At the end of this post is a photo of a suddenly invasive plant intruder that I am dealing with in my winter garden. I would love any info anyone has on what this thing is, and input on whether I should keep ripping it out or just let it spread.
Thanks! – Katie
It’s time for a wintertime Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: the December 2012 edition. I’m a bit late to get my Bloom Day post written up and published this month, but I figured better late than never, right?
Last month, in November, I was happily surprised to find that I still had so much growing and blooming in my Zone 7a garden, but today, this very last day of 2012, that’s no longer the case. My little urban garden has gone fully to sleep for a winter’s rest.
Persephone has definitely left the building.
Because gardens are so quiet in the these cold months, many gardeners work overtime to create something known as “winter interest,” which might be an evergreen, winter vegetables, a stand of cold-weather blooming ornamental grass, stonework, garden statuary, or even the way certain dormant plants remain beautiful in their own way when covered in frost on a winter morning. It takes time to create all or even some of these elements, and since my garden is quite young, I don’t have much of this winter interest thing happening just yet. However, I have some, and I thought I’d start with that for my December Bloom Day post.
In truth, my “winter interest” may be of interest only to me. And it is. While I can’t spend as much time in my garden in December as I can in, say, May, I still love spending as much time out there as possible. That’s a change because usually in the winter months, I just cocoon indoors as much as possible. I guess that’s yet another small way that gardening is changing me – all year ’round.
Here’s some of what I’m enjoying looking at in my garden this month…
This is a bright & cheery & absolutely wonderful flower that came into bloom just last week. It’s made of iron, and it was my Christmas gift from my sister this year. I can’t tell you how much I love this thing. I’ve always been a girl of summer, and that’s even more the case since I started gardening. Except for the holidays, which I love, wintertime to me is mostly something to be gotten through until the sun comes back out in the springtime. This happy new addition to the garden reminds me that the sunshine is coming, soon enough. (Thanks, Bets!)
Here’s a closer view of my sweet Christmas flower.
And speaking of Christmas… this teensy little spruce tree that I potted up and put out in the garden last summer is just thriving this winter, and while it isn’t as flashy as the big,iron flower, I like looking closely at the way the needles grow, and how the green tree is bursting with little brown buds. I thought that that the big glass ball hanging over the little tree was pretty in the warm weather but it’s a different kind of pretty in the winter light. Sometimes, on the chilliest mornings, it gets little ice crystals on it, and those reflects beams of color out in different directions.
After I saw my bestie Kimi’s beautiful buttercrunch lettuce growing in her Bell Buckle garden, I knew I wanted to try to grow some myself. I planted mine in October, and here’s what one of my plants looks like at the moment, next to some of the ornamental kale I put in at the same time.
I can’t believe how tall this lettuce is getting. At this point, it’s become daily entertainment for me to see how much taller it can possibly get before it topples over or whatever. And I love the way that purpley pink color just keeps getting more and more intense on the heads of ornamental kale that I have scattered around.
As you can see in the photo below, the buttercrunch lettuce is also starting to go to seed, a process I find fascinating to watch on a day to day basis. I may try to collect some of the seeds to plant next fall if I can find out how one does that.
While the lettuce is sprouting, most of my perennials are sleeping, and I think that some of them look really lovely in their repose, like this coneflower-slash-echinacea plant with ice crystals on it. I find myself lingering in the garden for an extra few minutes every morning when I head out the door to leave for work to look at the way the overnight frost looks on everything.
This is a beautiful owl bell that my wonderful friend Erika sent me recently. It’s now hanging in my little weeping Japanese maple, and it makes a beautiful sound when the winter wind blows through the garden this month.
Some of the bulbs I planted in the fall seem to be a little confused about what month it is, and they are already poking their heads up to look around and see what’s going on. I think this one is a Narcissus. Not sure though, since I didn’t label them as I planted them.
I am pretty sure this one is a tulip.
This one I know for sure is Astilbe. I am VERY excited about seeing the Astilbe happen in my garden in 2013. I hope I am able to keep it alive since I’ve never tried to grow it before.
I put in several new kinds of groundcover that I picked up on sale in late October, and this tricolor sedum is one of them. It obviously won’t really grow and expand until spring, but the colors are absolutely gorgeous on even the small bit of it that I have in the garden at this point.
If you look closely at the sedum above, you will see some little grassy looking things poking up through it, and that’s the one “issue” I am dealing with in my garden this month. This stuff is popping up like crazy in every single spot it can find. This is what it looks like.
I’ve been spending way too much time ripping this weed up in recent weeks, but as quickly as I do, it pops up somewhere else, whack-a-mole style. But what is it? I have no idea. Do any of you? My friend and fellow neighborhood gardener Stephenie thinks it may be the little white flowers that bloom like a carpet in local gardens very early in the spring, and then disappear in May. If that’s the case, maybe I shouldn’t rip it all out. I’m stumped. I welcome any and all thoughts on what this annoyingly invasive wintertime weed could be. Thoughts? Ideas?
So how about y’all? Do you enjoy your gardens in the winter or do you tend to mostly forget about them until spring comes ’round again? If you do spend time in your wintertime garden, what are you working on or looking at or just enjoying? I’d love to hear.