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February Frozen Finger Shots

I am weary of the dreariness. There. I have broken my rule to never complain. ( I break it often.) This past week we escaped the ice and snow that hit most folks who live north of us; but we did experience temps down into the low teens, along with days of grayness that stretched endlessly so that daytime never quite seemed to get here. Well. Yesterday we warmed up, all the way into the upper 50s, and it rained all day. Today is more of the same.

The day before yesterday, I left a warm house, seeking inspiration for this post before the rains arrived. The temp was hovering right at freezing, but with the wind chill it seemed much colder. I can't take pictures with my gloves on, so I call the following images my "frozen finger shots." I hope you enjoy them! 

Despite the weather, I saw a lot of bluebirds. This one is perched in a dogwood tree, Cornus florida. Dogwood is only one of many berry producing plants in the garden that attract bluebirds.

Later in the year this squirrel's nest will be hidden by greenery, but now it is easy to see, perched high in a tree.

My Hellebores were unprotected during the coldest part of last week. They were in full bloom, and I worried about them. I need not have. These hardy plants hunkered down low to the ground, then popped back as soon as the temps climbed.

A lot of my camellia blooms have already turned to brown mush this winter, daring to bloom right before a freeze. I was sure the same was going to happen to 'Red Candles,' whose buds were beginning to open before the arctic air arrived. I was surprised to see the following colorful sight in the woodland garden; 'Red Candles' was drooping a bit, but I saw no brown, mushy blooms! 

Juniperus media 'Sea of Gold' is reported to stay gold through the winter. Here it is, in front of Juniperus squamata 'Blue Star.' Do you see any gold? The frosty air has turned it an odd, though not unattractive, color. It is reaching for the sun. I know how it feels! Above is Pittisporum tobira 'Variegatam.' It is growing in front of Camilla japonica 'Gunsmoke,' whose buds are very tight and nowhere near opening.

Here are Pieris japonica 'Cavatine' and Trachelospermum jasminoides, AKA Confederate Jasmine. I wrapped the jasmine in sheets earlier in the winter when the temps hit single digits. I risked it this time, and it seems OK. I knew the pieris would be fine.

The great hairy vine on this pine tree is the notorious poison ivy. It is not adjacent to a path, so I leave it alone. It would be a monster to kill, and the birds love it.

I love the detail of lichens and moss on this tree bark:

Some shots taken through azalea bushes near the front lawn:

Finally, don't forget to look down! Here are some images taken of rocks and moss and leaves and other things one sees when looking at the ground in my February garden:

It took a while for my fingers to thaw out, but a hot drink and a blazing fire on the hearth did the job. So here I am: watching it rain, thanking God for the good things of winter, and waiting for spring!


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Reader Comments (21)

Not long now till spring Debs and no more frozen fingers!

February 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Thank goodness winter shows signs of approaching spring or we could not stand it. Love the Bluebird.

February 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNell Jean

We have an abundance of bluebirds here, too. These gray days are getting to me too, but the days are busy and full with two boys nonetheless and I am hopeful for sun & springtime soon!

February 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChristi {Jealous Hands}

Love your blue bird, what a lovely blue his feathers are! Your hairy vine is fascinating, just like a hairy snake climbing the tree. Your camellia is looking really good despite your cold temperatures. It has been raining here all day too!

February 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPauline

Your photography is so beautiful and I especially love the capture of the bluebird. After an early morning snow we are getting our first mini thaw all winter where the temperatures are above freezing. Spring cannot come soon enough!

Your frozen finger shots are beautiful Deb! Not dreary at all.

February 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

Gorgeous photos, especially like the colorful bluebird and the shots through the azaleas. I learned something this year by reading blogs from different places. The winter brings a rest or respite from gardening to the northerners or those who get snow. The southerners and westerners garden year round without a break, but it gets tiring and dull in a different way. Not refreshing, not renewal. There must be a mid-way to all this. Just a little winter, maybe? Anyway you write and show good stuff.

