Sort of Winter…

I passed a neighbor’s yard on my lunchtime walk, and noticed that the Lenten roses were erupting in flower stalks. I knew I had to check my witch hazel.

Witch hazel. Photographed on January 15, 2020.

It’s blooming. Those are not the only flowers, either. At least a quarter of the buds are open. Those little petals roll up like blow ticklers when the temperature drops below freezing; a cold front is breezing in right now.

This is certainly a little early. Earliest? I am not sure. I will have to check.

Interregnum: December, the Fall Into Winter

After 11 inches of snow on November 11, things got quiet weather-wise. Winter did not quite settle in. We got less than two inches of snow in December, and just a dusting on Monday—not enough to stick to the sidewalks. So what happens in the pause, the interregnum, between fall and winter? Continue reading “Interregnum: December, the Fall Into Winter”

White Pine

I was visiting a client last week and noticed that her white pine, Pinus strobus, was dropping cones. I asked if I could have one—they smell wonderful—and took it back to my office and put it on my desk. Late in the week I noticed  a bunch of little winged seeds scattered under it. The cone looked a little fluffed up—like a chilly bird–it had dried out, the scales had popped open, and the seeds had dropped.

The pinecone still has a few seeds to shed; they are lodged within their scales towards the base of the cone, in the upper lefthand corner.
A white pine cone with seeds it has shed behind it and to the right. If you look carefully at the scales near the base, some seeds are still nestled within. Photographed on March 6, 2019.

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Meditations on Ice, Part 1

I realized as I went through my February photographs that not only am I a little behind on this blog, but February was a pretty icy month. At least it was pretty ice. Since very little else is happening in the garden, I decided to look at ice patterns.

At the beginning of the month, my car acquired winter camouflage, which melted away very quickly.

This freezing rain was wet enough to blob into the patterns you would find in a camouflage hunting outfit, but in white on white.
Warm freezing rain formed very interesting camouflage for my car. Photographed on February 6, 2019.

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The Answer Is February 3

What was the question? When will the witch hazel bloom?

Closeup of three witch hazel flower clusters with unfurling petals.
Witch hazel in bloom. Photographed on February 3, 2019.

Last week, snowstorms and windchill warnings; this week it has reached 50°F twice. Icy rain will follow later in the week, which could make commuting far too exciting.

…And When Do Those Flowers Fade?

April 11, 2019. At this point, they are pretty well gone. Two weeks ago, they started crinkling up as it got warmer, but the scent was amazing  into the first week of April.

Fading witch hazel flowers. Photographed on March 23, 2019.

That’s the end of the winter flowers. Spring is here.

Feathered Seeds

Autumn clematis is completely charming, even in the winter. It’s the seeds. Of course, the seeds can also be a big problem.

Autumn clematis seed clusters in situ.
Autumn clematis seeds have fluffy, plumed tails. Photographed December 5, 2018.

I suspect that the feathers are there to help the seed travel a little further from its parent, but I have never seen seedlings from it.

Unfortunately, autumn clematis is listed as invasive. Be very careful with this plant. I think the reason for its good behavior in my yard is the relatively terrible spot it occupies—dry shade under a silver maple. If that’s not enough, it is underplanted with, among other things, Yugoslavian geranium, Carex pensylvanica, grape hyacinths, asters, Tulipa tarda, and bluebells. And did I mention that I do not water this particular bed, ever?

Poison ivy and garlic mustard encroach and get pulled regularly from the rental behind the fence, so I would say that at least in dry shade in this area autumn clematis is not as thuggish as poison ivy and garlic mustard—and Japanese honeysuckle!

Winter Seems to be Winding Down

I stepped out this morning just to see daylight, and found that there was only one small patch of snow left in my yard. We had quite a pile after the last set of snowstorms, especially in the spot where the driveway snow and the sidewalk snow were piled together.

Photograph of late winter flowerbed edge showing a very small remnant of snow
Is this the last of this winter’s snow? Photographed on February 25, 2018.

Continue reading “Winter Seems to be Winding Down”