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.
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.
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.
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.
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.