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Colors in the winter garden

Last week the temperature soared into the fifties, and plans and visions of spring swirled through my head. Today winter returned with cold air and drizzle, and I am reminded it is still January. So this afternoon I decided to see what surprises the winter garden had for me, for there is always a surprise. Always.

Today it was color. 

First thing I saw was my Lady, of the Lady Garden. She is visiting the patio for the winter, for she is made of terra cotta and could crack during the hardest freezes. She is staying close to the house so I can bring her in easily when needed. She recently acquired a new hairdo of variegated ivy, because the charming woman was going bald as her hair of creeping fig went dormant. The Lady is a bright spot in the winter landscape.

Also on the patio is an old concrete planter that belonged to my parents. The side of it is covered with deep green moss. I like the pattern it makes.

The bluebird house near the Lady Garden stands out against the browns and grays of nearby trees and shrubs. I once read that bluebirds are attracted to the color blue. I guess it works, because each spring bluebirds nest in this house.

Another bird house sits in the herb bed. No bird has ever lived here, possibly because Lily, our dog, is in the fenced-in area just a few feet away. Or maybe birds don't like its artificial wood material. I do like the way it looks, although its pastel colors have faded. I will need to paint it soon.

The knockout rose bushes were frosted by our recent frigid temperatures, but amazingly, the shrubs still have leaves and vestiges of pink colored buds.

I did a double take when I saw the fresh colors of the false holly, osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki'. Could that be new growth?

I didn't wear gloves on my garden stroll today, and by the time I got to the woodland garden, my hands were frozen. But it was worth it. The nandina are really standing out now.

 I love the way their red berries and bright foliage look against the dark trunks of nearby trees.

The autumn ferns also look lovely against a background of nandina.

Spreading juniper 'Saybrook Gold' has beautiful gold tipped foliage. The woodland garden is one of my favorite places. I do a lot of editing, but I let nature run its course for the most part. I like the colors and textures of mosses and lichens, rocks, and decaying wood.

There are many shades of green in my woodland garden, and I am reminded to appreciate the subtle beauty that winter offers on a cold January day. 

When I ended my garden stroll, I went back inside the house and placed my icy hands against my husband's face. He immediately got the message and built a fire in the fireplace. Soon spring will come, but for now I am content to dream about it while I watch the crackling flames.

Stay warm, everybody!  Deborah

You might also like "A perfect day in November" or "Fall colors in my garden".

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Reader Comments (13)

Deborah, I love your lady, but I let out a gasp of amazement when I saw the osmanthus. Varigation is a huge weakness of mine, and it is beautiful.

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah at Kilbourne Grove

Your garden is enchanting Deb! I love your maiden with the ivy hair. Thank goodness for warm fires to get us through the winter months. ;-)

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

Hello Deb,

I absolutely love your "Lady". She is just priceless. We also grow Nandina too. It is amazing that it can handle such a wide range of temperatures and still look great.

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNoelle (azplantlady)

Deborah wow I have never seen so many nandina in one garden. I just love those shrubs. I am fortunate if I get a few berries each year as it doesnt get the heat it really needs. I love your lady too with her long flowing hair.

My Osmanthus is looking just like yours - its a great evergreen in the garden.

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterleavesnbloom

I love your woodland garden! I can imagine now how it feels to walk through it - you hear only leaves under your feet and a few birds singing... lovely... The picture of red berries is also very nice and a joy to look at in these cold days when there is not much color.

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commentervrtlaricaana

Wonderful post. Deborah!

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTatyana

Your garden area looks like a great place for wildlife. A neat place to just get away.
BTW, the nandina here in Texas is considered an invasive plant and the native plant societies encourage people not to plant it. I still see lots of it growing around the neighborhood tough! :) The berries are beautiful even if it is an invasive plant.

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGary

there is alot of color in your garden...i loved having nandina when i live in sonoma, all the colors and berries would just pop....it must be nice to take garden walks everyday, thanks for taking us...any i loved the lady, i want one also please?

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternoel

My, but you have lots of interesting color going on in your garden! Nandina always interests me, but mostly because it's not hardy here. I love your garden lady!

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL

Lovely photo of Osmanthus 'Goshiki.' It's marginally hardy here for us -- usually fine, but certainly best planted in spring. I snapped up some tiny ones being sold several to a pot as Christmas decorations in December. Potted them up all together (strength in numbers), and am overwintering them in an unheated enclosed porch for spring planting. I've never been good at overwintering, but so far so good!

January 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew


All I can say is just beautiful. I long to have a garden looking like that for January. Perhaps one day we will move to a not so snowy destination. Thank you for sharing your colors in the garden today.

January 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCherylR

what beautiful photos! I to am in awe of your "Lady of the Garden" -- she's so cool.

January 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

What beautiful photos. Such a lovely display of color and texture. I just love your lady with her ivy coiffure.

January 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiisa

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