Entries in hellebores (24)


Winter Web and Signs of Spring 

When I look outside, I see an untidy, winter web of branches. It can be striking when afternoon sunlight glows amidst the tangled limbs, but mostly it is a reminder that Alabama is derived from an old Choctaw Indian word meaning, "I clear the thicket."

All these bare stems have me longing for spring, and it won't be long! This weekend, between rain showers, I went sloshing through the garden in search of signs of spring, and I was not disappointed. Here's an assortment of images that lifted my spirits:

The flowering quince shrubs are finally budding out! Chaenomeles usually begin flowering as early as January, so they are late this year, making me even happier to see the bright red-orange buds.

Camellia japonica is also starting to flower. The larger photo below is 'Red Candles', a very reliable bloomer here, no matter how cold the weather, and the paler pink one is called 'Something Beautiful.'

Hellebores have begun to flower in earnest:

Daphne odora 'Variegata' is almost ready to open its fragrant buds:

Daffodils are also later coming up this year, but it won't be long before their cheerful faces are brightening the garden:

Velvety Edgeworthia buds will soon open:

Here is an assortment of more buds and emerging foliage:Clockwise from top left: Native azalea; Variegated hydrangea; Forsythia; Rosa rugosa 'Alba'.

I am excited to see all these opening buds; they promise that soon there will be a springtime riot of color in my garden.



Had a Dose of Winter; Now I Have Spring Fever!

In my part of the world I can garden year-round, though in winter I have to seize the opportunity between bouts of bitter freezes and equally miserable, sloppy days of cold rain.

We have had enough polar-inspired temps and snow this year to make it feel like we have had a real winter. A few weeks ago I visited Tennessee with friends during a particularly frosty spell. I borrowed some furry UGG boots and padded myself with multiple layers to accommodate below-zero wind chills.

Could you guess how cold it was by this view of the winter sky?Our group of ladies has a decades-long friendship, and a bit of cold air wasn't going to keep our warm spirits down! On the way home we were still enjoying our camaraderie and even stopped several times to take photos of frozen waterfalls and icicles along the road. We piled out of the car into the teeth of arctic winds and gripped our cameras with determination. Had my husband or someone else with common sense been with us, we would never have done this, but we would not have had nearly as much fun.

Here are a few images taken outside of Gatlinburg, including a selfie of myself with an icy waterfall and stream in the background. I am not very good at taking selfies. A friend said I should delete that shot because I wasn't smiling. Ha! It is the only photo I have of myself with the frozen waterfall. And it was my best attempt at a smile with my shivery, congealed lips.

So I have had my dose of winter; enough of that! Forgetting that I still have a chunk of January and all of February to go, I am ready for spring. Temps warmed up briefly into the sixties over the weekend. A true gardening addict, I spent Saturday outside, planting new shrubs that I purchased off-season cheap at my favorite nursery. It felt so good! This is the perfect time to plant shrubs in Alabama. The ground is not frozen here, and roots can settle into the soil before spring growth.

I even found some hellebores blooming. These fantastic plants will bloom for months:

I have a long list of things I want to accomplish in the garden before March, including (but not limited to!) some pruning, transplanting, clean-up, and spraying of horticultural oil. I am hoping for more beautiful days so that I can get out there and treat my spring fever.