Monday, December 28, 2009

A Sunny December Morning

Here are some pictures that include something that has been in short supply lately -- sunlight. The wonderful thing about winter sunlight is that it is cherished when it appears; one can bask in it, rather than sheltering from it as is often necessary in summertime. Also pictured are "sugar frosted" rose leaves and a landscape that looks like it has been glazed with a thin layer of pewter.

Still a few blueberry leaves hanging on! They look like natural Christmas ornaments.

Swamp cyrilla, always the last tree to lose its colorful leaves.

Standing at the old house site, looking across the big perennial bed to the neighbor's pasture.

Teddy bear paws (Scirpus cyperinus), a member of the sedge family

The winter landscape has its own unique brand of beauty.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Blooming Friday ~ Slim Pickins

Most of the leaves have been stripped from the trees and shrubs so the world is a painting of russets,
taupes, russets and browns, lately overlaid by a burdened gray sky. Of course there is still green,
too: loblolly pines and wax myrtles feature largely here, but even they take on olive tones in winter.
Just a few bright spots of color remain. It was such a relief to see the sun again for the last two days!

The Encore azaleas may be nearly done for the year, but it is the middle of
December after all. The leaves take on a deep plummy color in cold weather.

The rugosas turned a lovely yellow in late November.

They have hips in a festive shade of red

that look especially wonderful with a sprinkled sugar coating of frost.

Many of the leaves were browned by a recent freeze, but Basye's Purple, a Rosa foliolosa/ rugosa hybrid,
is still sporting green and burgundy red leaves, a color palette appropriate to the season. There's even a
few flower buds but they will likely be zapped before they can open.

The vibrant wine-red foliage of Rosa arkansana has been a pleasant surprise; before I grew the
prairie roses (R. arkansana and setigera), I did not know that they had colorful fall leaves.

The oak-leaved hydrangea, always very very late to turn, is
an even darker shade of burgundy, with a few bright red leaves.

A couple of the highbush blueberries are hanging determinedly onto their leaves.

The goldenrod seedheads are still beautiful on those rare days lately when the sun has made an appearance.

I put in a few pansies this year, in a sunny spot. They always bounce
back from frosts. I have read that they are hardy to zero degrees.

This is an American holly that has always impressed with its heavy fruit set. It didn't bear much this year -- many years it has twice as many berries as this -- but as you can see it still has a lot of fruit. It used to be a beautiful single truck tree that looked just like anyone's ideal of a holly tree. It went down in Hurricane Floyd when part of the ditch bank it's on gave way in the heavy rain, and has since sprouted numerous leaders.

A resident mockingbird has claimed the tree as his or her own, but will forced to share it in February or March when the robins and cedar waxwings descend on it.

For more Blooming Friday posts, visit Katarina at roses and stuff.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Butterflies and Aster 'Miss Bessie'

There were butterflies and diurnal moths galore on 'Miss Bessie' when she was at her peak in early November.

Ailanthus webworm moth and skipper

Virginia ctenuchid moth

Common checkered skipper

Pearly crescent

Variegated Fritillary

One of the last Monarchs to pass through.


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