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It Only Feels Like Winter

Brrrrrrr. It’s bloody cold for November. Daytime temps have been closer to what normally would be our nighttime temps. Normally. It’s not as though normal actually exists anyway.  So I’ve been thinking a bit about what is going on in the gardens and what looks good despite the early cold spell, who out there is laughing at their misfortune rather than crying.

Speaking of laughing, this made me laugh out loud – for a good while.

Anyway, back to the gardens.

The Hellebores are probably less than thrilled with the temps but they are stalwarts of the winter garden. They will be vital for that touch of green in January and their late winter blooms save us from despair after weeks of gray skies. Helleborus x hybridus foliage is still deep green and unblemished at this early date.

Underground are the flower buds that will emerge with the first warm weather in February. H. foetidous is in bud right now and if it doesn’t turn too bad could be in full bloom in December. Otherwise it will be mid to late winter. Here’s H. f. ‘Gold Bullion’ on Oak Island.

This will be its first winter here. The blooms are definitely yellow, not green like the species, and the foliage is chartreuse. It comes true from seed so I am hopeful it will be happy and self-sow profusely. Italian arum – Arum italicum (see why I prefer you learn scientific names?) is in its foliage glory right now. If the weather doesn’t get too severe it will remain good for many weeks.

Earlier these plants had a beautiful display of red-orange berries. There are other cultivars available, just a little hard to find.

Crabapples are loaded with fruit right now. Actually many of the newer cultivars hold their fruit until late Spring. They come with yellow fruit as well as the more traditional red. Two yellows we have are ‘Canary’ over at Newfield and ‘Bob White’ at the 40th Street entrance. Here’s ‘Bob White’ on the left and ‘Canary’ on the right.

The shot of ‘Canary’ helps explain why the yellows are not as popular. They don’t hold their color as long as the reds. One of the best reds is SugarTymeTM (‘Sutyzam’), planted along the drive to Newfield.

As a point of interest, the only difference between crabapples and appleapples is the size of the fruit (I am being sooooo good right now). If the fruit is over 2 inches the tree is considered an apple. They share the same genus name, Malus, and most are complex hybrids.

When I went to out to take some of these images I found a few more things. A common witchhazel, Hamamelis virginiana, with petals still holding on.

Euphorbia amygdaloides v. robbiae, wood spurge or Mrs. Robb’s Bonnet, is still underused.

And the twig dogwoods are already showing the promise of great winter color in the landscape.

So while the weather isn’t ideal there is still much going on in the gardens. And really even on a cold day, if it’s sunny, it is quite nice out. By all means keep visiting. You can always warm up in the greenhouse if your fingers and toes get cold (they have lots of shiny sparkly things in addition to plants). I’ll be seeing you somewhere between the frost and the sunshine. Well, actually, I’ll be in my office a lot the next few weeks. Surrounded by tropical plants.

Filed under: Horticulture

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