Welcoming wildlife?

There are a surprising number of possible entry points for wildlife to get into the house. After years being oblivious to this potential, I am now very aware after several snake sightings in the basement by my wife. Certainly, these are not the first sightings, and in several cases I’ve managed to shoo snakes large…

Who cares about winter flowers?

It’s cold out there. It’s winter, or at least it’s cold like winter. So, who cares about flowers in the garden if it’s too cold to go out there? Well of course, I do. Unless the weather is unusually nasty, I’m in the garden every evening, and more on weekends. Some days this might be…

Now you see ’em

I did not get out into the garden yesterday, a rarity, but with a chilly rain throughout the afternoon there was good reason to stay warm and dry indoors. Today, my early evening stroll reminded that I must get out to spray the deer repellent. Of course, this can’t be done in the rain, but…

Still blooming

The garden’s transition to winter dormancy continues with only a few scattered shrubs and Japanese maples retaining leaves and below freezing nighttime temperatures expected over the next week. Today, after weeks of mild weather, the upper, rear garden is in glorious bloom, but with flowers of camellias (below) that could be damaged if the freeze…

The red carpet

Leaves of Japanese maples, held long after foliage of neighboring trees has fallen, have dropped overnight in welcomed rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Nicole. Today, much of the garden is blanketed by leaves, but no area is so glorious as the front walk, covered in the red of the Bloodgood maple (Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’,…

A small collection of orchids

I am surprised to see three purple leafed cranefly orchids (Tipularia discolor, below) emerging through the clutter of fallen leaves. Handfuls of more common green leafed craneflies and the few purples were dug by squirrels a year ago. I believe this trio has multiplied from a single cranefly left by the thieving squirrels that has…

Not fair

I must protest. I hear from other area gardeners that they have not yet experienced frosts or several freezes that have called a halt to holdover flowers from late summer and earlier autumn in this garden. I assumed, incorrectly, that the freezes were widespread. Still, a single toad lily (Tricyrtis) protected by an overhanging mahonia…

All at once

Leaves of the splendidly yellow ginkgo fell a week ago. Without forewarning, leaves fell overnight and in a day the tree was bare. Three partially shaded dwarfs retain their leaves, with just the start of a show of color. Aside from the marvelous Japanese maples, the star of the autumn leaf drop is undoubtedly the…

Best in autumn

I am barely enthused by autumn foliage colors, knowing the next step is that leaves drop for months until spring’s first growth. But, leaf colors do weigh in favoring one Japanese maple over another. Undoubtedly, the fern leaf full moon maple (Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’, below) is the best of the lot. Today, after several frosts…

Color in the cold

Bees are back (below), a dependable indicator that mild temperatures have returned after a chilly week. They’re not likely to be around for long, and the garden’s march towards dormancy is evident following several nights with freezing temperatures. But, colorful flowers and berries remain despite an ever deepening blanket of leaves covering the garden. Someday,…

Three nights, three freezes

The first freeze did nothing, or nearly so, and even flowers of tender annuals made it through with minimal damage. The next night was a degree colder. Annuals drooped, but they weren’t goners until the third night, after the third freeze (below). Several nights falling below freezing should not seem unusual for October, but recent…

Making progress

While the garden remains a work in progress after thirty-three years, some parts are more actively worked on than others. Tiny treasures are regularly plugged wherever gaps can be found, and occasionally a tree or shrub is required to fill some larger space if something is lost in a storm. I don’t expect this will…