On a recent visit to Columbia South Carolina I was able to hook up with my good friend and fellow blogger for a visit to the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens. Her husband, the Saint, also joined us for a day of visiting some neat animals and even neater plants. A word about my friend, Skeeter, before we go further. I don't think I mention to her enough how much I enjoy blogging because she is an partner on this blog who really helps to motivate me. We have worked so darn well together for more than five years now with no end in sight. That says a lot! Many blogs that have more than one partner are commercial or professional blogs. This blog is neither. Skeeter and I simply enjoy sharing our little pieces of garden heaven (at least to us) and we do our sharing together so well that we complement each other and always have. Many of you don't know she and I met through this blog and over the years the friendship has developed to the point we know each other pretty well. I have to say she is a very special friend whom I enjoy spending time with, talking with, blogging with, and not the least, touring gardens with! Thank you Skeeter!!
Okay, on to the gardens. I consider the camellia the quintessential winter plant. Many think of hellebores as the quintessential winter plant; mainly because they bloom at the end of the winter IMHO. No other plant (that I am aware of) will be blooming at both the beginning AND the end of the winter besides the camellia-for me that makes it THE quintessential winter plant. Camelias were in bloom everywhere we looked at Riverbanks. There were some awesome camellia blooms such as the white one pictured above.
The holiday spirit was in its full effect as well. This welcoming wreath with its red bow greeted visitors to the garden.
Fall and winter plants such as kale, pansies, and chard livened up the garden beds.
I am not sure what kind of palms these were but I think they are in the windmill family of palms. I love love love both palms and yuccas for their architectural qualities. They really bring so much to the winter garden that no garden should be without one or the other. And believe it or not palms can be quite hardy. I grow one here in my Zone 7A garden.
More winter color.
Paperbush, aka Edgeworthia chrysantha was a big presence at Riverbanks. The little white buds hang off from the bare cinnamon colored branches like Christmas ornaments. They are absolutely delightful! When they bloom the yellow and white bloom perfumes the air around it and really livens up the winter garden. Here, the curators of Riverbanks have used Paperbush in the large blue containers.
Finally, my traveling companion sans the Saint (he was close by I am sure)....
in the garden....