Sunday, January 31, 2021


One positive thing that the dreadful pandemic that has so profoundly impacted our nation and the world, is a renewed interest in gardening.  Walking about my neighborhood I witnessed so many homeowners doing gardening projects and starting their own vegetable gardens.  As a landscape designer I was also  kept busy with consultations and installations.  

As Elizabeth Lawrence declared in her  A SOUTHERN GARDEN book, there are two months of winter here in central North Carolina -January and February and that even during those months there are many pleasant days to enjoy.  This winter has been mild with no appreciable amounts of snow, but ample rainfall.

My daffodils are already up this year and I've seen some older established ones in bloom in neighbor's gardens.   The blooms on my Prunus mume 'Peggy Clarke ' have formed but several below freezing nights have given them pause.  Edgeworthia, aka, Chinese paperbush is in full bloom and the blooms of the Chinese Snowball Viburnum still linger on the bush .  

Last Fall I edited my backyard boulder garden, removing shrubs that had overwhelmed their space and replacing them with lower-growing evergreens  and long-blooming perennials that give more structure to the garden.  

  A few of my long-blooming perennial  favorites -'purple knight ',  lambs ear, autumn sage, sedum, euphorbia, Japanese roof iris and perennial mums.

I'm pleased to say that my garden now has year round interest with something blooming or evergreen each month of the year.  My plan for this New Year is to plant more wildflowers in the roadside garden, replace a grapevine with an evergreen flowering one  ( Carolina Jessamine ? ) and start vegetables early from seed.  
I also need to work on my frontyard rose garden .  I have tried various cultivars but none have done that well despite planting them in a raised bed with recommended soil preparations.  The Camellias in that bed have done very well and I know there's enough sun for roses .  I have avoided planting the sensational 'Knockout ' roses that are so widely popular because I prefer something out of the ordinary.  Oh well, I haven't given up yet and will attempt once again this New Year with different varieties in my search to find the right one.  

Here's to hopes for a better, brighter New Year in which we defeat and put behind us the devastating  plague of last year.  I wish you good health and happiness.

Friday, January 8, 2021


 "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

Despite the bareness of December there is still joy to be found in the garden -the fat buds of the Chinese Paper Bush, the Camellias and the Hellebores.  The sedges are still green with life as are the hollies and the ferns.  

                         Edgeworthia chrysantha
                      A most welcome sight in the deep of                                     December

My boulder garden is still filled with textures from the Evergreens and other hardy perennials.

                        Lots of green in December.  The Autumn Sage still has blooms on it .

This last month of the year is time to reflect on the terrible pandemic that affected not only our country but the entire world.   My garden and art have kept me sane and occupied and I am grateful for my children living nearby.

I hope that the New year will bring peace and prosperity for everyone.

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