Entries in Alabama croton (3)


The Best of the Rest: 2017

Happy New Year, everyone! I can't believe it is already 2018. I remember so well when we reached the year 2000, and everyone thought the world was going to end!

I am partied out; no wild shenanigans for me tonight. Instead, I end the year working on a blog post, as it is time for my annual "Best of the Rest" feature. These are photos taken from my garden through the year that, for various reasons, did not make it onto the blog. At last, I present these never-before-seen images! (They may or may not knock your socks off.) 


February:Bright yellow Forsythia promises the end of winter and the arrival of spring.

March:Above top:Red trumpet honeysuckle grows on a fence that divides my vegetable garden/work space from the patio. Small photos above left to right: Japanese maple blooms; Alabama Croton bloom; Summer snowflakes (Despite the name, they bloom in the spring.)

April:Robin Redbreast

May:This Eastern Phoebe has nested at the top of a downspout outside my bedroom window for the past two years. I enjoy listening to the birdsong!

These succulents grow in a hypertufa pot on the patio. I bring them inside for the winter.


July:This variegated hot pepper is called a Fish Pepper.

August:An annual begonia that bloomed constantly in the woodland garden until frost.

September:Burford holly: The green holly berries promise bright color to come.

October:Bench in the fern glade

Dappled sunlight covers one of the woodland garden paths.

November:Spiders are good guys in my garden.

Look at the top of the pine tree to see a hawk nest. Hawks have been nesting there for several years now.

This is a young red-shouldered hawk who hatched in that nest; he is getting big!

December:The holly berries are red now!

One of our birdhouses during our December snow.

Night view of the arch by the patio, decorated for Christmas and covered in snow.

The year comes to a close. Winter sunsets are dramatic.

Did you have a favorite photo or month? 

Wishing you all the best in 2018, and if you encounter thorns, may you also find blooms and berries!  Deb



Love a leaf, Love Life

"Anyone can love a rose, but it takes a great deal to love a leaf. It's ordinary to love the beautiful, but it's beautiful to love the ordinary."  - Unknown

I came across this quote, and it expressed what is close to my heart. If one can love the common things, life will be full of riches; and to see the beauty in a leaf is to be open to the magnificence of the Creation.

The most amazing thing happened this past week. September 23 was the first official day of autumn, and when I opened the door that morning, autumn had arrived! When does the weather ever follow the calendar around here? September 22 was hot and humid and still decidedly summer, but a storm that night blew summer away and deposited autumn in its place. I walk around in a reverie, breathing in the fresh air and watching leaves turn before my eyes.

Dogwoods (Cornus florida) are among the first trees to start turning:

Alabama croton is a rare native plant with very interesting leaves:

Hydrangea ''Lady in Red' is noted for its red stems and lovely flowers, but it also has striking fall foliage:

Acuba japonica 'Variegata' adds spots of color to shady places:

Pieris japonica 'Cavantine' is putting on a pretty flush of new growth:

I love just about all variegated plants, including this variegated holly fern:

Another plant with wonderful variegated leaves is Hydrangea macrophylla 'Variegata':Years ago I planted a rhododendron in the woodland garden. I admire the large deep green leaves and like the shrub's structural presence, so I was not terribly disappointed when it did not bloom. But, look! This year it is producing buds! I guess it just needed time to grow up. I long ago forgot what color the flowers should be. I look forward to a spring surprise:

Euonymus americanus, otherwise called American Strawberry Bush and (my favorite) Hearts-a-bustin, has lovely fall foliage that becomes translucent white, washed with tints of gold and pink. Its fruit in this image is not quite ripe:

Tamopan persimmons have not yet ripened to deep orange, but the tree's large leaves are quite remarkable, especially as they being to turn.Some hungry bug apparently appreciates the leaves even more than I do!

This is the first Tamopan persimmon leaf beginning to assume its fall colors.I love individual leaves, and I also love how myriads of leaves blend together to create tapestries like the following views of the front garden:

With all these leaves, my life is truly rich. But just wait till they all start falling. We will be knee deep in treasure!