Warm and Sunny Friday
Two days ago the weather could not have more different from today, as Friday was sunny and mild and today is not. The temperature Friday reached the high 70s, not high enough to set a record, but warm enough to beckon everyone to get outside. On that day we took in a lunch-time stroll around the nearby Botanical Garden (NCBG).
All fall at the Botanical Garden I have admired a large planting of Ilex verticillata (Common Winterberry). The display of red berries has been very bright and long-lived.
The other thing that caught my attention that day at NCBG was an eastern North American native that reminded me of my childhood when Clark’s Teaberry chewing gum was popular. The plant is Gaultheria procumbens (Eastern Teaberry). It is a low-growing evergreen with a wintergreen scent.
Earlier Friday, I had ventured out in my own garden with the camera looking for flowers. I found very little blooming but I did notice the last vestiges of the pass-along Chrysanthemums. How can it be that this flower could begin in November sporting yellow centers with pale white petals, yet as always, end up pink.
I have obviously sited the Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea) in the wrong place. Trying to give it shade, it is tucked in so close to the fence between gardenias and behind a large spirea that it is mostly invisible until I happen right up on it. Maybe that is not so bad to have a nice surprise. This little Ruby Slippers seems to be growing well and lives up to its promise of colorful foliage.
Last winter I ordered several kinds of Anemone coronaria and they were very late shipping. It was already very hot by their arrival time. Soon after I planted the bulbs I resigned myself they had all died, but I came across a few survivors Friday. Planted here are ‘The Bride’ and ‘Mr. Fokker’ and it will be exciting to see them bloom next spring (if in fact that’s what these are).
There was a chance of frozen rain today but we seemed to have missed it, with the temperature hovering at 34-35°F. The rain portion of the prediction was accurate.
Most of the day I have been sipping coffee and watching birds take turns at the feeders through the cold drizzle. There was so much activity at early morning that I took advantage of a momentary break in the rainfall to top off the seeds in the feeders.
Colorful red cardinals are equally beautiful against the green of junipers or against the brown stems of spirea or gray branches of dogwood. At mid-morning a pair of Eastern Bluebirds join in. A couple of Blue Jays showed up for a while, but did not dominate the feeders as I had expected.
Finding an opening, White-breasted Nuthatches, Carolina Chickadees, Black-capped Chickadees, and Dark-eyed Juncos flit in to quickly grab a seed. Northern Flickers and Towhees peck through the underbrush of browned stalks and stems—remnants of perennials left around for winter.
Their pace has not slowed all day.
Lovely sights in December. Most of my berries are gone as they are my feeders….and you have things still growing which is a wonderful sight to see…love that clematis seed head!
Thanks Donna. I’m sure your birds appreciate the berries you provide. Have a good week.
I’m a little late and only just set up the bird feeder today. No seed yet, I’m waiting for another day or two for the pole to freeze into the ground and sturdy up…..
No chances for a 70 degree day here anytime soon!
The birds here can really run through the seed quickly this time of year. We actually leave the feeders up year-round. (I don’t mean to rub it in but it reached 78 degrees Friday. Didn’t last though!)
Watching birds dashing in and out of the feeders is very entertaining for me too. We put the feeders up from late fall to late spring, we let them forage on their own (working the garden) in summer. We provide fresh clean water year round though. At this time of year we always put out a couple of heated birdbaths so they can have water when most bodies of water around here have frozen. It’s very interesting to see different types of birds gather around the birdbath, looks like they are socializing at the hot springs.
So your garden is the local avian community hot spot! I can just imagine how lovely it is to watch the birds gathering at your birdbath.
To say the weather has changed is an understatement, right? Brrrr! Friday was like heaven, this weekend not so much.
I like the looks of ‘Ruby Slippers’.
I have great hopes for Ruby Slippers. The weather is crazy this year! (Sweetbay, I enjoyed your roses and Amsonia images on your blog, but still was unable to get a comment to go through using WordPress credentials.)
A rainy day is a nice opportunity to sit and contemplate the garden. Your bird names all sound so exotic to me!
Yes, the birds can be quite different from yours I imagine. I haven’t been able to photograph the birds well with my camera but maybe someday I’ll get some nice images to go along with those bird names.
Beautiful winterberry with the seedheads of that grass!
I have photographed that winterberry several times when visiting the botanical garden this fall. It really is remarkable against the grass.
Good news the foliage is Anemone coronaria, mine is looking just the same, the new ones I planted this autumn aren’t showing yet though so there’s time for more of your to grow.
Exciting news Christina! Thanks. I have seen it growing in gardens here and have admired it growing in your garden, so I will be thrilled if these flower.
The berries on the winterberry are so beautiful, such a contrast with the grasses. I do like your little oak leaved Hydrangea, what a stunning colour the leaves are!
Thanks Pauline. I’m so partial to red–the oak leaf Hydrangea leaves and the Winterberry berries draw me right in.
What a smashing combination, Ilex vert. and the grass! Is this the only deciduous Ilex? Around here they’re always evergreen. Your Hydrangea quercifolia is a true star and have its name noted – stunning foliage.
I don’t know if this is the only deciduous holly Annette. I’ll have to ask someone. So far I am pleased with Little ‘Ruby Slippers’, but I need to move it out where I can enjoy that foliage. It’s too hidden.
I also love to sit inside and watch the birdfeeders on a cold day. I have several feeders, which limits the extent to which one type of bird will hog everything.
Birdwatching has become a fun activity for us over the years. I still can’t identify many of them, especially the little brown sparrows.
Love the seed head on the Clematis ‘Jackmanii’!
Thanks so much Flora. I think the have an interesting form. Susie
Yes it is, the Clematis I have does not get the spectacular seed head on it as yours!