Part Of A Landscape

Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’ (Tete-a-Tete Daffodil)

Singer and songwriter James Taylor grew up in Chapel Hill, exploring as a child the wooded banks of Morgan Creek before the land along there was developed and fashioned into suburbia. He references this place in his song “Copperline.”

Speaking with Rolling Stone in 2015, Taylor said: “This is another song about home, about my father, about a childhood that was very peaceful, which is a rare thing today. I felt like I was part of a landscape in those days – the trees, the streams and the rivers, the animals that lived there.”
Songfacts. Retrieved February 8, 2020.

During my college days at Carolina, Taylor’s unique voice was a constant in our dorm, as roommate, suite mates and I sang and danced along. I can easily place my freshman self right back at his concert in Carmichael Auditorium, listening to bittersweet sound of “Fire and Rain,” cheering the spirit of his “Carolina In My Mind,” and believing him when he sang “You’ve Got a Friend.”

It was Carole King’s lyrics of this last song that set me thinking down this path this morning, “Winter, spring, summer, or fall.” Our weather is more likely to be “winter, spring, winter, spring, summer, winter, summer, fall, actually summer again, eventually fall, just kidding–summer…” and that is just during a two-week period. It was winter here again at early morning, 27 degrees F. with frosty coatings atop the grass and plants in the garden.

Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)

Another line from “You’ve Got a Friend” rang true as well this week: “If the sky… above you should turn dark and full of clouds.” The past few days here were marked by fierce rain, wind and tornado warnings. The river birch easily gave up stray branches all over the yard, the garden sank below standing water for a while. Some trees were down, lots of neighbors lost power, but we were spared. I righted new pots of hellebores that were blown over from a spot where they have been patiently waiting to be planted. If it will dry out a bit I can see that happening soon.



After several weeks of cautious peeking, Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’ and ‘King Alfred’ had finally begun opening earlier in the week, just before being battered by rain

Daffodils In The Rain


Fortunately daffodils are as resilient as they are bright and cheerful.

Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’ (Tete-a-Tete Daffodil)

Winter daphne is beginning to exhibit tiredness and a few of the flowers have begun to fade. The intoxicating fragrance was heightened earlier in the week when temperatures reached 70s, but was not detectable early this cold morning. The sky at 9 a.m. was rich with blue, but gloomy gray clouds descended soon thereafter and hung over the day.

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Planted last May this perennial seems poised to flower: Armeria pseudarmeria ‘Ballerina Lilac’. I am anxious to see how it performs but it does seem to have made a too early appearance.

Armeria pseudarmeria ‘Ballerina Lilac’

Armeria pseudarmeria ‘Ballerina Lilac’

I planted over a hundred anemone bulbs in the borders last year. They are very short-lived in my garden but a disappointing number, most in fact, failed to live or show up at all, perhaps victims of squirrels and voles. Now a few extras that I had stuck into plastic pots and tucked among some other plants have emerged the past few weeks. The flower heads are tucked down. Blue or white? Anemone De Caen ‘Mr Fokker’ or A. St Brigid ‘Mt Everest’, which one survived?


23 thoughts on “Part Of A Landscape

  1. Eliza Waters

    Daffs are so cheerful! That was quite the storm system stretching the entire eastern seaboard all the way to Canada. I’m glad you had no heavy damage. Wind particularly scares the heck out of me!

  2. Kristin

    We moved to Chapel Hill from Wisconsin for grad school. I remember walking around Eastwood Lake and being amazed and happy to see daffs blooming before my end of February birthday. Thank you for happy memories of our two years in North Carolina. I do miss it.

  3. Kris Peterson

    Your daffodils have a head start on mine (discounting the paperwhite and small-cupped Narcissus). My anemones are also very short-lived so, if I grow them at all (as I am this year), I treat them as annuals. Our February weather has also been variable, albeit within a much narrower extreme. There’s a chance of rain tomorrow, which will be great if it actually materializes – December’s rain was promising but now we’re running well below average for our all too short rainy season.

  4. tonytomeo

    Daphne is exemplary. We used to grow it, but I would have preferred not to. Our client purchased as many as we could grow, but they never looked good enough to sell, and I doubt many of them looked good in the landscapes they went into. They are none too keen on the climate here.

      1. tonytomeo

        Oh, I certainly get that! I still grow species that I found in the Los Angeles region, even though some are intolerant of mild frost here. However, if I were a landscape designer, like our clients were, I would not prescribe unreliable plants for the landscapes of clients just because I happen to like them. Daphne is great for those of us who want to grow it in our own gardens, but not something that I would recommend elsewhere in our region.

  5. Pauline

    Your daffs and hellebores are lovely, they make such a super splash of colour on a cold February day! Your Daphne is fantastic, much better than mine! We have had our latest storm howling through our trees all night, I’m just hoping we have no damage when I eventually venture outside!

  6. Cathy

    Your winter seems to be mild, nonetheless, and you have some lovely greenery and flowers to enjoy. 😃 The Armeria looks like an interesting plant. Look forward to seeing the flowers. My new hellebores are also waiting to be planted – the ground was frozen all week and now we are awaiting a hurricane so they are tucked away in a safe corner!

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Cathy. That Armeria looked very unhappy and droopy today when I checked on it. Don’t know if it’s the cold or the wetness it resents but it’s very pouty. Hope the storm doesn’t cause you any problems.


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