Entries in variegated daphne (3)


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.



The Passionate Gardener

Lou and I spent the last couple of days pruning shrubs and trimming trees.I do not commit crape murder! I prune this crape myrtle so that it is allowed to grow into its naturally beautiful tree form. Unfortunately, I still see crape myrtles that have been chopped back to large stubs, a practice that promotes ugly knots and lots of weak sprouts.I felt a rush of satisfaction as  I removed dead branches, shaped and cut wayward shoots from crape myrtles and apple trees. They look great now and are ready for a new season of growth. There is much to do as spring approaches, and as I worked I was happily making a list of projects. The world is wakening! Leaf and flower buds are beginning to appear and bulbs are pushing up out of the earth.Hepatica blooms

Variegated Winter Daphne is loaded with buds that are not quite open.

Flowering quince

The young man we hired to help us yesterday was a kindred spirit. He glowed when he talked of his plans to study horticulture and his love of plants and nature. Is this sort of thing genetic? Are we born gardeners? Lou once worked with a man who was a successful businessman, who also happened to be a body-builder. But this tough guy's real love was growing roses. Then there are a couple of former head football coaches, Pat Dye of Auburn and Vince Dooley of the University of Georgia, who have both become passionate gardeners in their retirement years. Last year I had the pleasure of visiting Pat Dye's marvelous garden. He talked to our group and said, while football was the job he was known for, gardening was who he was. Hellebores are now blooming.

Another lovely hellebore

What makes us love gardening so much? What pulls us to the soil, no matter what other responsibilities and professions we may have? Is it the joy of creativity and watching things grow, the exercise, the fresh air, or the challenge of conquering difficult climate and soil conditions? Forsythia is one of the earliest spring bloomers.

Camellia 'Red Candles'What draws you to gardening?

You may also enjoy these posts:

Confessions of a Perfectionist

About Garden Chores

Five Rules To Prune By

Pruning is fun and other basics you need to know

Happy Gardening!   Deb