Tag Archives: winter garden

January Awakenings

On January 4, 2020 little tight hellebore buds were tucked in close to the earth. I just checked on them yesterday and they seemed content to stay hidden.  Today they have awakened.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Yesterday the lemony scent of daphne odora drifted through the air and with today’s breezes the effect is more pronounced.

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Foggy Morning Musings

It has been ages since the time when I wrote nearly daily blog entries here at pbmGarden. The goings-on in my garden are still going on, often are photographed and frequently, posts are conceived and begun, only to become abandoned for other priorities.

But the after-holidays have provided a bit of respite and this morning I had a chance to wander out into a mist of fog. First stop just out the front door our river birch beckoned. It was 47 degrees at 9:00 a.m. heading up to 67.

River Birch On Foggy Morning

By the front steps Winter daphne bides its time. Each year once I have detected daphne’s pink buds, I become anxious for the appearance of white blossoms and fragrant perfume.

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Near the front sidewalk an enterprising insect architect had been busy fashioning a pyramidal model.

Ilex cornuta ‘Carissa’ (Carissa Holly)

Ilex cornuta ‘Carissa’ (Carissa Holly)

Ilex cornuta ‘Carissa’ (Carissa Holly)

Temperature and rainfall measurements have been all over the place since late October. There have been dark days, wet ones, cold, brisk and sunny ones and a few, balmy. Off and on during this day weak sun broke through for a short time and the sky tended toward blue before settling back into dull whitewashed gray.

I stepped across the street into the neighborhood’s park for a few more photos.

Foggy Morning

Foggy Morning

The trees were filled with birds but I could not make out what kind, nor could I grab an image. I watched them dance from branch to branch and listened to their songs and maybe that was enough.

Foggy Morning

Foggy Morning

Returning home I paused at the front garden to note Iberis (candytuft) planted 18 years ago still manages to if not thrive, survive; whereas, in the meditation circle and other spots in the back gardens it is very short-lived. It is an attractive ground cover even when not in flower. I do not know what is different about this one, not sure of its name. Others I have tried are Iberis sempervirens ‘Alexander’s White’  and ‘Purity.’

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft) With Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft) With Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Nestling up to the Iberis is visually delicate Aquilegia canadensis. This native columbine is tough despite its dainty look and remains green most of the winter. Leaves sometimes take on a charming purple-red hue.

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft) With Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Through the years columbine has helped itself to new locations all around the yard. Recently I have learned to call it a useful ground cover and feel much better about it.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Are you enjoying a lull in your normal routine? Hope the days bring whatever you need, bustle or calm.

In A Vase On Monday – Holiday Cyclamen

In A Vase On Monday – Holiday Cyclamen

Each Monday from Rambling In The Garden Cathy invites us to share a vase assembled from materials collected in our gardens.

My garden club visited a member’s greenhouse during the first week of December. Although Katydid Greenhouses displayed a multitude of poinsettias, cyclamen are what I prefer for decorating with during the holidays.

Katydid Greenhouses

Fortunately there were plenty of cyclamen in varying colors from which to choose.

Katydid Greenhouses

For today’s offering I combined four cyclamen from that field trip with a few Green Trick Dianthus that caught my eye at the local grocery. I finished the arrangement with a few decorative baubles—red seedpods, glass ornaments and ribbons.

In A Vase On Monday – Holiday Cyclamen

Materials

Flowers
Cyclamen
Dianthus barbatus ‘Green Trick’
Foliage
Cyclamen
Philodendron
Container
Silverplate Bowl and Tray

White cyclamen are my favorite but this dark pink was too appealing to leave behind.

In A Vase On Monday – Holiday Cyclamen

In A Vase On Monday – Holiday Cyclamen

Yesterday’s view of the meditation circle and garden was a snowy winter wonderland.  Fortunately I managed to get all my bulbs planted early in the week. I hope they’re settled in and enjoying a nice chill.

December Snow

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower designs across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place In A Vase On Monday.

Winter Tracings And Seeking Inspiration

As predicted, yesterday afternoon temperatures dropped. Rain turned to sleet and snow, quickly dusting and revealing the garden borders and meditation circle.

