This Week in the Garden – December 7

The garden is getting closer to dormancy for the winter. Nearly all the leaves have fallen now, and some of the evergreens have put on their fall coats. The perennial plants have died back, leaving dried stalks and seed heads. I’ve cleaned up the garden as much as I am going to before early Spring, and the leaves that have fallen will stay where they lay.

Lots of Leaves

Lots of Leaves

The Annabelle Hydrangea retains its dried flowers. Billowy blooms on slippery stalks.

Dried Hydrangea

Dried Annabelle Hydrangea

The purple coneflowers left spiky seed heads that will provide food over the winter.

Purple Coneflower Seedhead

Purple Coneflower Seedhead

The tiny flowers on the sedum have died back leaving delicate dried buds.

Dried Sedum

Dried Sedum

The ornamental grasses have mostly dried out as well. The Hakonechloas’ golden glow brightens up the Hosta Stairs, now that the Hostas have all gone.

Dried Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola’)

Dried Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’)

Now that the leaves have died away, the curly branches of Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick, or Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ steal the show.

Harry Lauders Walking Stick

Harry Lauders Walking Stick

I was surprised by one small Japanese Maple (on the Hosta Stairs), the leaves never really changed color. Here you can see a few left on the branch, still green.

Japanese Maple Tree Detail

Japanese Maple Tree Detail

And here’s another look at the pink buds.

Japanese Maple Tree Buds

Japanese Maple Tree Buds

I’m happy to report that the Heuchera is still alive, and is still sporting a pretty little color.

Heuchera 'Fire Chief'

Heuchera ‘Fire Chief’

As some of the azaleas have turned slightly, this Camilia jumped out at me. I am not sure I noticed it hiding back there before, nestled between azaleas. It’s still rather small, and I’m not sure it will have more than a few blooms on it in the Spring.

Surprise Camilia

Surprise Camilia

And just because I found it beautiful and fascinating, a detail shot of the dried bloom from an azalea.

Azalea winter pod

Azalea winter pod

One of my garden chores this fall was to replant the small mums I bought, in the hopes that they will come back next year. The others have all pretty much died down for the winter, but this little white one just produced another bloom today.

The Mum is Still Alive

The Mum is Still Alive

I missed the Stinking Hellebore blooming last year, so I’ll be keeping a closer eye on it.

Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus)

Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus)

A detail of the buds just starting to emerge- which should unfurl more leaves and flowers in early Spring.

Stinking Hellebore fall growth

Stinking Hellebore fall growth

Some of the other evergreen plants are also setting up growth for next year, including the Camilias.

Camilia Buds Setting

Camilia Buds Setting

The nandina out front is covered in berries. Next spring I plan on cutting it way back to give the azaleas some more room behind them.

Nandina in Front Dec 2014

Nandina in Front Dec 2014

I have seen several small Holly bushes (or trees) starting up all over, but this more established plant is the only one I’ve seen covered in berries. I’m not sure exactly what variety it is, as I’ve read that Hollies can exhibit up to 5 or 6 different leaf patterns on a single plant. Most of the leaves on this Holly appear to have smooth edges and only one prickly point at the very tip.

Holly with Berries

Holly with Berries

“The beauty of the natural world lies in the details.”
— Natalie Angier

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