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Happy New Year! We are entering 2021 with ample moisture in the ground, with some mild, sunny days, followed by some really cool nights. Even though central Arkansas has had some lows in the mid to upper 20’s, we still have a lot of plants growing. I have heard from other gardeners about some plants that are still producing that shouldn’t be—one has a candy corn vine (Manettia)

(a very marginal perennial in our area, that in a mild winter could come back from the root system) still blooming! Others have some roses with flowers on them.

But more distressing, is my big leaf hydrangeas—Hydrangea macrofolia. I have several plants with buds breaking dormancy,

and it is just the beginning of January! I also have some flower buds with color on my Encore azaleas.

And while my sasanqua camellias are stunning and covered in flowers and buds,

I have had open blooms on my japonica camellia,

which normally doesn’t bloom until late February or early March. Plants in my garden seem to be confused. There is nothing we can do to stop growth, and I for one, will not be outside covering these plants whenever the temperatures are low. It is too early in the season. I would be doing it constantly. I might consider it in March, but not in January. Time will tell if I have damage or not.

My winter vegetables are loving the weather.

I still have lots of lettuce that I am harvesting—with no damage at all, plus greens, kale, and now beautiful broccoli is coming on. I have not covered any of it so far this winter.

The weather was so nice early in the week that I finally got out and cleaned up some beds and planted hundreds of spring bulbs.

You would think that with all the home time I have had, they would all have been planted months ago. Between rain and other projects, it just didn’t get done, but they are planted and I now await spring. I planted a lot of unusual bulbs along with some more daffodils, tulips and hyacinths. My augur attachment for the drill worked like a charm.

I will warn you that if it catches a root underground, you need to be able to stop or it can twist your wrist something fierce! It did make planting much easier than normal, even in some of the worst rocky soils.

I got all the Christmas decorations down inside, so I went from merry and bright to boring, so I put up Valentine's Decorations.

I think I need some Valentine lights! I also potted up a new amaryllis bulb

and some paperwhite narcissus to give me some color down the road.

The holiday season is over and things should slow down a bit. Time to get back to organizing everything inside.

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