It is sunny this morning. The snow will soon depart, but the image leaves me contemplating why my garden design has become so stuck. I have not given it enough attention in recent years—I know that. But even when I was actively trying, I never dreamed big enough it seems.

I say that because recently my husband and I have begun watching episodes on Netflix of two British reality TV shows on landscape gardening.

One featuring Monty Don is titled Big Dreams, Small Spaces. In this series he visits lucky home gardeners, hears their goals and plans, makes suggestions, then returns once to check on progress, and a final time to reveal the results to his viewers and celebrate with a glass of champagne with the garden owners family and friends. By the end of the show the home gardeners have cut down trees, invasive vines and cleared rubbish; built walls, ponds, terraces and pathways; planted orchards, installed living walls and created multiple borders around their property all full of hundreds of English garden flowers in full bloom.

The other show is a bit of a tear jerker, but it is more interesting to me. Love Your Garden features horticulturist Alan Titchmarsh. This show’s premise has him going around the U.K. providing garden makeovers for deserving citizens. The garden owners are sent away for a while (exactly how long is not clear) while a team of experts comes in creates a garden customized for the owners needs and interests. I like this show better because there is more effort to introduce and describe the plants being used, money seems never to be an issue, and the labor it takes to do such projects seems more accurately portrayed.  There are a few awkward contrivances, nods toward the reality show template that try to hype or to create drama, tension or humor—the show would be better without these distractions—but the episodes are full of information.

Both of these shows do a good job of showcasing public and private gardens where one can find inspiration for solving similar garden problems. Only one season each of these British shows are currently available, but I hope more will be released here.

While I am dreaming of a complete garden overhaul, I am curious what you think. Are you familiar with these garden icons? Do you study their books? Have you watched the shows?  Where do you find inspiration?

 

Fragrant Daphne

Early yesterday morning I caught my first whiff of Daphne odora.

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Just beginning to flower, the three shrubs are planted along the front of the house near the driveway. They have grown in together and appear to be one large Daphne. One of the three is D. ‘Aureomarginata’.

The cold winter and heavy snows this year severely damaged the foliage and buds. From the street side they look terrible, but the portion that backs up to the porch was more protected and will make a nice, if limited, show. And the fragrance will certainly be enjoyed.

Daphne odora (Winter daphne) protected by the overhang and proximity to the porch

The temperature yesterday reached 81° Fahrenheit. Today’s high is predicted to be 41°. I do not talk to my plants but if I did I would encourage them to “Be strong and courageous!”

In A Vase On Monday – Color In Winter

In A Vase On Monday – Color In Winter

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share an arrangement using materials collected from our gardens.

Wednesday brought a second winter snow to Chapel Hill and this time there was no messing around with a couple of inches. The garden was graced with spectacular 9.5 inches of snow. By Sunday the snow was nearly gone and the day was a pleasant 67°F.  

Snowy Beauty – On Thursday the sun returned.

The starting point for today’s vase was a piece from a large, broken branch of crape myrtle, a 3-inch circumference victim of the heavy snow. The crape myrtle wood is red and smooth and after the stark white snow it seemed especially appealing.

Crape Myrtles suffered damage from heavy snow.

I decided to sacrifice a stem from a salmon-colored phalaenopsis to set off the polished red bark. Unfortunately the portion of the crape myrtle branch that prompted this choice, the part that was interesting and colorful, was also much too thick and heavy for me to use.

In A Vase On Monday – Color In Winter

I ended up with a couple of branch tips that serve valiantly but lack the innate beauty of the red bark.

In A Vase On Monday – Color In Winter

Still I like the richness of the flowers against the gray stems. And outdoors in the garden, tucked deep within cold-touched gardenia shrubs, I found several sets of lush green leaves to fill out the design.

In A Vase On Monday – Color In Winter

Materials

Flowers
Phalaenopsis (moth orchid)
Foliage
Lagerstroemia (crape myrtle) branch
Gardenia jasminoides
Vase
Porcelain Ikebana vase, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Triangle Black Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H)

In A Vase On Monday – Color In Winter

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower designs across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place In A Vase On Monday.