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A Time to Rest

"For everything there is a season."

I was busy with meetings today, but by three o'clock I was free to explore my garden. I almost didn't do it. I was tired. I had worked hard the last two days and I have to work all weekend, as well. I looked at my garden with its bare branches and piles of dead leaves. Was there anything out there worth seeing, anything at all to perk up my weary spirit? I have a new book to read, and I was tempted to curl up with that for the afternoon.

But my garden always surprises me. If I look, I can always find something to make me smile. So I grabbed my camera and headed out, thinking a quick tour wouldn't hurt, and the book would still be waiting.

The first thing I noticed was the mistletoe! Hanging in clumps at the tops of trees, one can only see it after the leaves have fallen. It's a parasite but not a bad one, for it increases biodiversity. I read that in an encyclopedia. I prefer to remember its more romantic reputation as the kissing plant.

Outside my kitchen, near the herb bed, I smiled at the dried seed heads of garlic chives. Oh, no. These are likely to produce a thousand babies next spring. Rule #1: Cut garlic chive flowers before they go to seed. But they are so pretty.

Then I walked to the front garden, and I was struck by the colors still there:  the yellowing foliage of forsythia, the red nandina berries, and my stalwart rosa mutabilis, its pastel blossoms resting against the fresh green of a white pine.

Also in the front garden is a huge viburnum 'augustifolium'. It is evergreen, but its leaves are taking on pink and gold hues as December's cool air arrives.

This plant has been a mystery to me. Despite its clearly marked label when Lou bought it for me, it doesn't really look like the 'augustifolium' pictures I have seen in books, and it's lacy, dull white flowers are unremarkable. It does have nice leaves. It's about twenty feet tall, and growing.


I thought the woodland garden would look sad, for all the deciduous trees have lost their leaves. But, really, the openness allows a good overview.

The form of an ancient muscadine vine caught my attention. Lou once asked me if I wanted him to cut it down. I'm glad I told him no.

The black locust 'twisty baby' also has striking form, more evident now that it has lost its leaves.



The evergreen tree in the background is a southern magnolia. My son Josh once climbed it when he was a small boy. That was years ago, but it was still quite tall at the time. I almost had a heart attack when I saw him perched up high in its branches.






There is a hillside in the woodland garden covered with an assortment of shrubs, including goldmound spirea. This plant is beautiful when it blooms, but it is known for its golden leaves. Even now the fading foliage is lovely, especially seen against a weeping blue cedar.

Some other scenes from my woodland garden today:

A mossy footstone 





A viburnum still wearing its fall colors














And the red stems and spotty gold leaves of a 'lady in red' hydrangea

I am reminded that a garden needs rest; it needs to store energy for the next year's work.

I have decided that tonight I am going to bed early and get some good sleep. (Unless I stay up late blogging!)

Sweet rest to all  - Deborah

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Reader Comments (9)

You've really learned to enjoy the beauty in life, even when gardens get too bare for others to notice. Like you, I do enjoy seeing through the bare trees to get a new view that isn't available when the trees are full. Now that doesn't mean I like winter, far from it! But I'm learning to accept it and to see it's beauty until spring arrives.

December 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL

Inspired post. Time to rest, isn't so bad in the garden.

December 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNell Jean

Your garden is lovely, even in winter.

December 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJanie

Your garden still radiates the beauty of nature even in the winter. I really like your Blue Cedar. For some reason I had to keep going back to look at it's picture. Weird, huh. Next thing you know it will be snowing in TEXAS.

December 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersanddune

Deborah, sometimes I secretly prefer looking at a garden this time of year, or in winter. You can really see it without all the flowers to "distract" me. And it is lovely, I would love to go for a walk through it.
A customer at the flower shop asked for mistletoe just today. It looks like you have a plentiful supply. That is a lot of kissing you can do, lol.

December 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah at Kilbourne Grove

Hi Deb,

Even though your garden is getting ready to rest, there is still so much beauty. I just love the flowers of the garlic chives....I am glad you didn't cut them back :-)

December 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNoelle (azplantlady)

Beautiful garden photos! I let my garlic chives go to seed also, so we'll both be pulling volunteers in spring. That Lady In Red hydrangea is stunning even now. I think one would look nice in our new shade planting next year.

December 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commentervillager

Hi Deb
love your blog. Beautiful photos. I look forward to may more of your posts. I love seeing the seasonal changes in your garden. Its something we dont get so much in Sydney

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrobble

Oh yes! My kind of garden, definitely. I love the word 'footstone' - so much neater than stepping stone. I think I shall use it from now on ;)! I often think I love my garden most in winter, so it is a joy to discover another winter gardener!

December 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJack Holloway

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