Hello all! We in Tennessee and actually a good part of the country are going through the 'Big Freeze' and while I sit here shivering I thought I'd share a few pictures from my garden.
I am a big, big proponent of year round gardening and put my money where my mouth is. In Tennessee there is no reason why we can't garden year round. Despite the 'Big Freeze' here now it will only last a few days. By the end of this week I'll be back at it on the farm and in my garden here. So get out and enjoy it! In the meantime here is what is happening in my garden right now. Firstly, and most importantly to me is my vernal witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis). Vernal means 'spring' or spring like according Dictionary.com. Here in my garden this witch hazel has always bloomed in January-a far cry from spring. But I'll take it.
This shrub has been here for 7.5 years and has slowly grown to form a good sized shrub that puts on a magnificent display each and every year without fail. I can't get enough of it! The small spidery blooms are sweetly scented and remind me of honeysuckle. The scent is never overpowering and is always welcomed this time of the year. This shrub is native and is drought tolerant. I have never had to add supplemental watering to it. Mine grows near a mature oak tree in a very dry, part sun garden. When it leafs out in the spring the leaves are very attractive and will stay attractive all season. Come fall they will turn yellow then slowly fall. I grow several witch hazels in my garden and can without hesitation say this is the absolutely best one!
More winter interest in my garden comes from spent hydrangeas blooms and straw colored grasses. Here we have 'Annabelle' blooms and in the background the clumps of grass are 'Adagio'. Adagio is an awesome clumping ornamental grass that grows well in part shade to sun conditions. It would appreciate a bit of moisture but is okay once established in very dry beds under mature trees. It is a smaller miscanthus that grows to about five feet tall with blooms. Its mature width is about 4-5'.
Close by the 'Annabelles' are several 'Limelight' hydrangeas. These babies are my most wonderful hydrangeas. Just look at all of those spent blooms providing interest all winter long. If you'd like to be reminded of how they looked this past summer just click here to read this article about these wonderful hydrangeas.
The birds need us greatly during these big freezes. I have been busy filling up the feeders on my back deck. These few feeders are hanging just outside of my kitchen sink window where I can enjoy the birds up close on a daily basis. It is important to feed a variety of foods to the birds if you wish to attract a great deal of birds. Here I feed primarily black oil sunflower seeds and suet. The suet is beloved by all birds and especially by woodpeckers. I always enjoy seeing the big red bellied woodpeckers visit these bird feeders.
Saturday morning I woke up to a ton of jet trails in the sky. Perhaps they are always there but I marveled at just how many and how clear they were this past weekend. As a child in Maine I would often lie on my back in the grass and watch the jets fly overhead. Here we can't do that because of all the ticks and chiggers but the memory is still fresh and clear in my mind.
The garden has lots of new life. These hellebore seedlings are patiently awaiting their new home at Tiger Way Gardens. I used to pull new seedlings immediately after I noticed them and place them in flats for planting out in the fall. I no longer do that because I found the new seedlings are more successful if left alone for one year in situ. These seedlings are now one year old and should succeed once transplanted. I love hellebores and one really good note, deer do not eat hellebores. The entry way to our farm will be covered with hellebores in a few years. This will provide interest and hopefully keep the weeds down so that I do not have to mow the area. Thank you to all of my friends who have kindly given me hellebores over the years. I especially want to thank Nancy for her wonderful donation of many large and mature hellebores that I recently planted at the farm. I was able to split most of them and got a great start on covering the area.
Lastly, a little color looking out front from my porch. Orkin has just eaten and is most content. She spends her time in a heated box on the porch but when it is sunny she'll make a rare appearance for us. The other two 'boys' spend their time in the garage bundled up together on a cat bed when not eating or hunting. They are lethal hunters and daily I find remnants of rodents they have killed in my garden. The bottle trees are free standing trees that support a good deal of bottles. These will move to the farm once the house is built.
Everyone stay bundled and warm....
in the garden....