Tag Archives: winter garden

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – January 2016

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

It is time again for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), but everything along the East Coast except for bird feeders is shut down for the weekend, courtesy of Winter Storm Jonas.

Predictions for here in Chapel Hill were for 4-6 inches of snow, but in early afternoon we are getting freezing rain and sleet, 29°F (-1.6°C). Conditions were not bad when I went out to get the newspaper this morning and snapped several photos, but now most of the grass is white and roads are icy and dangerous.

Foliage Day Panorama 2016-01-22

Foliage Day Panorama 2016-01-22

I am using panoramas to help me study and evaluate the structural elements in the garden. So many trees and shrubs have died and I am making plans to tackle a plan for improvements. Thanks to Christina at Garden of the Hesperides for hosting. Read her foliage update and see more links to foliage perspectives from many parts of the world.

Mid-January Garden

Today, Saturday, was a beauty of a day here in Chapel Hill with sunny skies and pleasant temperature of 61°F (16°C). In contrast, forecasts call for rain and maybe even a snow flurry Sunday morning and unseasonably cold on Monday with highs only in mid 30s and low 18°F.

Just after the grass was cut yesterday another heavy rain started falling. The ground was completely saturated again this morning.

Freshly Mown Grass Beside Meditation CIrcle

Freshly Mown Grass Beside Meditation CIrcle

I stitched together a panorama capturing most of the garden as it appeared around 8:45 a.m. looking westward from the top of the screen porch stairs. Sunlight was just reaching into the tops of the trees; the garden was still shaded.

Garden Panorama 2016-01-16

Garden Panorama 2016-01-16

About an hour later I had a chance to inspect the borders more closely. With leaves caked in mud this poor hyacinth, alternately enticed by days of warm sunlight and bashed by rain and cold, is the only one of its group to open. Others are up, but remain in tight bud.

Hyacinth orientalis ‘Woodstock’

Hyacinth orientalis ‘Woodstock’

By this time of year it is not unusual to have Hellebores in bloom; however, despite the many warm days this winter they do not seem to be opening very quickly. There are lots of buds.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) is spreading far and wide. Fortunately it is easy to pull out when it oversteps its welcome.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

I planted Euphorbia ‘Shorty’ (Shorty Spurge) last spring and am happy with its color and form. Still covered in raindrops it seemed to be dancing in the morning light.

Euphorbia 'Shorty' (Shorty Spurge)

Euphorbia ‘Shorty’ (Shorty Spurge)

Last winter was unusually cold and long and a late February 2°F cold snap ruined the leaves and buds of Daphne odora (Winter daphne) before it could flower. It eventually recovered its foliage. This winter it has already been blooming for several weeks. There are 3 bushes clustered together. This one in front is Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata.’

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Pansies are blooming throughout the meditation circle, but the plants themselves have not grown much. In spring they should fill out more.

A female Northern Cardinal was one of many birds happy to find the feeder has been restocked.

Female Northern Cardinal

Female Northern Cardinal

Late February Garden Report

This Eastern Bluebird is perched on the folded tip of the juniper next door.

Eastern Bluebird Atop Juniper

Eastern Bluebird Atop Juniper

A heavy wet snow overnight transformed the winter garden.

Snow Dressed Garden

Snow Dressed Garden

Once again the birds are scurrying back and forth between feeders and favorite perches.

Female Cardinal Perched Above Feeder

Female Cardinal Perched Above Feeder

Surrounded by draping branches of ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress, a Northern Cardinal waits patiently on a redbud branch while the Eastern Bluebirds take a turn at the feeder.

Northern Cardinal and Eastern Bluebirds

Northern Cardinal and Eastern Bluebirds

Looking below and to the right of the cardinal, the green clumps on the ground are Hellebores. Here are the same ones seen looking more colorful yesterday. This collection of Hellebores in the garden’s southwest corner were among the last to bloom.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Speaking of hellebores, I highly recommend this new video from a well-known, North Carolina-based nursery: Hellebore (Lenten Rose) Production at Plant Delights Nursery. Owner Tony Avent explains how he grows and selects Hellebores to sell at his nursery.

Fortunately with a high forecast of 37 °F today the snow is already beginning to melt, but winter refuses to leave. Low temperatures for the next 3 nights: 26 °F; 18 °F; and 12 °F.  There are broken branches in the neighbors’ yards and lots of bent branches and shrubs in the back garden. Out front the Crape Myrtle pair have once again been damaged. The crushed one on the left had make such a nice recovery too, after having been flattened by a freakish summer wind shear several years ago. The tree on the right lost a lower branch this time.

Crape Myrtles At Front Walkway

Crape Myrtles At Front Walkway

This bird flew up into the bottom of the feeder two or three times before finally landing on the feeding perch. I wonder if it was trying to shake down the seeds toward the front or was just beating itself up over this weather. Spring is coming, spring is coming, spring is coming…

Avian Antics

Avian Antics

February Snow and Birds

Northern Cardinal (Male), maybe Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)

Northern Cardinal (Male), maybe Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)

This is my 500th post!

