Thursday, 6 January 2011

Welcome back... green!

For me, Ferns are the best greens of all. After six weeks (feels like twice that) of a snow and ice covered garden our temps have been slowly rising and with odd rain showers in the last few days… we have the start of garden again!

The evergreen Ferns behind my garden gate were looking wonderfully fresh as I went out for a wander yesterday. They really did stop me in my tracks. This was not a winter scene.


~~~ Clicking on images will enlarge them ~~~


However there are still plenty signs of winter in my garden. After a prolonged cold spell, with frozen deep snow, damage to the growing tips of shrubs is quite common.


~~~ Griselinia ~~~

My favourite evergreen shrub for green foliage, Griselinia, has been hit as per usual. I’ll do nothing with this for now as this damage will die back further down the stems yet. I’ll prune it back nearer Spring when the worst of the cold has passed. This established plant usually comes back again albeit a slightly different shape.

I’m hoping (fingers crossed) the young Griselinia plants I grew from cuttings and planted as a hedge corner in my front garden will be okay. They are still under a deep pile of snow and seeing the stems sticking out now suggest they have been well weighted well down.

Completely flattened and pressed hard to the ground the annual herb Borage was also seen in my front garden. Its distinctive hairy stems made a wonderful pattern on the ground. You could just make out the flower heads there too.


~~~ Borage (flattened) ~~~

This Borage pressing instantly reminded me of images I spotted on a blog at Randy & Meg’s Garden the other day. You’ll see what I mean here although I should put out a warning for anyone who is uncomfortable looking at snakes.

Randy has posted images of the American Five-lined Skink which is common in the eastern US. I did shiver a little myself as I scrolled through the images. My head saw snake and my eyes completely missed the detail of legs!

The skink is actually a lizard and as this one was so very well camouflaged with the colour of the soil I never noticed the legs. However, the excellent image of a newborn struggling to exit the egg does show the legs and the lizard head very well. I am more comfortable with that image and what beautiful creatures they look.

Randy’s photos are excellent throughout his blog and I would definitely recommend a browse around Randy & Meg’s Garden Paradise where you’ll find many interesting posts which include birds, butterflies, bugs and plants. On reading his New Year’s post, I was struggling to get my head around the idea of hoping to see butterflies on January the first!

Meanwhile, coming back to my ‘part’ frozen garden yesterday you can see more flattened stems and leaves, This time it is the perennial plants that are encased in ice in my back garden. I love this image as it is finally revealing the green of my lawn!


~~~ Perennial plant material encased in ice ~~~


As snow fell again and again in the last 6 weeks, food put out for the birds was covered many times. I love the image below too as it shows the melon seeds that were put out on deep hard snow on Christmas morning have been revealed again as they reached ground level.

If you look closely at the image below you can also see that ice has encased the neat leaves of the perennial Geum (a compact version) which normally would have died back to appear again in Spring.


~~~ Geum leaves encased in ice and melon seeds ~~~


Further walkabouts revealed a few wild strawberries that were lost to the cold seen in the montage below.

In the area behind my garden gate (beside the fern in the first photo) the snow was also receding to reveal my Gunnera with flower spike flattened and leaves looking like wet Rhino skin.

This area also revealed a gardener’s big mistake. My Mum used to say I had green fingers and I could get away with things she couldn’t. I hope this is the case here.

The brown mound in the bottom left of the montage is a favourite plant that I lifted from another area in the garden and placed here under the foliage cover of Hellebores and Ferns one busy gardening day…



Yep… this gardener completely neglected Jack Frost (Brunnera) and the Snow Queen then covered him up! I love this plant too (hanging my head in shame now). If the snow continues to recede in this area I’ll test the hardness of the soil and try to plant it. I don’t know if it will survive or not – this will be a test for green fingers!

Next to Jack Frost are some Hellebores and I was looking more closely there. Can’t be sure at this stage but perhaps that’s a flower bud pushing up. New flower buds are particularly welcome in winter aren’t they?

Being completely honest, I’m a bit lax in planting for winter flowers. I should really do something about that. Mm… maybe my garden is trying to tell me something…


~~~ Penstemon 'Etna' ~~~

What’s this that has been revealed in my front garden today? With the weight of a lot of snow Penstemon stems have been pushed over a pot that had a sedum in it. Wow… it actually has some of its coral bells still on it! Amazing :-)

Equally amazing (for a second year) my perennial Wallflower Bowles's Mauve is still trying to hold on to a few flowers in January.

