A view up to house, looking very open in the wintertime. The tall fuzzy streaks in the foreground are the seedheads of sugarcane plumegrass. In the foreground mulched with some hay are some young climbing roses, purchased from Ashdown Roses for $5.95 apiece in August when they closed their retail operation: 'Perennial Blue', Rosa moschata, 'Rambling Rector', 'Crepuscule' and 'Souvenir de Madame Leonie Viennot'. Just to the left is a 9-year-old 'Mermaid' that is now 24 feet across; a passalong that is supposed to be 'Seven Sisters'; 'Sombreuil'; and a unknown monster white-flowered climber that I propagated from cuttings a few years back and is now throwing out 15 foot canes.
The roses on the fence are to the left in this picture taken in May. The pink roses are the R. palustris scandens sold by Antique Roses Emporium. They are not a species rose but an unknown hybrid.
Anything that blooms this time of year is going to be one of my favorite things. This witch hazel wins the prize for holding onto all of its leaves. Once I had the fleeting impulse to strip the branches (look how many leaves!), which even more fleetingly dissolved with the realization that the flowers would probably end up coming off too.
Oh well. You can't have everything in this world or in one little tree, which I started from the seed of a Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena' 4 or 5 years ago. I was surprised that I even got anything from the seeds, and am actually quite pleased with the result. Yes, it hangs onto its leaves and the flowers are the more common yellow color (which I happen to like), but they are deliciously fragrant, much more so than 'Jelena'. Like all witch hazels it's very handsome in its summer garb and has a presence, and the fall color was beautiful this year.
Here is another tree grown from seed, a 7-year-old Japanese flowering apricot. I really love this tree. All Prunus mume have a good fragrance but this one is especially wonderful. I've noticed that with some cultivars of P. mume, the fragrance can go a little off as the flower ages. Not so with this one -- the fragrance is as sweet and delightful when the flower is faded as when it first opened, no matter the weather.
I ended up with 5 P. mume from seed in all: this one near the mailbox, another at the north end of the big perennial bed that has smaller dark cherry pink flowers, and 3 that are in my MIL's yard. Two of hers are a very similar dark cherry pink while another has large semi-double flowers that are such a pale pink they are nearly white. The dark cherry pink flowers do not fade with sharp freezes. I have Elizabeth Lawrence to thank for knowledge of this tree. Not only does she mention it in A Southern Garden, but there are also several specimens in the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh. She was a graduate of the Landscape Architecture program at NCSU and JC Raulston fell in love with the tree after reading her writings and seeking it out.
The flowers just beginning to open. Depending on the weather, the flowers will open all at once, or they will open one by one by one and occur in waves. The former occurrence is more spectacular but the latter can mean flowers over several weeks.
This is the multi-stemmed American holly that fell over in Floyd and since rallied. For several years I tried to propagate this holly from cuttings. Unfortunately I got nothing. And hollies are supposed to be easy!
It's time again to whack back the trumpet vine at the foot of the tree. The first time we tackled it DH had to use a chainsaw.
Look at all those berries. Perhaps one day I'll succeed in growing one or two from cuttings and I'll have a single trunk-perfect Christmas tree version again. I wonder how this one compares to 'Old Heavy Berry'.
The dog fennel seedheads are still beautiful, especially in the golden afternoon light. Late afternoon has always been my favorite time of day, no matter what time of year. I love the quality of the light.
The late afternoon sun really lights up the colorful leaves of this R. rugosa rubra. They've never held on this long before.
My favorite thing of all this week might be a hot cup of coffee. Raw, damp and cloudy today, sun but 35 degree temps and blustery winds tomorrow. Either way that's hot coffee or tea weather.
Happy New Year everyone!