Each year I find myself in a (not so) strange malaise come Feburary. It can’t be strange any longer, for it happens every year!

It is not Cabin Fever (though that is very real and has been in effect since shortly after the holidays but can be kept to a dull roar with good books and household projects). Nor is it Spring Fever (much, much too far off). It is Instagram Initiated Allegrophobia.

IIA. It is no joke.

IIA is a condition wherein your Instagram feed starts to fill, slowly at first- then rapidly, with growing plants and gardeners actually gardening. Allotments are springing to life. Helebores and Snowdrops are putting on their shows. Bulbs are awakening and dirt is being worked. The United Kingdom and Europe’s gardens and gardeners are starting their growing season and are all too keen to share it. These visually documented activities are only dangerous when the viewer’s own outdoor conditions include 2 or more of the following: snow, ice, frozen ground, sub-freezing temperatures, wind-chills, and/or sunless skies.


You see, it is the combination of the viewer’s outdoor conditions and the inverse outdoor conditions showing up en masse on one’s Instagram feed that creates the perfect storm and allows IIA to take hold. Symptoms include premature seed starting, aggressive project planning, summer bulb shopping, and the nagging sensation that you are behind the curve.

Of course the solution should be easy. Stay off Instagram! Stop following British gardeners! But lo, where would I get my daily dose of green? It is the one color us Northern gardeners are in such short supply of this time of year so Instagram will have to stay. I have found a few short term cures that seem to work, they include premature seed starting, aggressive project planning, and summer bulb shopping!

I hope that you all have been able to avoid IIA, I have not. But I do have a summer bulb order to show for it (Brent & Becky’s to the rescue, as usual)!

Agapanthus ‘Blue Yonder’– its hardy to zone 5! Two have been ordered and will be potted up into matching glazed pots. They should over-winter easily in either our garage or the basement. I’m not expecting blooms this year, but with any luck they will be mainstays on the patio for years to come.

Image result for agapanthus blue yonder
Image via Santa Rosa Gardens

Alocasia Portora– I have two coming and they are going to be giant and glorious on the patio and make a lush addition to the banana plant. These should certainly fix the lack of impact that the patio plantings had last year.

Image result for alocasia portora
Image via AgriStarts

Crocosmia ‘Tobias’– 10 of these are on order and should make for a bright, tropical pop of color to offset the abundant green of the Alocasias. Their red throats mean I can bang in a whole flat’s worth of true red pelargoniums (my favorite annual, don’t tell me they are naff as I won’t have it) into the remaining pots to great effect.

Image via Brent & Becky’s Bulbs

The pond planning continues, unabated and with fervor, and there are six quarter trays of perennial seeds under the grow lights as I type. Clearly, my case of IIA isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

7 thoughts on “February.”

  1. I used to feel it was bad form to showcase our mild winters and greener gardens on blogs/social media — but it’s all a matter of timing. When the summer bounty pictures start rolling in, here in SoCal we’ll be well into our 6-7 months of no rain and/or wildfire season, and I’ll be glued to the IG feeds of moist gardens elsewhere jumping into life. Can’t wait to hear how the Portoras do in your garden!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a kind take on it! I suppose we all just want to share when everything is greening up and growing well- and we all appreciate seeing the green in other’s gardens, even if it does stir envy. I hope you all have a not-so dry season this year- I can’t imagine heading into another dry year for you all.


  2. You have done a real public service by exposing the heartbreak of IIA. Perhaps we should seek an IG feature which enables us to block posts from persons living 2 or more USDA zones away – at least during the period from January through March. Good luck with the Agapanthus and Crocosmia.

    Liked by 1 person

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