Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas - 2012

Merry Christmas everyone.
As you can see in the above picture we have had quite a bit of snow. We were so blessed not to receive this until early this morning. I am hoping that like us most people got their presents opened and returned home to be safe and sound before the snow moved in. 
This huge white lump is the pyracantha that is featured in my header photo. The snow has it all weighted down. I hope the birds can get under the snow to dine on the berries.
It all depends upon which tv station you listen to as to how much snow we had. I am inclined to believe what I see here in the drive. Eleven inches is the official reading by the weather channel, so far. 
My Dearly Beloved and I got out and shoveled the snow out of the driveway so we can eventually get out onto the public streets when we have to. 
I also went out to shake the snow off of some of the shrubs that were overwhelmed. We don't often have such huge amounts of snow. I was wondering if I was doing the right thing by shaking off the snow. It hasn't been too cold today. The temp is hovering around freezing. The wind is picking up and it is supposed to get pretty cold tonight.
A fun thing to do when you can't get out is feed the birds. We have a whole lot more birds at the feeders today. I got a new bird for the garden today. It is a Rusty Blackbird. Do you see the yellow eye on the bird in the center of the picture?  These blackbirds aren't typical garden birds. They hang out in big groups in fields and around swampy areas so it was a treat to see one here. 
Inside it is all warm and toasty. My 'Black Truffles' begonia is starting to bloom. I was so surprised to see these little polka doted buds. 
They are so small and delicate. They pop open to reveal a begonia-like bloom. 
I hope you are all enjoying the holidays. 



Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wonderful Surprise

This fall I was the lucky recepient of some trial plants from Southern Living. They were one of the gracious supporters of the Spring Fling that I attended this year in Asheville, NC. Their representatives gave an informative talk and offered some plants to trial in our garden if we wanted one.
Well, I ask you, does any gardener say no to free plants?  Especially when they offered to mail them to you at a later date so you didn't have to try to cram them into your already packed vehicle. I mean just imagine 3 women traveling several hundred miles over 10 days, all that luggage needed, then set loose in a few nurseries. That would be three women that like to garden. It is a good thing that Rose can back up her vehicle using the side mirrors is all I can say.
The Spring Fling was in May so by September I thought well, that was another promise not kept. I was oh so wrong. The last day of October I received this huge box with these amazingly large starts of plants. Now that is what I call mail order done right. Only I didn't have to order them. They were free
Thank you SOUTHERN LIVING.
They are all tucked into the garden now. Amazingly I have had to keep them watered this fall. The drought just doesn't want to give up it's grip. We were 2 inches behind on rain in November and we are still having dry warm weather. I am not complaining though. It seems my new plants are taking the planting late in the season just fine. 
I am a little concerned that all but one is hardy to a zone just south of my zone. Hmmm We will see if global warming will be on my side in regard to these plants. I have planted them in areas I think might have a micro climate a little warmer than other areas in the garden. It will be exciting to see if they survive.

As to the plants the Purple Pixie Weeping Loropetalum is the most yummy color. I just love that purple/red color and it blooms. While most things in the garden have been frosted and frozen enough to lose their leaves  if they are going to this shrub still looks like the perky little sprite that arrived here over a month ago. 

I am not very familiar with Mahonias. The Mahonia they sent me is called 'Soft Caress'. It has bamboo-like foliage. It will get bright yellow flowers in early winter they say. This will be a real treat if it survives. I have always admired those big mahonias in the South that have big blue berries. If this one lives I will be trying one of them here too. 
My favorite plant  that they sent was the Gardenia, Gardenia jasminoides 'Leeone'. It even had a couple of blooms on it when it arrived. Those glossy leaves are marvelous and the big white blooms, mmmmmm I can't wait to have a shrub full of them. I am very hopeful that it will survive despite the zone being illadvised here. What gives me the greatest hope is that Lee, who lives and gardens in Conneticut, has a gardenia that survives and blooms. Where he lives is the same zone as where I live. His area does get more snow cover that might help it along. I don't know. We will see. I am so excited about this though.

Last but not least is the only plant that is recommended for my zone Little Bonnie Dwarf Spirea. Isn't that the sweetest name for a shrub? It has dainty blue-green foliage which I love and it blooms too. The foliage color blends well with my color scheme in the back garden. 

I put links to all the plants so you can read why I am so excited about them. I haven't taken pictures of them in situ because most of everything looks a little sad at this point in my garden due to the frost and freezing. I am looking forward to seeing how these plants do in my garden. I will keep you up to date.