Thursday, January 29, 2015

Wildflower Wednesday ~ A Visit to the Coker Arboretum

Last year in mid-April we took a day trip to Chapel Hill. Here is some of what we saw blooming in Coker Arboretum on the UNC campus:

Fernleaf phacelia

Eastern bluestar

Yellow trillium

Phacelia with foamflower and trillium

Florida azalea 'Admiral Semmes'

Florida azaleas range from yellow/orange to red,
according to Michael Dirr, although most are orange.

Fothergilla and Florida azaleas


Piedmont or pinterflower azaleas


Woodland phlox and Eastern columbine

Today I am joining Gail at clay and limestone for Wildflower Wednesday.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Rain, strawberry leaves and roses

I keep expecting Noah's ark to float by, and I'm only half kidding when I say that.

The neighbor's pond always overflows after a heavy rain, but there isn't usually water standing in the fields beyond the neighbor's pasture as well.

Today water poured off the neighbor's pasture in streams

and there was water standing in the back yard.

As expected, the Prunus mume flowers and half open buds got zapped by last week's cold. I can't tell yet if the rest of the buds are OK. The witch hazel came through with flying colors. On Friday I thought the shriveled flowers were dead, but then they unfurled and look just as they did before the deep freeze.

Before the cold the strawberries and roses were still full of color.


In May

'Sir Thomas Lipton'

'Basyes Blueberry'

Carolina rose

with Carolina bush pea and rugosas.

Swamp rose (sold as Rosa palustris scandens by Antique Roses Emporium)

Prairie rose (Rosa setigera)

In June

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Like much of the country, it's cold here tonight. Lows are expected to drop to 13 with a wind chill of zero. The horses are blanketed and I brought in about 2 dozen potted plants and set them down on plastic spread on the living room floor. Cuttings and azaleas and a Vitex tree, things that were not ready to go into the ground this fall.

The Japanese apricot is about a third of the way open. Those flowers will be lost and this cold will be a test even for the buds. I would think this cold would cut short the witch hazel which has been in full bloom for about a week.

How cold is it where you are?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Winter in the garden

It's wet here. Very, very wet. Picture this kind of wet. No face plants in the mud yet, but it could happen.

So, there's been a lot of gray dreary days. Every sunny day in winter is something else entirely. The sunlight changes everything ordinary into something beautiful. All of the bare branches, twigs and stalks are transformed into shimmering patterns of light and shadow. The complexity is really difficult to capture in a photograph. Most of the time I end up with what looks like a picture of a bunch of dead twigs.

Japanese beautyberries in the back yard

Swamp sunflower stalks, rose 'Sir Thomas Lipton', rugosa alba, and beautyberries.

The spillover from the neighbor's pond into their horse pasture.

Crape myrtle and Bidens stalks
Sometimes a little of the beauty comes through though. Just when I thought the autumn show was done a few very colorful leaves remain.

Oakleaf hydrangea 'Dayspring'

The Piedmont azaleas usually have some color but they outdid themselves this year.

They even reminded me of the fothergilla that I planted next to the house this fall.

A new small Fothergilla 'Mount Airy'

Although the weather has been mild in terms of freezing, rainy days in the 40's make the cats want to stay inside. On a heating pad, of course.

Tommy goes outside more than Prissy does -- typically when I am outside -- but he's been spending a lot of time inside on the couch as well.

We still haven't ordered a second apple tree to replace the one we lost, so in the interest of research I ordered 10 varieties of apples from Tree-Mendous Fruit in Michigan. Next year I need to order the apples earlier. The taste was still there but my number one criterion for an apple is crispness and these were a little soft. Also, Tree-mendous was out of some of the apples that I wanted to try, such as 'Gravenstein'.

The hydrangea and azalea leaves aren't the only leaves left. Several roses still have leaves that turned very late. Below is a mystery China/Gallica cross nicknamed Delia's Purple.

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