Entries in Variegated Winter Daphne (3)


Pre-Spring in the Garden

Temperatures here have fluctuated from near freezing to shirt-sleeve warm. On warmer days I have enjoyed the chance to kick off 2017 gardening with clean-up and late winter pruning. Early bloomers are trying to push the season into spring a bit early. I know hard frosts are still likely; but as more blooms open daily, I am getting excited about spring. I won't say spring has arrived, but we are definitely into pre-spring!

Here is a look at some early blooms. Daffodils and forsythia:

Flowering quince (chaemoneles) with forsythia in the background:

Forsythia is an old-fashioned, common shrub, but who can resist its cheerful burst of blooms on a gray February day?

Daphne odora 'Marginata' has a pleasing fragrance and waxy blooms that contrast beautifully with its variegated foliage:

My pale pink camellia by the mailbox has smaller blooms than usual this year. I am amazed it has any blooms at all. We were 3 months into our drought last fall before I noticed its leaves wilting and finally gave it some supplemental water:This camellia began as a volunteer seedling. Its parent has red blooms.

Magnolia 'Jane' began blooming this weekend. It is often called a tulip tree because of its tulip-like blooms:

Hellebores are reliable late-winter bloomers:

Anise (Illicium parviflorum) 'Florida Sunshine' is not known for its inconspicuous blooms, but its chartreuse foliage and red stems light up the winter garden. The leaves have a wonderful licorice fragrance::

Finally, I came across these colorful little mushrooms while walking in the woodland garden. They were a nice surprise that came from all the rain we have been having:

Happy pre-spring!

You may also enjoy my previous post:  Are You a Plant Snob?


Early Spring, Conquering Weeds

Forsythia and early spring daffodils are beginning to bloom in the front garden.Signs of spring are everywhere in the garden: spots of chartreuse green emerging along branches; emerald shoots pushing out of the earth; flower buds swelling till their lustrous, candy colored contents are released; birds singing and performing courtship dances in the air; children playing outside, their shouts and laughter carrying through the woods from an adjacent neighborhood. Rosa rugosa 'Alba', emerging from dormancy

Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles)

Daphne odora 'Marginata' (Variegated winter daphne)



Summer snowflakes (Leucojum aestivum). Despite the name, these bloom in early spring for me.

And weeds, lots and lots of weeds.

It was a particularly pleasant day, and I spent a good portion of it on my knees in the garden, or else sitting on my rump, happily pulling weeds. After several days of rain earlier in the week, the ground was soft and many of the weeds came out easily. 

There are three main ways I get rid of weeds:

Simply chopping the tops off at ground level is a temporary esthetic fix, but pulling them out by the roots is far more effective. I love my hoematic, a versatile tool that is indispensable for getting them out by the roots.My well used hoematic

Smothering weeds with a good layer of mulch is a quick way to beautify the garden. For areas with heavy weed cover I use newspaper, brown paper sacks, and even cardboard layered over the ground, then topped with an attractive mulch, such as  pine straw or pine nuggets.

I limit the use of herbicide, but I do use it for truly obnoxious weeds like poison oak.

I don't mind weeding. I let my thoughts drift as I mechanically attack the chore. I think about God, about relationships, about garden design. I ponder politics and compose blog posts. I wonder at the force that causes these unwanted plants to erupt by the thousands. They appeared almost overnight, and already many of them, even the babies, are producing flowers, determined to churn out another generation before I hack them to death.

Weeds grow year round in my climate. Even in winter, on milder days, it is a good idea to grab a few in passing. If I pull ten weeds, I am preventing hundreds of wanton offspring. On days dedicated to weeding, I am euphoric over the unnumbered multitudes that have been thwarted. I am not discouraged that I have removed a mere bucket from an ocean of weeds. I focus on what I have done, rather than on what I can never do.

I will not conquer all weeds. That's OK. I enjoy the battle, for it gets me into the garden, where I experience the earth and watch the good guys grow.Grape hyacinth