodi, It's hard to remember when the wind is howling and the snow is falling, that this, too, will pass.

    Plantlicious, Thank you, but I think my garden could use more winter interest. But when I'm planting, I'm only thinking of summer blooms, it seems.

    Sarah, Shelley's quote is one my favorites, even if he was talking about a different kind of "spring."

  23. I enjoyed seeing your comparison shots. It's amazing the difference between white winter and green summer isn't it? The Crabapple tree is a vision of loveliness.

  24. Those are amazing contrasts and so beautiful in both seasons.

    A post full of hope.



  25. Now this is what blogging is all about: Slowing down the merry-go-round to let your friends on for a spin. I think I'll get off at that crabapple tree in bloom, please! Thanks for the ride on the virtual time machine, Rose. Enjoy that novel you're reading and tell us what you think about it.

  26. Hi Rose,
    I enjoyed seeing your comparisons. I am so excited for spring to get here.

    Thanks for your comment on my bird post. I think your cat may make the birds shy to visit the feeder, too. We haven't made it out to put the other one back together.

  27. Quite a contrast Rose! One of the things I really appreciate about blogging is all the photos. This a wonderful time of year to sort through them and enjoy the springs, summers, and falls of gardens past, while looking forward to the spring to come.

    No winter blues here either - just enjoying all the wonderful things I don't have time for during the gardening season. I love the slower pace of winter.

  28. Rose girl I have so enjoyed this post and well done YOU ! For getting out there in the cold and taking those pictures to contrast with those gorgeous Spring/Summer ones .. that tree is absolutely stunning : )I love it ! You have to let me know what that heuchera is that has your complete name please? There are so many gorgeous plants out there it is driving me mad .. and we have so long to wait yet which is another driving me mad thing as well .. I just keep cruising the net and the length of the lust list gets longer and longer !
    Joy : )

  29. Rose, it's all so beautiful, and it won't be too many more months. Did I just say months? Waaah! Well, anyway, I loved your photographs. Lovely.~~Dee

  30. What fabulous contrasting photos you have there. Roll on summer!

  31. This evening it was still light out when we had our supper and we both commented on how the days are getting longer!
    Thank goodness for photographs and birds! They get me by until once again the bugs fly. I am planning to grow more herbs and a couple of fig trees in 2011, now to figure out where!
    Enjoy the down time we will be too hot too soon!

  32. Hi Rose. This is a fantastic post. Such a great way to showcase the seasons. In some of those snow shots, it is hard to imagine all the beauty underneath. I missed Tatyana's post but I'm sure you made her proud. I agree it's hard to be creative this time of year with blogging but it won't be long till we have lots to write about.
    I liked your New Years resolutions too. I share a few of yours. Also, congrats on the wedding ~ that's very exciting.

  33. What a neat post! I like that idea "then and now". Can't wait for spring, but like you, I have lots of housework, etc. to keep me busy.
    Renovations are almost done and now I like this house. Thinking I might stay here. Well, not really, it's still too big and the soil too sandy. I'm looking forward to something smaller with hopefully much better soil.
    Keep warm. January's almost done.

  34. Rose, Are you braced for more snow? I think Old man Winter is still going to throw some all of our ways~Love this post and the then and now beauties~The stems and seedheads look good with snow~Maybe not so much snow, though. Keep warm, gail

  35. Deleting fuzzy photos and duplicates has been occupying my winter evenings too Rose. I really enjoyed your post. I am consoling myself with the thought that if we did not have the nows we would not appreciate the thens quite as much :)

  36. Rose, I enjoyed this post more than I can say. When I got to the Susans photo, my heart went thump.

    Your winter garden is different than the summer one, but still interesting. I cut almost everything down to the ground in the late fall. Maybe I should rethink that idea.

    The swallowtail caterpillar photo is great. It looks HUGE.

    We've had a new computer for a couple of weeks now and I swear that there's an evil spirit residing in it. We keep losing wireless.

    Hope the recent winter storm didn't beat you up too badly.


  37. Rose, I know you'll welcome spring with an open heart and open arms! I understand cabin fever a bit better this year ... I'm so glad winter's almost over down here in Texas!


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