Sunday
Dec302018

Finding Interest in the Winter Garden

The end of the year has come, and the garden seems to be covered with a gray shroud as gloomy clouds hover over a skeletal landscape. We recently had over six inches of rain within a couple of days. The sun has managed to break through a few times, however, sending me into the garden to stretch my legs and to breathe in the cool air. 

I don't mind winter. It is an opportunity to examine the bones of my yard and to plan future projects. And it presents a fun challenge to find interesting and beautiful images within the subdued garden:Despite the brown and gray tones, there is still plenty of green in the garden because of our many evergreens. The moss paths love all the rain we have had!

My peacock moss is going dormant. If I lived a little farther south, it would be evergreen.

Clockwise from top left: Fothergilla 'Mount Airy' still has its beautiful fall foliage; 'Snowflake' hydrangea has only a few leaves clinging to its stems; It's the end for these leaves; A single brown leaf has fallen into a winterberry shrub.

This stump seems to have an evil grin!

I use potted tropicals to fill in bare spots and to add color to the garden during warm months. We always bring them into my husband's office for the winter. (I keep hoping he will get tired of the greenhouse effect and build me a heated garden house!) Well, look what we found in one of the pots:

This little toad has dug a depression in the soil and is hibernating! I wanted to put him outside, but Lou has adopted him. I suppose we will release him into the garden when he wakes up in the spring.

Happy New Year!

Sunday
Dec092018

Last Fall Images, 2018

Winter has come with cold rain and bitter breezes that have stripped lingering autumn leaves from trees. I don't mind our brief winter too much, despite the leaden, mushy landscape. It is a good backdrop for the festive decorations and Christmas lights of December. But I enjoy looking back at the last images of fall, taken less than two weeks ago:

'Orido Nishiki' is usually my last Japanese maple to take on fall colors and the last one to lose them. While many trees were already barren, glorious leaves still clung to this tree in the woodland garden:

Finally, here are a couple of pictures that don't belong to me. Another Deb (who also lives in Helena!) sent me the following photos. First, a decorative rabbit in a sea of leaves:

And her adorable dog named Honeybunny:

Thank you, Deb, for letting me use your beautiful photos.

Despite the arrival of winter, I can't just sit back with my hot chocolate and look at pretty garden pictures. All those leaves covering my moss paths and draped over shrubs have to be raked! (Remember, moss needs air to grow.) And many weeds flourish during milder winter days. So I have to pull them as they appear throughout the winter if I don't want to be swamped with spring weeds. You would be amazed at how many baby weeds are birthed during cold weather!