Category Archives: winter

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – December 2016

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day has arrived on our frosty, snow-covered Lot in Zone 6a. At the beginning of last weekend the snow began to fall and did not stop throughout the weekend. At this posting we have settled into the winter routine, with the Other Half graciously clearing the sidewalks and drive with the snow shovel. The city has dug itself out and activities around here resumes as normal. The Lot is now covered in a powdery, white blanket which doubles as the poor man’s mulch to protect hibernating perennials from the brisk winter temperatures and harsh winds.

Snow Blooms

Full disclaimer right now; you are not going to see colorful flowers in this Bloom Day post. If you’d prefer those, and I wouldn’t be offended, head over to May Dreams Gardens to scope out some southern gardens. However, we do have some snow blooms to log, something that hasn’t happened since December Bloom Day 2013.

The Sweet Autumn clematis (Clematis paniculata) wasn’t around in 2013, but it has had a spectacular season on the Lot and continues to be beautiful into this month. I’ve left all the seed heads and vines in place (they’re just so darn purdy!), and when the snow fell it was light enough to create powdery blooms.

Check out the textures of the feathery seeds combined with the snow.

Always wonderful in the winter is snowfall upon stalks and seed heads of the purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea).

The old rose at the southwest corner of the house is forming curious looking blooms resembling icicles.

Yes, I know. They’re icicles, but pretty neat looking, right?

The burning bush (Euonymus alatus) has a strong enough structure to hold the weight of most  snowfalls and therefore regularly provides winter interest.

Other plants on the Lot do not. Here’s the false indigo (Baptisia australis) looking less than impressive under the weight of the snow.

The maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis) doesn’t look much better after more than a dusting of snow. I hadn’t secured the stalks together with twine as I had in years before.

Last but not least is this winter-themed hanging container I found while taking photos for today. UGH. You think you have everything in the garden put away for winter, and then you come across this!

So now a gardener goes back to her notes from the season and makes an attempt to bring the journal up to date. It’s a bit tricky to stay on top of the task during the growing season. However, this year involved a lot of Sherlock-ing some growing challenges, so I want to make sure I have those logged. Can’t wait to see what spring brings!

Don’t Toss the Tree

A shared Post from the NJSPCA Facebook Page today prompted me to share the idea here. The Lot is on a city street nice and cozy-close with the neighbors as city lots often are situated. After Christmas day, I often see many evergreens appear at the curbside for the city yard waste crews to pick up and take away. However, these trees can provide more services beyond being a mere organic ornament stand.

After December passes, the Other Half and I pack away the ornaments and put away the tree lights. Then we haul the tree through the house, showering needles everywhere and making a general mess. We place the evergreen in the backyard for January and February. Our Zone 6a winter is only half over and the tree provides shelter for birds and other small animals from any icy winds. The NJSPCA suggested adding suet balls and birdseed to the tree, which I think we’ll give a try this year. Unlike Mom G., we do not have to deal with the possibility of bears visiting.

When March arrives, we simply attach the bulk yard waste tag to the tree and the city will take it away. It is then ground up and redistributed during the summer as mulch through the city’s yard waste program. I know it isn’t much, but why not give a little extra shelter to our backyard residents? Then we can also enjoy the pretty evergreen just a bit longer.