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Evergreens, the regents of winter

"This weather makes me want to curl up in in my pajamas and drink hot chocolate!" 

We were standing outside a funeral home in a cold mist. A friend's father, age 97, had passed away. It was an uplifting service. This great-great grandfather had led a productive, interesting life. He was a good man who loved God. No doubt, right now the weather is much nicer where he is than where we are .

Winter's breath, damp and chilly, is coming over the land, giving me goosebumps which won't go away completely till next spring. I am always cold in the winter. Even inside the house I will wear a sweater or jacket. It is a good thing I live in Alabama, where winter is short and half-hearted. How do people in Canada survive? 

However, there are some things I like about winter:

1. Hot chocolate

2. My sweet husband getting up early to build a fire in the fireplace and to prepare breakfast for me. (He has spoiled me rotten, I know.)

3. Evergreens 

I love evergreens, those regents of winter which offer shelter and food to wildlife. Many are stately trees that stand guard against cold winds. All of them are beautiful and provide color and structure to the winter landscape.

Prior to the funeral today, I was out with my camera to capture some of these beauties before the rain started.

 Osmanthus heterophyllus, also called holly tea olive, has wonderful variegated leaves.


Yaupon holly is another one of my favorites. It is native to our area. This is a dwarf variety which is commonly used for hedges and foundation plantings. People pretty much take them for granted, but they should stop and take a good look at their petite leaves. The latin name for yaupon is ilex vomitoris, which describes what happens if you ingest it.


Nandina domestica, or heavenly bamboo, has bright red berries to brighten drab winter days.






Today I found a nandina with white berries, which is unusual, but quite pretty, I think.

This weeping blue cedar is in the woodland garden. I have a fondness for all kinds of weeping trees. This is one of my favorites. It is slow growing. I think it has taken a decade for it to become four feet tall, though it is wider than that.

 The Arizona cypress, despite its name, has grown well here. I love its color and its lacy needles.

The sculptural quality of branches is highlighted against the blue green color of a deodar cedar. 

This little white pine branch is lovely against the fading foliage of a Japanese maple.

I had to take a photo of the bark of this longleaf pine. It is a huge tree near the border of my property.

And finally. below are autumn fern and spreading yew. Both give structure and fresh green color to the woodland garden throughout the year.  Have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving to you all, Deborah

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Reader Comments (7)

Nice post. I'm glad to be where it never snows. We expect a freeze after Thanksgiving.

November 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNell Jean

Deborah, all three of those would help me get through the winter. We have an old house with three fireplaces, sometimes we will have all three going at once. Not for the cold, that Canadian blood keeps me warm, but for the atmosphere. What is cozier than a fire?
The evergreens are all beautiful, every winter I vow to plant more as they are the only plant noticeable in all the snow. You have some beauties.

November 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah at Kilbourne Grove

Nell Jean, it's a great celebration and a holiday off work for many people when it snows even a little bit here, which is maybe once every year or two. Except I work in a hospital, and they expect us to be there no matter what, if we have to fly in by helicopter or hitch a ride with a state trooper. I have never had a white Christmas; that might be fun. But after Christmas, I am ready for spring. Deborah, we have two fireplaces, and if the power goes out they can keep our house fairly warm. One is in the kitchen, which is my house's most charming feature, I think.

Thanks to both of you for stopping by my blog, Deborah

November 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Elliott

I like the photo of the Pine on the Maple.Nice! And as to the question of how people in Canada survive the cold thats easy. They all come to South Florida in what is refered to as the migration of the snowbirds. Yes that is correct Canada is empty during winter and Hollywood beach is full. This is a well kept secret so don't tell anyone. Great blog. Nice photography.

November 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersanddune

You have some lovely photos here. I particularly like the yellow leaves. You stopped by my blog a while back and asked about the toad lilies. Sorry I didn't get back to you earlier. Toad lilies are very easy to grow. Just plant them in the front of the border so that the small flowers will be visible.

Always Growing

November 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Sanddune, thanks for your comment! I had a good chuckle, and it is good to be enlightened about what really happens to Canadians.

Jan, I am definitely going to plant some toad lilies. I think they are so beautiful - I'll find a good spot so I can enjoy them on my garden walks. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

November 24, 2009 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

Hi Deb, what fabulous photos, you truly have an artist's eye. Those yellow nandina berries are fascinating. I do love all yellow berries, on any tree or shrub. :-)

November 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFrances

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