In the past I’ve just nipped off Hellebore blossoms and floated them in a bowl.
Pretty, but today I went foraging in my garden. (Can I call it “foraging” if I’m not collecting food?)
I have a tendency to leave a ridiculous number of tabs open on my browser. I really can’t be bothered keeping bookmarks, is that even done anymore? I’ll pin relevant things to my many Pinterest boards, but some things just don’t fit, or don’t have a “pinable” picture.
So I’ve decided to to use this space to solve my problem. One of my favourite bloggers (Knitted Bliss) does a regular Friday “Link Love” post, wherein she links to her favourite posts of the previous week. (Since discovered that it’s not a unique concept…) I wouldn’t remotely have the discipline to do this every week, so instead I’m just going to weed out the best of the multitudes of pages when the browser gets too unwieldy. Or frozen. Then all I have to do is follow my “link love” tag to find the pages I want to review. Here goes:
First of all the link that started me off: What To Do With Pears. It’s totally inspired me to plant a pear tree. I didn’t think I even liked pears that much, but the idea of Pear and Ginger Preserves is too seductive to resist. What kind of pear tree?
Then there’s Erin at Floret, and her quick tutorials on growing all the flowers you’ve ever wanted to grow. For me this year it’s Dahlias, Cosmos, Sweet Peas. (Oh yeah, now I have to close the page or I’ve defeated the purpose.)
There’s always recipe pages that I can’t bear to close yet even if I’ve already pinned them. If you still have some squash from your fall harvest, have a look at this Squash Toast with Smokey Onion Jam. (I only had 6 squash in total, long gone of course, so I’ll be buying squash for this. And my onions didn’t cure that well, so they’re gone as well.) Close page.
Moving on to design wisdom, Garden Design often has very useable articles. I’ve referenced them from time to time in these pages. “Top Advice for Designing Your Garden” really has several basic but maybe not-very-well understood recommendations.
E-Garden Go–another blogger I love to follow–has lovely plant pics and combinations–really, their main purpose is to demonstrate plant combinations. Having just heard a conference speaker advocate restrained plant palettes, “3 Good Reasons to Consider a Limited Plant Palette” was a timely mot.
Pics: Not only the pics themselves, but the name: Deerlymissed.
Winter: le Jardinet.
GMOs: Genetic Literacy Project
More Winter Interest
This time of year there are lots of blog posts about having multi-season interest, and especially Winter interest, in your garden. I love THIS from The Gardener’s Eden. Beautiful colour, strong contrast, everything you could want to take your mind off the bone shattering cold.
Or from Monrovia’s Top 7 Garden Trends for 2019: subtlety, wistfulness, peace.
Unfortunately, most of these beautiful scenes depend on sun, snow, or both to really show the virtues.
Unlike the torrential rains, winds and gloom that is the usual lot for us in coastal BC, or coastal PNW (this past week notwithstanding…).
So here we need to look for plants (or structures or art pieces) that can hold their own not only in the absence of glistening snow and soft winter-low sun, but in the presence of that pounding rain. The flowers of the Pennisetum (above in the Monrovia image) wouldn’t have maintained that lovely mounded shape through the deluge over the first couple days of 2019, but other grasses, like Carex ‘Frosted Curls’ (one of my all-time faves) can still give you the mounded shape, the potential for this frosted effect (real frost) when it happens, without the risk of total loss.
So assuming you don’t have the acres that for example Anglesey Abbey in Cambridge has…
…and that you don’t have California warmth and New England sun, here are my best tips for winter interest: berries and gold foliage.
The Pyracantha and Skimmia will glow in pretty much any location, partly because they have evergreen foliage to frame the berries. The Callicarpa however is deciduous, and really needs some other evergreen colour to set off even these neon purple berries. The above pic was taken in late Autumn, when the grasses were still vivid. They aren’t now, so be sure to plant something else around your Callicarpa that will still be present at this time of year. Which leads to the next category of winter interest for dour dreary coastal BC:
One of the great things about gold foliage is that it serves equally well as background colour and foreground colour.
Everyone should have some creeping sedums in their garden.
Hummingbirds and Witch-hazel.
I don’t know how this escaped my notice all these years, but it appears that the hummingbirds LOVE Witch-hazel–Hamamelis. The boys and girls were out there this morning drinking to their hearts’ content.
I scoured Google images for one of a Hummingbird enjoying the nectar of the Hamamelis, without success. And try as I might, I couldn’t get one myself.
So I’m afraid you’ll have to take my word for it–and the word of multitudes of garden writers like Ciscoe Morris in Seattle.
And here are a few other items of interest about the lovely Hamamelis species:
Winter Projects Part 1
Those pictures are from a few years ago. I want to see the garden looking like above, but this is what it looks like now:
I’ve written about pruning your Hellebores several times before, so now I just want to amend the suggestions. Specifically, leave the foliage if you don’t need to cut it, and for some, cut the foliage before you think you need to.
Regardless what the flowers are doing, early winter flowering, late flowering, short or tall, leaves that look like this should have been cut long ago. But it’s winter, and always wet, and I waited until the roofers had finished replacing my roof. In the meantime, the flowers started to grow tall, and making sure yesterday that I got the foliage and spared the flower stalks was a challenge.
And much as I love hellebores, this particular one never looks very beautiful. I may move it and see if it will do better in a little more sun. It’s currently in the shadiest spot possible–not only does the sun never hit that spot even on June 21, but it’s also growing underneath an evergreen shrub.
But back to pruning. Below is ‘Elly’. It has no flower buds pushing up yet, and the foliage is actually in great condition. So I’ll leave it for now, and check again in a few weeks time.
Mary Lou on the other hand is really trying to be seen, so despite the foliage looking quite good (see above), she should have had a haircut weeks ago as well. Can I remember next year to do this before Christmas? And again, carefully sparing the flower stalks while cutting all the leaf petioles–I was down on my knees with my head upside down. Uncomfortable. Fortunately, most of the petioles are green and most of the flower stalks are red.
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