Tuesday, December 18, 2018


"How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December’s bareness every where!
And yet this time remov’d was summer’s time;
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,
Like widow’d wombs after their lords’ decease:
Yet this abundant issue seem’d to me
But hope of orphans and unfather’d fruit;
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And, thou away, the very birds are mute:
Or, if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer,
That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near."
- William Shakespeare, How Like a Winter Hath my Absence Been (Sonnet 97)

Old Man Winter paid a rare visit to North Carolina last week and we were snowbound for most of it -a heavy wet 8 to 12 inch snow followed by below freezing temperatures at night and warmer daytime ones that created a freeze/melting mess.

The week previous to that I selected and planted 6 varieties of Camellias, both Japonica and Sasanqua . For extra protection I sprayed them with a waxy coating of Wilt-pruf and laid on a thick mulch.  I re-cycled a cedar felled by the heavy snow and added the cut-up branches around the base of the camellias to protect them from any future storms

Camellia japonica 'Korean Snow '  is a rare cultivar , the only white one in that cold penisula and one of the hardiest  .  I was fortunate to find it at the nearby Camellia Forest nursery . 

I've always been fond of evergreens-both conifers and broadleaf as they provide a great structure for the garden in general .   Even more so since I can enjoy them more in the mild winters here.  I have 20-plus evergreens so far and want to add even more : magnolia, osmanthus,  camellias , hollies, nandinas, hellebores, rhododendrons, azaleas, sedges, ajuga, prague viburnum, oregon holly, cedars, autumn ferns, sweet flag, lady banks rose,  anise, yucca, japanese cypress, pines, all splendid in their winter green.  It's wonderful to have a winter green garden.  Soon color will be added by the prunus mume, (Japanese apricot tree  ) that blooms here in January/February, Camellia japonica and of course the lovely hellebores. 

 'Peggy Clarke ' prunus mume one of the earliest blooming trees of winter here in the piedmont.

After a week of staying indoors with the snow storm today it was a balmy 60 degrees today and I found myself in the garden picking up debris , fallen tree limbs, and applying more deer repellent washed away by heavy rains.

I'm once again dreaming of Spring here in the deep of December.

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