Winter

A blanket of snow covers the gardens now, bird baths turned into ice, evergreen boughs are frosted white; winter is here. Even in winter the garden is beautiful. Annabelle and Limelight hydrangea, coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, Joe-Pye weed, sedum, asters, and grasses are all standing in my garden now providing food for the birds. I love the simplicity of dried seed heads covered with snow. I haven’t seen any visitors yet, but I added a bird bath in the boxwood garden that can be plugged in to keep the water from freezing.

In winter the garden rests and so do I; no more gardening chores. I catch up on reading. I reread my gardening journal from past months. It’s like a diary and contains names of plants I liked that I want to repeat in vases or containers, I have notes on projects that we’ve completed such as: creating a vegetable garden using raised beds and on projects I’d like to do. I also read gardening books and keep notes from the books in my journal on important information such as: when and how to cut back certain plants and attractive plant combinations I want to remember, there’s also a section in the back of my journal that lists my garden resources.

Last winter one of the books I read was: Suzy Bales’ Down-to-earth Gardener. Suzy’s rules for gardening made me smile: “When in doubt, sow alyssum. If you don’t know it, don’t pull it. Wise gardeners plant common flowers.” In spring I have to remember to be patient. Many plants reseed themselves, sometimes transported from one garden to another by birds or animals; sometimes I pull out green shoots then later discover they were potential flowers.

Two new gardening books I will read this winter are: The Pruning Book by Lee Reich which contains color photos and detailed drawings of how to prune trees, bushes, vines and plants and The Layered Garden by David L. Culp. David’s book has beautiful photographs of his Brandywine Cottage garden, in all seasons, showing us how to weave different plants and have layers of interest every month of the year.

A Garden of One’s Own by Elsa Bakalar is a book I treasure; it is one of the books I use as a reference. Years ago I was lucky enough to meet Elsa and visit her gardens. I went with my garden mentor, Janie. One thing I learned from Elsa was how important compost is when planting. Every spring I put a few shovels of compost mixed with organic fertilizer around each plant; and I add compost to the bottom of every planting hole before I add the plant. Elsa Bakalar was born in England, taught school in New York City and later lived in Massachusetts. I have fond memories of meeting Elsa and seeing her garden; she was a master gardener and her artistic gardens were charming.

Today winter snow is shimmering under a robin’s egg blue sky, but winter in Connecticut can be long and snowy; flowers and candles warm even the coldest day. xxoo

Click on image to enlarge.

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  14 comments for “Winter

  1. January 10, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Love the pictures!

    Like

  2. joenesgarden
    January 10, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Ellen, winter is, indeed, a time for gardeners to recharge but it’s also a great time to plan for the upcoming season. This is one of my favorite gardening tasks each winter.

    Like

  3. January 10, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Beautiful winter dreams of spring to come 🙂

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    • January 11, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      Hi Seonaid,

      Yes, a spring of tiny purple irises and shell pink crocuses. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. January 11, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    I’m a big fan of compost too. Feed the soil, not the plant. We have giant oaks here and no neighbors so I can have a giant steaming pile of decomposing leaves and no one seems to mind. I, too, have learned the hard way to not get too enthusiastic when “weeding.” Lovely photos.

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    • January 11, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      Hi Barbara,
      You are lucky to have oak trees and no neighbors close by. We have a giant white oak tree too, that people say is over 100 years old, in our back yard. It gives us a constant supply of leaves. Thank-you for stopping by and commenting on my post. 🙂

      Like

  5. Amy
    January 12, 2015 at 3:55 am

    I adore the stillness of a winter garden and love to spend snowy afternoons paging through flower catalogs, taking note of new varieties I might like to try. I’m unfamiliar with Elsa Bakalar – A Garden of One’s Own is a title I’d like to look up. How marvelous and exciting that you had an opportunity to meet her and tour her gardens!

    Your home in a true garden oasis. Love your amaryllis blossoms! And your garden journal looks beautiful on the table with your Christmas cactus and other lovely succulents. A lovely post – thank you! xo

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    • January 12, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      Dear Amy,
      Thank-you for your sweet comments. 🙂 I also love being inside on winter days, looking out at the hushed landscape dreaming with my wish book catalogs. Meeting Elsa was a gift. I went with a group of ladies; we took our lunch and spent the day chatting with Elsa and walking with her through her beautiful gardens. xxoo

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amy
        January 12, 2015 at 3:26 pm

        It sounds simply divine, a lovely garden walk with a master gardener – such a pleasant thing to dream about as the snow flies! xox

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      • January 12, 2015 at 3:47 pm

        Yes, many fond memories. 🙂
        xxoo

        Liked by 1 person

  6. quite simply
    January 16, 2015 at 7:12 am

    I love winter and your images evoke what is truly beautiful about winter and sadly, what I tend to miss living on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Winter temps here are on average 24 deg celsius, hence no snowfall. Thank you for visiting my blig and may sunshine send sparkling lights across your fallen snow. 🙂

    Like

    • January 16, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      I understand what you mean when you say you miss some some parts of winter. When we lived in Arizona, I missed the beauty and variety of color the seasons provided. Thank-you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. Good luck to you on your travels. 🙂

      Like

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