This plant has been under snow for almost six weeks now and is beside the flattened borage shown above and an equally flatten few lavenders! It may not be the prettiest plant in my garden at the moment but it has to get the award for best winter effort :-)


~~~ Perennial Wallflower 'Bowles' Mauve' ~~~


Enjoy your garden this weekend… you do know what I’m going to ask you now don’t you? Three questions today…

1/ Which plant gets the award for best winter effort in your garden?

2/ Have you been a neglectful gardener this winter? If so what are you hanging your head in shame with?

3/ Ah… and the big one… green fingers… do you think they exist?


All photos shown above were taken in my garden on January 5th 2011.

11 comments:

Green Lane Allotments said...

Just like you I noticed that the evergreen ferns shone out and the hellebores are perking up after being flattened under the snow.

We also have lots of bulb shoots pushing through.

The flowers of the winter jasmine have been ruined for the first time that I can remember!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I got out and looked at my hellebores yesterday and we have new leaves emerging but there are still no flower buds.

Your area has really been hit hard this winter. I am amazed that there is anything showing a bit of color. Ferns are my very favorite. They are so tough.

I am hanging my head about not getting some bulbs into the ground this past fall. They sit in my garage. I should take advantage of this thaw and put them into the ground but I have been busy taking down Christmas decorations. I have to work today and tomorrow so it won't happen.

I did get three of the hyacinth bulbs put onto vases so they at least have a chance to bloom.

I laughed at the comment you left on my blog about how you buy notebooks then they stay blank. I am guilty as charged. ha... I see a pretty empty notebook/sketch book and I must have it for my collection. I think that just means I have lots to say and do but no time to do it. One must always be prepared though. tee hee.

Have a great weekend.

Liz said...

Hi Shirl,

Lovely Fern you have there, I've noticed mine look very nice and bright too - hadn't realised I'd got evergreen ferns! Not complaining at all, as they're nice little jewels at the back of the garden.

I hope we get to see more growth soon, and that your garden defrosts! Ours looks ok, but when walking on the grass to get to the bird feeders the ground is very much frozen still.

Need to go check on my winter Jasmine to see if it's flowering yet - it's too small for me to see from the house yet. And I really ought to get a winter flowering Clematis, anything to brighten up the garden!
But we all know, once Spring arrives good intentions go out the window and yet another year passes where I wish I'd got one!

fer said...

I am sure your garden will make a great comeback from winter. It looks like a lot of the plants are a bit mangled but ready to try.

Thank you for the comment on my blog

VP said...

Hi - like you I'm amazed at how 'Bowles Mauve' tries to flower for all 12 months of the year :)

Bees love it too, so it's a good standby on the odd warm day we might have at this time of the year when bees take the opportunity to clean their hives and take on board some refreshment from these, the winter flowering honeysuckle and Pulmonaria in the garden.

Have a great weekend!

A Year In My Garden said...

Some great pictures throughout the blog - I'm a canon user too - Happy New Year

Juliet said...

Ooh, which birds eat melon seeds? I'd never thought of putting those out - and I have a melon at the moment!

Flowers are a bit minimal here just now, but my Nandinas are looking great, and have done so throughout the cold weather - and all year, in fact. Cornus sanguinea midwinter fire is showier at the moment though, so not sure which I'd say gets my award.

Orchids and Nature said...

You inspired me to have a good look around my garden today, nothing out only the shoots of the Snowdrops, but plenty of frog activity in the mud at the bottom of the pond now the ice has almost melted on the pond.

narkeymarkey said...

wasn't it great to see some rain for a change after all of the snow?! and we were smiling at how excited we were to see some of the green re-emerge from under the snow!

we've had another big dump of snow again this weekend so any notions of tidying up our much-neglected garden have disappeared for a while.

roll on spring!

shirl said...

Hello everyone, thanks for your comments. Hope you all had a good weekend :-)

It was great to start seeing the garden again but perhaps I tempted fate with this posting. At the end of this day the snow returned and the next night too. This fern is covered in snow once more. The weather peeps say rain is expected today. I hope so, so the roads can be more drivable.

Green Lane, no bulbs here yet. Shame about your Jasmine :-(

Lisa, our colour has been put on hold again. I am guilty as charged re bulbs in my shed too… some have been forgotten since last winter (really hanging my head now). Enjoy your Hyacinth. Re notebooks, more we have in common :-)

Liz, it was! We’ll see it again. I have had many ferns over the years and once I discovered evergreen ones I was delighted and collected a few. The snow has to keep off them though! Hope your Jasmine is okay. Ah yes… good intentions ;-)

Fer, yes my plants do try but sadly some may not make it. I lost a few last year. You’re welcome, I enjoy my visits to your blog :-)

VP, yes Bowles’ Mauve is great. It’s a bit warmer in Cheltenham, 12 months is too ambitious for this area of the country. We get 10-11 months of flowers although very sparse at the moment. No bees likely to be out here though, enjoy any sightings you get :-)

A Year, thanks, wishing you a good New Year too. I see your blog is new, I’ll pop over for a proper browse soon :-)

Juliet, not sure. I put the melon seeds out but with snow covering them on and off I don’t know if there were many takers. They never all get eaten but as it was so cold I thought I’d put them out. Ah… the Cornus would get it from me :-)

David, snowdrops are good. No signs of them here, but then again the ground has had more than a drop of snow again ;-) Oh… all water still frozen… I can’t picture frogs at the moment. Enjoy yours :-)

narkey, welcome to another Perthshire garden! Yes, the rain was great. Hope we get the predicted showers today. Like you we’ve had quite a dump of snow over the weekend. Spring seems a distant land again ;-)

Anna said...

Great to see greenness Shirl ~ I am fond of ferns too. Your story of the brown mound made me chuckle - I have been guilty of the very same crime too. Hope that Jack Frost has not put pay to 'Jack Frost'. I am hanging my head in shame that I have not visited my allotment since November and yes I do believe in green fingers :)