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Winter Wonderland?

Well, I think winter may have finally arrived, perhaps not on the calendar but in pretty much every other way.

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Icy roads. Short days. Bitter winds. Freezing temperatures. The bloody freaking temperatures absolutely scream winter. It’s especially a slap in the face after the extremely long beautiful autumn. But that was then and this is now and winter will be what it wants to be.

On December 2nd this is what some Echinacea ‘Sundown’ and a Campanula ‘Viking’ looked like.

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On December 7th this is what my ‘Rocket Lemon’ snapdragons looked like. A lot can change in 5 days.

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Now ideally you want some snow cover for the plants when it gets down in the low teens and below. Most plants are fine though. But what of my slightly more tender stuff where I’m pushing the zone envelope? Makes me a bit antsy to say the least. I should have got mulch around the other set of Colocasia ‘Tea Cups’ in my backyard. At least I got one group mulched. Maybe it’s a good experiment. See who makes it. Or doesn’t. The perennials and small shrubs that went in the ground late are a concern. I would have liked them to have a month or so of “normal” winter temperatures before the deep-freeze hit. Here again may be a good experiment.
Of course the cold weather does tend to make the Christmas decorations around the Lilly House just a little brighter. Whether it’s the trees indoors or the ones outdoors.

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And it makes the 750 or so luminaria we put out for the Open House and Winter Solstice all the more beautiful. If you missed Open House you can redeem yourself by being sure to attend the Solstice events on the evening of the 17th. Just the thought of all of you coming warms my frozen candle lighting fingers right back up to blood flowing temperatures. The luminaria are truly magical.

With the snow that fell Monday morning came a reminder of why I do like winter at the same time I hate it. Hard to beat snow with evergreen foliage.

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And if you can add some holly berries, well, all the better.

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These shots may clue some folks in on why we don’t cut every dormant plant to the ground in late fall. All those seed heads make the best little presentation platters for the snow. They’re just beautiful.

Astilbe.

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Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’.

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Clematis tangutica ‘Aureola’.

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Echinacea ‘Milkshake’. The seeds in there will feed the birds too.

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So Winter, bring it on. Just like with people, I can’t make you do what is best so I’ll survive your spastic attentions as best I can and wait for Spring – which of course will come in like a lion and go out like a lamb. Whatever.

Filed under: Horticulture, Musings

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