The little things brightening my January

January viola

January is a never an easy month for me. I brace myself every year for the month when my seasonal affective disorder hits the hardest and I find myself surfing the internet at midnight looking for flights to Hawaii.

But this year has been a bit different, in a good way.

January violas

This time last year I had spent the last 5 months of 2010 significantly incapacitated by my own body, and I was waiting anxiously for surgery to rectify the issues. The garden was overgrown and unruly, and I was helpless to change that fact as I sat inside watching anything entertaining I could find on Netflix.

Having been through that experience and journaling it on a blog so I can go back and read about it has provided me with a significant amount of perspective. I took mental notes then and have enacted them this year.

January lavender

This year I decided that I would make sure and plant a small winter container garden on the back deck. In the past I haven't wanted to spend money on annual flowers because it seemed like a waste of resources.

But this year was different.

In November, I went to the local nursery and bought potted herbs--chives, oregano, marjoram and a couple of varieties of thyme. Then I bought winter annuals (we have those here) to plant in the pots next to the herbs. I got pretty little violas with purple and white faces, pansies in rich jewel tones, and ruffled snapdragons in a pale peachy pink (my favorite). I couldn't resist a beautiful purple and green decorative kale so I got it too.

January kale

I filled the terra cots pots with the little splashes of color. When I was done, it seemed like a lot of work for such a small space. But I knew it would be worth it come January.

And I was right.

Sheltered against the house on our southwestern facing deck, the flowers have thrived despite frosty nights with temps below freezing. And around 1 pm when the afternoon sun makes its way to that side of the house, I go out and bask in it for a while to soak up the important rays that fend off my seasonal affective disorder. Along with some potted lavender that's chosen to continue blooming through the winter, the little potted flowers are my companions and they are brightening my January, making it so much easier this year than in years past.

If that isn't enough and I really need a pick-me-up, I stand under the loquat tree growing on the super-sunny-south-side of the house and watch honeybees buzz from blossom to blossom as if January never happens in their little world. The honeybees on the loquats remind me that February almond blossoms, daffodils and narcissus are right around the corner. And soon it will be spring.

January loquat blossoms

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  1. Cindy, You are such a smart lady! I love your little corner of heaven in January. What a great idea! Not such a waste of money on those annuals. In Palmdale I was able to get my petunias to winter over if the winter was mild and they were in a protected corner. My aloe vera plant did the same thing.
    I'm so glad you've found a good solution for SAD... that reminds me... I need to go bask!

  2. Violas are a favorite during the colder months. They have such a sunny appearance. I always plant some in the fall, and they usually last through spring.

  3. Those flowers would brighten up even the most dreary of January days!

  4. The perfect idea for lifting the winter blues!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and visiting!

  5. What a lovely little container garden. Everything here is frozen and covered in snow. We're finally getting that cold weather and snowfall we've been warned to expect. So far, we're enjoying it.

  6. What a heartfelt post, and the photos are fabulous. An enjoyable read. Thank you.


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