Returning to the scene of the crime

In February 2012 I fell on our big berm in the front yard and broke both bones in my right arm. This was a big handicap since I am right-handed. Since then, I’ve had other health issues that prevented me from writing my blog. Today I begin again.

Possumhaw with leaves.

Possumhaw with leaves.

Winter time limits the color palette of the garden. Hollies and other evergreens are the stars of the landscape now. Deciduous hollies  show off now because they lose their leaves, so their berries really show up, as this Possumhaw before leaf fall and the Winterberry without leaves.

Winterberry, Ilex verticilata, is our newest deciduous holly.

Winterberry, Ilex verticilata, is our newest deciduous holly.

Grape-hollies, which are neither grapes nor hollies, are blooming now. The bees are eager to collect nectar from one of the few winter-blooming plants. The pretty yellow bell flowers are followed by gorgeous sky-blue berries.

Grape holly bloom clusters.

Grape-holly (Mahonia) bloom clusters.

Hellebores, also called Christmas or Lenten Roses, bloom reliably in January and February, with blossoms continuing until April. Most are evergreen, so their large palm-shaped foliage makes a good ground cover. Inter-planting them with spring bulbs helps hide unsightly bulb foliage after their flowers are spent.

This freckled bloom may open as early as January or as late as February..

This freckled bloom may open as early as January or as late as February.

I’m a little rusty on how-to-do etc., but it is good to be back. See you in the garden!

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,900 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

What is blooming early in your garden?

Grape holly bloom clusters.

Grape holly bloom clusters.

'John Clayton' honeysuckle with crossvine

‘John Clayton’ honeysuckle with crossvine

Winter daphne has the sweetest lemony blooms, better than gardenia for me.

Winter daphne has the sweetest lemony blooms, better than gardenia for me.

My first daffodil to bloom this year, in January, was Erlicheer. It is very uncommon to see it in bloom so early. Fragrant Daphne is blooming a little early and my Flowering Japanese Apricot continues blooming, since its December debut! ‘John Clayton’ and ‘Red Cascade’ native honeysuckles are blooming, too. My vernal witchhazel is in full bloom. The Oregon Grapehollies (Mahonia) are blooming and the bees are flocking to them. Several daffodils are budded to open any day. All of my hellebores are blooming and started in January. Tell me what is blooming early for you.

Hellebores, also called  Lenten roses are in full bloom, all colors..

Hellebores, also called Lenten roses are in full bloom, all colors..

What is blooming now. . . portraits of reliable fall blooming plants.

Golden Raintree, Koelreuteria bipinnata, has seed pods that are as pretty as flowers.

Obedient plant blooms bountifully.
Ivy-leaved cyclamen, C. hederifolium, is only 4 inches tall but its bright color makes it a stand-out.
Japanese anemone ‘Andrea Atkinson’ forms a large colony about 5 feet wide.
Very reliable sedum flowers change from pink to deep russet.
Narrow-leaf Sunflower is a bright exclamation point in the fall garden.
This aster is very fragrant and climbs up to 8 feet.

‘October Skies’ native aster

This toad lily, Miyazaki, shows some atypical coloration

What’s blooming in January?

Grape holly bloom clusters.

Unseasonably warm weather has caused some buds to open early. Yesterday I walked around taking pictures of the blooms. The honeybees were taking full advantage of the pollen and nectar from the flowering apricot, Lenten Roses (hellebores), ‘John Clayton’ honeysuckle and Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia). These little jewels get me prepared for the real winter weather to come.

This freckled bloom isn't usually seen until late February.

Fragrant blooms of flowering apricot have opened a month early.

November’s Pleasures

November is usually a brilliant month. There is something about the fall sunlight on the colored leaves and flowers that shows them at their best. Bright contrast and details of leaves not seen with the chlorophyll present. I’m pairing the last rose of fall with the first camellia to bloom and ‘John Clayton’ honeysuckle that has some blooms all year long.  Happy Thanksgiving.

'John Clayton' honeysuckle with crossvine

Queen of Denmark

'Pink Icicle' camellia