Snow today was a big surprise this morning when my husband brought me a cup of coffee and opened the window blind. Some parts of the US are measuring snow in feet this year, but we had about 3 inches—maybe 3-5 inches more tomorrow night.

Most schools in the area cancelled classes due to unsafe road conditions. The local garden club follows the school schedule for inclement weather, so our monthly meeting was also cancelled today. That left my morning free to enjoy the snow falling and watching the birds vying for position at and around the feeders.

Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher

I had to run out first thing to fill both feeders, which have been quite the popular hangouts lately.

Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee

It is frustrating to try to get good images of the birds with my camera but there was such a gathering of species I could not resist trying. This video gets off to a slow start, but eventually shows a few of today’s visitors, starting with an Eastern Bluebird.

An Edwardian Lady’s February

A number of years back my daughter and I attended a nature journalling workshop at the nearby botanical garden, where we were first introduced to the lovely detailed drawings and observations of Edith Holden’s Nature Notes For 1906.

The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady

The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady

Holden was a 35-year old artist and illustrator living with her family at Gowan Bank, Olton, Warwickshire, when she meticulously crafted this month-by-month collection of poetry, flowers and wildlife. A facsimile of her diary was published years later in 1977 under the title, The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady.

A year or two after the journalling workshop my daughter surprised me with a copy of Holden’s diary as a Mother’s Day gift. While reshelving some books I came upon it today and as always, once I opened it up I could not resist the wonders within its pages. The watercolors are charming and in general I have always been intrigued with artists’ sketchbooks.

I decided to look up February to see what this month had been like in 1906 for the naturalist.

February Illustrated

February Illustrated

I was surprised to see a lovely little sketch of Common Gorse (Ulex europaeus), something I had only yesterday learned about through a photo on Gardening Jules. On February 12 Holden noted she had gathered some Gorse blossom on her way home from visiting the violet wood. That does sound splendid.

Common Gorse

Common Gorse

And while I have been indoors and overly obsessed with the weather lately, she recorded this entry for February 24.

Cycled to Packwood through Solihull and Bentley-heath.  I passed a rookery on the way, the Rooks were all very busy building yup their old nests, and a great deal of chatter they made over it.  I saw a little Robin gathering materials for its nest, at one place on the bank and further on, a Thrush with a beakful of long straws. Everywhere the branches of the Willow bushes were tipped with downy white balls and the Alder-catkins were shewing very red. In the garden of Packwood hall adding the church years the borders were full of large clumps of single snowdrops. I brought away a great bunch.  The farmer living there brought out a little lamb to show me, one of a family of three born that morning. I held i in my arms and it seemed quite fearless—poking its little black head up into my face. Rode home seven miles, in a storm of sleet and snow.

February entry

February entry

While I merely opened the window to take a quick picture through sleet and snow, she actually cycled home in the storm seven miles. (In common with her though I have noticed several American Robins checking out things the past week!)

With many blogging friends writing about snowdrops and after seeing catkins used in flower vases, I realize there is so much more contained in the pages of this journal than what I have gleaned before. After a few years of following blogs I have more context for seeing and understanding Edith Holden’s world. I am looking forward to reading back through her observations.

Aspen Catkins, Purple Willow, Goat Willow and Alder

Aspen Catkins, Purple Willow, Goat Willow and Alder

There is something decidedly unique about seeing Holden’s work on paper. Still, I wonder if she would have also considered keeping a garden blog.

____
Holden, Edith. 1977. The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, 1906: A Facsimile Reproduction of a Naturalist’s Diary. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Yinyang Of The Morning Garden

Shady Side, Sunny Side-Meditation Circle on Frosty New Year's Day

Shady Side, Sunny Side-Meditation Circle on Frosty New Year’s Day

They are complementary opposites. Slowly across the meditation circle Yin (darkness) defers to Yang (sunlight).

Happy New Year! The first day of 2015 began frosty cold, but ice crystals on plants in the labyrinth quickly disappeared once discovered by the rays of the morning sun.

Dianthus 'Ideal Select White'

Dianthus ‘Ideal Select White’

Pansy

Pansy

Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz' (Pink chintz thyme)

Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme)

I have been dreaming my way through garden catalogs and making plans to fill gaps in the hedges bordering the fence with gardenias, camellias and yet unknowns.

Meditation Circle on Frosty New Year's Day

Meditation Circle on Frosty New Year’s Day

There is a Christmas gift of tulip bulbs to plant this weekend, even as many daffodils are already emerging.

 

Crape Myrtle Glaze

Ice on Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Ice on Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle). Photo:dvm

My husband captured the current state of a Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) this morning with this photo taken en route to retrieve the newspaper from the drive.

We had a light snow yesterday, tons of rain and awoke to everything bent towards the ground. This crape myrtle was blown over about 3 years ago during a summer thunderstorm, possibly a microburst. Despite being broken off at the base it is recovering pretty well, but has a long way to grow to match the stature of its mate just the other side of the walkway.

In the distance the bright yellow daffodils rest their heads against the earth.