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Winter Views

Winter blew in last night, real winter that clutches the throat and burns the face, single digit winter that can burst water pipes if one doesn't leave the faucets dripping, winter that can kill plants in the ground, winter like we haven't seen in years here in my part of the world. It will only last a few days, unlike some unfortunate parts of the country that must deal with frigid weather for prolonged periods of time. Temperature is expected to drop as low as 9 degrees tonight. The lowest temperature in my memory was 4 degrees, back when I was a child. This morning I saw some snow flakes, and I dug through the closet to find my heavy coat.

Cold air does something to the heavens. Clear days are sharp and icy blue. Cloudy days are cloaked in heavy gray, but is any sky more beautiful than a winter sunset of violet, sulfur, and copper red?

Cold weather has brought the hawks closer to the house, perhaps looking for food. I hate to tell them, but all our ground squirrels are safely tucked into their warm burrows, sleeping through the cold spell. We hear the hawks shrieking all day. This Red-shouldered Hawk sat on a branch while I took my photos, no doubt eyeing me, too:

Despite the snowflakes this morning, I have no snowy scenes to share. A few days ago when I walking in the garden, I did find a little iceberg in a birdbath. I also found a couple of winter collages of hickory nuts, leaves, and rotted wood, so typical of this time of year; but I like the earthy color and shape combinations:


Winter shadows transpose tree forms across the garden:

While I walked, I found a few seed heads from last year, still clinging to weary, old branches. This one holds promise of future toad lilies:

As dusk approached, I took some shots in the woodland garden, stripped to its winter bones:

As you see, my garden is never completely bare, because there are many evergreens. Here are some plants that provide color and interesting leaf form in the winter garden, as well as through other parts of the year:Clockwise from top left: I was happy to see Arum italicum poking up through the leaf litter. I planted it two years ago and had not seen it since; Yew is beautiful in all seasons; I planted several varieties of epimedium, then transplanted them around. Now they are all mixed up, and I don't know which is which. I like this one's winter coloration; This native holly fern sprouted of its own accord in just the right place.

What is your weather like? Whatever it is, may your home be happy; and may your garden prosper in this new year!

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Reader Comments (21)

Even in the depths of winter your garden looks beautiful. Stay warm, stay comfy and snug indoors until the cold spell has gone past :)

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

That is a handsome picture of the hawk. He looks like he is sitting for his portrait. What a shot. Winter has us all in its grips and we need to sit it out and admire the beautiful chilly sunsets from inside.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

What is our weather like? Please, don't ask. That green stuff in your garden looks vaguely familiar. Here everything is white. Although we are supposed to go above freezing this weekend so we can stock up on slush. Nice pic of that hawk, looks like you fascinated him.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Your gardens are beautiful even in the cold of winter. I love the photos of the Cooper's hawk and winter shadows...so serene and peaceful!

So cold here the schools are closed so the kids aren't exposed to -15 windchill while waiting for the bus. I have sleeping bags layered over my loropetalums, hoping they survive. Very unusual weather for us, too! Such a beautiful hawk! Love the photo. I can rarely capture them in film.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCasa Mariposa

Beautiful sunset sky! Stay warm and I hope all your plants survive the cold spell.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMasha

You managed to take some nice pictures wandering out and about in what, to me, would seem unbelievable cold. (I complain when it dips below 60F.) We're at the other end of the spectrum - our Santa Ana winds have kicked up again (sparking fire danger because the area is so very dry this winter) and our temps are creeping up into the high 70s.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

Winter does have its own beauty, especially, I think, in the way the sun sits so low in the sky. Love your pics of the sun on the horizon. It's a welcome change from the blaring sun of the summer. Except for the temperatures! I have been feeling sorry for the birds through this icy blast. I just don't know how they manage to live through all the different seasons of the year, and the varying weather. I'm looking forward to this cold leaving!

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHolleyGarden

Hi Deb! We have a mild winter as usual, except a cold wave which probably killed several plants in my garden. I miss the real snow and beautiful cold Russian winters. But, do I want to have such cold winters now? NO! I got spoiled. Besides that, the climate changed so much - many regions in Russia have snowless winters. Global warming is real!

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTatyana

Happy New Year! Weather does seem to have more extremes these days. We are being clobbered by winter this year. Around Christmas there was a terrible ice storm that devastated most of the trees in our area. Two in the yard may have to come down. Then there were days of extreme cold which were followed by a bad storm and high winds.
Stay warm! Hopefully temperatures will climb up to normal soon!

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Hi Deb
How unusual for your area to get such extreme cold! I do hope your beautiful plants survive, but you know, Mother Nature is phenomenally resilient. Let's hope that's the case in your garden. Bundle up, stay indoors and wait it out!

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAstrid

Loved your Wintry views Debs. Haven't had snow here as yet, plenty rain though.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteralistair

What's the weather like here? Cold. lol Probably not quite record breaking though. It's dipped down to 0 for lows a couple of times in the last 16 years. The coldest winter we've had in central NC in my lifetime was '76-'77, although there was a winter in the late 60's that was pretty cold too. We lived on a 33 acre lake that froze solid during those winters, a big deal in NC!

That sunset is gorgeous. The clear blue winter skies are wonderful aren't they?

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersweetbay

We have been watching your cold weather on our news here and hope that you stay warm and safe. Here it is relatively warm and very wet, floods everywhere, rivers have burst their banks and the waves at the coast are higher than have been seen before. Your garden still looks beautiful in spite of your cold and your hawk is one handsome guy!

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpauline

It's gorgeous at your place...and those sunsets.

It's cold here, lots of snow, very romantic, and speckled...lol.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

What a lovely post, Deb! So often I am struck by our similar ways of looking at the garden in its various seasons, although the thought of such low temperatures is beyond my understanding... In South Africa day temps of under 50F makes us all go into moaning mode - our houses (and it seems ourselves!) are simply not designed to not heat up sufficiently by day to make frosty nights bearable.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJack Holloway

It's been pretty darn cold here as well, but hey, it's winter, and it's about time it felt like it. That being said, I am really hoping that my Edgeworthia buds survive the last two nights of 10 degree weather. I'll be extremely disappointed if I get no blooms come March, especially since I lost my winter daphne.

We are having a very mild winter. This morning the temperature was 11 degrees Celcius (52 degrees Fahrenheit ?). They predict snow and frost for next week. I hope they are wrong. Your winter scenes are beautiful. I love the long shadows and of course the Cooper's hawk.

January 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

Wonderful collection of photos

January 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEla

We got down to negative ten during the polar vortex, but unfortunately, not enough snow cover to help protect my plants. But yesterday, it was close to 50! That's just crazy, sixty degree jump in one week. The blizzard that hit Michigan and Indiana was so close, and honestly, I wanted it to snow here to protect my plants. No luck. I'll be curious to see what survived.

January 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL

Hi I watched the effect of the polar vortex from the relative "warmth" of the UK for us we have been experiencing extreme weather or the wet kind for it has rained for weeks now. So much that I almost long for some snow for a change of scene. I hope your plants survive.

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSheds Direct
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