Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – January 2014

Buxus microphylla var koreana 'Wintergreen' (Wintergreen boxwood)

Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’ (Wintergreen boxwood)

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) crept up on me this month.  We had snow last night but well before midnight it had stopped and the ground was still green, so there are no snow pictures today. Deep cold has settled in for the next few days.

For several years a pair of Wintergreen boxwood have been growing in large blue pots by the front steps and I think it is time to transplant them to the garden.  These shrubs were labeled Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’ but I came across information today that indicates that name has been replaced with Buxus sinica var. insularis ‘Wintergreen’.  Would it be useful to have an app that notifies us when the names of our plants change?

These boxwoods have formed buds and the eventual flowers are supposed to be insignificant but fragrant. I do not remember them blooming last year. These shrubs have a loose, open habit which I like, but they can be tightly sheared and shaped as well. The leaf color is quite bronze during the winter, a deep green at other times of the year.

Buxus microphylla var koreana 'Wintergreen' (Wintergreen boxwood)

Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’ (Wintergreen boxwood)

Buxus microphylla var koreana 'Wintergreen' (Wintergreen boxwood)-3

Elsewhere a small pot of mixed sedum purchased a couple of years ago has spilled out and spread into an interesting ground cover. These seem tolerant of winter temperatures that have reached down into the ‘teens.

Mixed Sedum-2

Mixed Sedum

Mixed Sedum

Five new gardenias were planted a year and a half ago in the heat of August, all appropriately named ‘August Beauty’. The expectation is these will grow into a 5-foot tall evergreen hedge to screen the air conditioner units located next to the northeast corner of the house.

During the past summer they filled out slightly, gained a couple of inches in height and looked healthy and green. These gardenias are hardy to zones 8-11 and some sources list zones 7-11, which is good because pbmGarden is in planting zone 7b.  There has been some damage to a few leaves but I am optimistic the shrubs will survive the cold weather.

Signs of cold damage on Gardenia jasminoides 'August Beauty' (Gardenia)

Signs of cold damage on Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’ (Gardenia)

This garden is definitely designed with spring in mind, so to show it in its wintry garb is to lay it out bare and unprotected.  My tendency is to want to show carefully posed images that present the best features of the garden.  Winter though imposes a hard dose of reality. The sparseness makes the garden look lonely and in retreat. The grass is green though and a few evergreens enliven the view. If the various trees could speak they might explain what happened to their planned, but long-lost partners—which drought year, poor pruning decision, or other problem doomed these survivors to try their best to stand tall and go it alone in a spotty arrangement.

With objective eyes I see the awkwardness, the unrealized potential and I readily acknowledge winter brings a good opportunity to examine the structure of the garden and make plans.

Garden View In WInter

Garden View In WInter

But looking down on the garden this morning with my subjective eyes, I notice a special, if imperfect, place. Three bluebirds line up ready to make their moves toward the feeder. Red cardinals flit in and out of the bare spirea branches and chickadees, Carolina wrens, towhees and many other birds find momentary shelter in the brown, stalky remnants of the previous season as they forage for food or await a turn at the feeder. The sun spreads through the garden as it rises, highlighting portions until finally enveloping it all in the best warm glow it can muster on this frigid day. And I find walking along the meditation path in winter brings a particular clarity and peacefulness.

So on this Foliage Day I must remind myself it is ok to just be content. There will always be space for improvement in this garden, but already it is a good place and happy one, even in its winter clothes.

Thanks to Christina for hosting GBFD on the 22nd of each month. Visit her at Garden of the Hesperides to discover what foliage displays she and other garden bloggers are featuring today.

11 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – January 2014

  1. Christina

    It is so nice to hear a gardener being satisfied or better perhaps content, even with the inperfections of their garden. We all ‘see’ what needs to be done, the clever thing is to see what has been achieved. Thanks for joining GBFD again this month.

  2. bittster

    I think the most complimentary gardeners are always most critical of their own creations. You have a great deal of winter interest and springtime promise. I like the clean look of a winter garden and think it’s a great stage for spring.

  3. garden98110

    Thank you for your courage to share the winter bones of your garden. It pleases my eyes to see the balance of shapes and the contour of textures, near ground, foreground and background. The bench that invites contemplation and a terrace for gathering and sharing. Everything for a special place. – The Healing Garden gardener

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thank you Healing Garden gardener. Your signature reminds me why I garden in the first place. The garden provides layers of soothing and calm and in a few weeks I’ll be looking past my winter discontent.

  4. Cathy

    I have been doing the same Susie – in winter we can see the “bones” of the garden and it’s a good time for reflection and replanning. But I think we all tend to be really too harsh on ourselves… it all fills out and looks wonderful in spring and early summer! You have good reason to be content though – it looks so peaceful and green! 😀

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Cathy, I do think the garden is peaceful and green too. It’s good to be reminded. When it get to working in the garden again I will forget these worries. I think writing about it has helped me understand what bothers me most about the winter garden–it seems so exposed and if I continue adding some taller trees/shrubs for privacy it will suit me better. Your garden has stayed very green this year. Do you miss the snow? Susie

      1. Cathy

        I do miss it Susie! If there’s no snow the days seem greyer than ever! The news is all about the lack of snow in the ski resorts again. Maybe we’ll get some yet!

  5. gardeninacity

    Well, your garden is definitely songbird approved, and that should count for a lot. Personally, I’m with the songbirds – I like the look of your garden, including your use of hardscape.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.