Entries in old stumps (2)


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!


A Perfect Day in November

Another perfect day. Sixty-eight degrees, clear sky, fresh, clean air. Spring is my favorite season, but fall is a close second. I watch as my garden puts itself to bed, and there is beauty and peace in this place as winter's rest approaches.

In my last journal entry, a walk through my garden, I posted a photo of a Japanese maple with golden leaves. Look what happened to it overnight.

 In the woodland garden, a blue hosta, which was about three feet tall in its prime earlier this year, is yellow and wilted with age, but still beautiful as it composes itself against the remnants of an old stump.

I love old stumps, as long as they are where they belong and not in the middle of my lawn. They provide shelter and nourishment to little woodland creatures, and I like the look of them when they are covered with moss and lichens.

This old stump, near the lady garden, is host to variegated ivy.

What else to share with you today? There is so much out there. A lot of it I have planted, and a lot of it I have not. I am blessed with some great native plants, including oakleaf hydrangeas. I have heard that there are more oakleaf hydrangeas in Alabama than anywhere else in the world. It is our official state wildflower. I have plenty of them in my yard. After the leaves have fallen, the seed heads will persist through the winter. 

As the days are shortening and the nights getting cooler, the hydrangeas in my yard are putting on their final show.


One kind of hydrangea I did plant is Hydrangea arborescans 'Annabelle'. This was my mother's name, so I planted a half dozen in her memory. They have smooth green leaves and huge white flowers through the summer. Now the flowers are shriveled and brown, but this morning's sun caught one of them and gave it a golden glow.

I hope the sun is shining in your heart, wherever you are, whatever the weather may be. Have a great weekend.