February 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJane Strong

When I saw your post's title, I thought I'd be seeing photos of icicles, not hearing that you risked frostbite! I'm sorry to hear that the cold weather back east has reached down your way too. There was an article in today's paper attributing the weather extremes on both coasts (record warmth here and little rain) to something the forecasters are calling the "Ridiculously Resilient Ridge." I hope the ridge loosens up soon and brings you some warmth. For our part, we wouldn't mind some rain.

P.S. I LOVE the bluebird photo.

February 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

tea and a fire!
And the satisfying glow of seeing your bluebird with his berries.

February 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Studer

Oh, I hear you about the frozen fingers! I dislike that so much! That's part of the reason I'm glad I'm in Florida right now. Your photos are beautiful. That little bluebird is a cutie!

February 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBeth @ PlantPostings

Dear Deb, I always enjoy the glimpses into your garden, which is so different from mine located in Southern California!
Love the shot of the bluebird, the birdy looks a little bit cold to me, though!
I am so surprised that the camellias are blooming in your neck of the woods already, despite the cold temperatures. It is even more amazing to me that camellia 'Red Candles' flowers are unblemished!
The poison ivy climbing up the pine tree is quite something! I didn't know that it can climb up that high.
Hopefully the time of frozen finger shots is soon over for you and spring is making its appearance.
Warm regards,

February 22, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterchristina

Debbie, thank you for being willing to have icy fingers so that we could share all the winter beauty in your garden. There is still so much to enjoy. It is sad about the Camellias but seems to happen so often. The bluebird is gorgeous, On Saturday we went for walk to look at birds and I was lucky enough to see a Kingfisher. Have a lovely week and I hope it is sunny for you.

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

It is such a shame when camellia flowers turn brown due to cold weather, it is always an issue with the huge camellia in my garden too. Some years I have been lucky, other years most flowers get damaged eventually. How lucky yours managed to survive the freeze.
You have so many colourful birds over there, loved the bluebird photo!
Soon we all will have spring :-)

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHelene

Pretty, pretty, pretty. I love your bluebird and seeing early flowers in your garden is such a treat. I hope the freeze did not set your garden back. Wrapping helped for sure.

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

thank you, Deb, for freezing your finger for us. The resulting photos are wonderful. I am continually amazed at how much there is to see in your garden. I was aware of all the different textures in these photos - the soft feathers of the bluebird, the hardness of the rocks, roughness of the bark, etc. Good advice not forget to look down. I love lichens and mosses.

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered Commentercatmint

Has no one invented a heated camera yet? Where are all the inventors when we need them? Beautiful photos despite your cold fingers. I haven't seen a photo of poison ivy like that - it looks rather splendid despite its reputation. We live and learn!

February 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Shoesmith

You got a beautiful shot of the bluebird, despite frozen fingers!

Even in winter you have so many different shades of green in your garden.

I often see giant hairy vines of poison ivy on our farm. It pops up everywhere there is a little sun. At least it has great fall color and as you say, the birds love the berries.

February 25, 2015 | Unregistered Commentersweetbay

I have bluebirds nest in my garden every year but haven't seen them yet. :( Love that shot of yours! There's a chance our snow/ice will melt by next week but I'll have to enjoy your garden til then since I can't find mine.

February 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCasa Mariposa

Compared to ours your winters are anything but dreary...but it's all relative isn't it?

What gorgeous colors you have found, but then again your garden is also gorgeous.

We have nests like those here, the Magpies use them, so now I wonder if they were originally from squirrels...it wouldn't surprise me one bit that they evicted them.


February 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJen@Muddy Boot Dreams

I have that same infamous vine on a tree in the meadow...we give it a wide berth too. And I know about that dreariness....it was wonderful to see these shots. The bluebirds stay here all year, but my berries are long gone and most birds are hunkering down now. I have seen some bluebirds but not as often as last year when they were feasting on my neighbors tree.

Soon we will both have spring.....

March 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDonna@Gardens Eye View

For such crummy weather, you still have a lot to look at in winter. I have nothing but a sea of white! Honestly, I can barely look at the snow anymore. The sun makes it blinding! This week is supposed to be much warmer, and I can only hope it's true. Here's to spring!

March 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL

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