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Winter Blooms And The Living Dead

I've moved! According to the new 2012 USDA Hardiness Zone map I have moved from 7b to 8a. This doesn't surprise me. My location was in zone 8 prior to 1990, then became zone 7b, now it's back to 8a. I have always known that plants zoned only up to 7 could be iffy to get through our summers. I like plants zoned 5 to 9. That should cover it! Thanks to Carolyn at Carolyn's Shade Garden for prompting me to check out the new zone map!

Whatever the zone, today was cold! Did I say something about spring in a previous post? This afternooon was so sunny I was expecting pleasant temperatures. I put on a light jacket before grabbing my camera and heading outdoors. Well, I was outside about three minutes before I came back inside for a heavier coat!

We are expecting temps well below freezing tonight, and I hold my breath for all the blooms in my yard. You would not guess how cold it is in the following photos. Not a snowflake for proof!

No worry for this thing I found, for the living dead have no concern for the frost!This rotting log is encrusted with fungi and lichen, and a close view reveals otherworldly beauty.

Hellebores were hunkered down this morning but perked up by the time I took their photos this afternoon:The frecked hellebore in the top photo is a chance seedling. I hope more like this one pop up!

Daffodil blooms stood up to last nights frost. I don't know if they will survive tonight's.
Above are back and front views of the same bloom.

Some more colors to cheer this February day - see the pansy with the smiley face:

Here's a view across the Front Garden. Can you feel the chilly air?A note about those round balls: I have tried hard to train Lou not to prune our yaupon hollies into round balls, but so far my training has not worked. He does it when I'm not looking.

And finally, here's some images from the Woodland Garden:

By now my fingers were frozen. Back inside! What's that smell? Lou is cooking up some fresh collard greens, just picked from the vegetable garden. Frost, they say, makes collards tender, so these should be very good!

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Reader Comments (17)

I really had to laugh when you said you have been trying to train Lou not to make the hollies into balls. I have been on the losing end of this battle with that one myself. The nursery guys I work with think it is art to perfectly clip a shrub into a ball no matter how many times I protest. They do my landscaping on occasion and sometimes my little boxwood get this done to them. They look like little bowling balls in the garden.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Glad to be of service. I feel better now that we are a whole zone apart!!!

You are so lucky to have all these beautiful flowers blooming already! Your photos are lovely. And calling the fungi and lichen "the living dead" broke me right up :)
I look fwd to seeing more photos as I patiently wait for May here in Ontario.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAstrid

Deborah, you are making me antsy for spring, I can't wait. Although I can see where you would not want little balls, I wish Lou would come to my house. My boxwood balls have not been pruned since I moved to Barbados, and they certainly need it.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah at Kilbourne Grove

Deborah, I couldn't 'see' the cold, I could see sunshine! My garden's just changed zone too, although not officially, it's just that we've never had this much snow before. It's been pretty for a couple of days but I've had enough now! The woodland looks entrancing as usual - I love it in all seasons. Christina

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Lovely texture of the lichen on your rotting log, beauty even when dying. Your hellebores are stunning, what a lovely start to spring!
This week we have milder temperatures so hopefully our hellebores will be happier without the frost that we have had for a while now.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPauline Mulligan

Welcome back to zone 8, a zone that sounds much warmer :) I love all your spring blooms especially the hellebores, gorgeous and elegant lot!

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

I sympathise with Lou. My pruning tends towards ball-shaped too - it just looks so neat.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterb-a-g

That's funny. Now I have visions of Lou furtively sneaking out to grab his hedge shears for a little holly-pruning in the middle of the night.

We've mostly had a warm start to the year, and have a number of things starting to bloom, albeit early. I'm dreading a return of the cold weather we had in December. If it came now, I wonder how much it would set our plants back. I hope you're thawing out, and also hope those collards were scrumptious!

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCurbstone Valley Farm

Oh I love collards...I hope to grow them this year...those blooms are hardy and can survive my cold so they'll be fine for you...nice to see them somewhere...

February 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonna@Gardens Eye View

It seems to me that the zones are just a starting point. I am in zone 8, but like you, I look for plants that will live in zones 7 through 9 because of the high heat we have in the summer, and the occasional very cold and extended freezes we have in the winter. Your blooms are beautiful. I hope the freezes do no damage.

February 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHolleyGarden

I am so envious of your amazing woodland garden. Is it in a woodland? I especially like the mossy footpaths! Great photographs too, thanks :~))

February 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFoxglove Lane

Beautiful flowers. Your hellebores are gorgeous, patiently waiting for mine to bloom.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternorma chang

Cold or not the more I see the more I love! I think Lou's works of art give the garden the sense that you just might be raising a heard of grazers! You'll have to give them names Deb!

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEve

Well, I suppose that is a relaxing way to move, as compared to the alternaive of packing up and driving somewhere colder... I could feel the cold just looking at those photos.

PS I rather like the contrast between Lou's neat balls and the other shrubs - I could never be bothered with such training myself, but would happily accept someone else producing that effect. Does he hire out his services? Bit of a long commute though...

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanet/Plantaliscious

I'm always thrilled to see you have posted! In fact I thought of you yesterday as I found a 5g 'Feelin' blue' deodar cedar as a short standard. With your encouragement I'm hoping to train it to eventually look like yours.

Love the way your garden looks in the chilly air - but then it's always beautiful.

I haven't checked my new zone yet but I guess I've dropped down one! However I think we need a zone system which takes water levels into account. Many of us here in Seattle lose more plants from drowning than cold!

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Chapman

I love your woodland garden and your Hellebores look a treat. Ah, Lou is a kindred spirit, I am forever rounding of shrubs which would probably look better left well alone, well to a certain extent.

February 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlistair
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