Thursday, December 15, 2016

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up December 2016: Winter Garden Color!

December 2016 Garden
Well, the weather outside is frightful, but our gardens are still delightful. The winter crops we can sow...til it snows, til it snows, til it snows! December on Long Island has been bringing frigid temperatures in the 30's and 40's, which are more normal for this time of year, but the temperature for Bloom Day is in the 20's, with a chance of snow flurries showing in the forecast! I took this venture outside wearing three layers of clothing to keep warm and was delighted to see that there is still a lot going on in the December garden. Come along with me. Better bundle up!
Azalea Foliage December
As an avid gardener and designer, and now very determined photographer, I am constantly inspired by the beauty of the garden, no matter what the time of year. I have come to appreciate that there is always something amazing lurking around the corner and when there are no blooms, it is important to look deeper. As Albert Camus once said"In the depths of winter I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."
Nandina domestica Berries & Foliage
Speaking of finding the inner beauty of the garden in winter, one of my favorite plants for this time of year is Nandina. Its evergreen foliage turns to hues of pink and yellow in the colder temperatures, while bright red berries form and grow more intense as the winter progresses. 
Young's Weeping Birch Bark
Even the bark of some trees can provide winter interest. The beautiful white bark of birch trees becomes more noticeable as the foliage disappears.
Blue Globe Montgomery Spruce
Montgomery Globe Spruce continues to shine with its bright blue foliage, that is even more prominent in winter...
Coral Bells & Sedge
and evergreen perennials highlight the garden with their contrasting colors. This is a combination of Caramel Coral Bells with Japanese Golden Sedge.
Nandina domestica Berries
Here is Nandina once again but with a closer view...and Hellebores, as they set their buds for winter bloom.
Hellebore 'Shooting Star'
  I added these Hellebore 'Shooting Star' to the garden two winters ago and get so much enjoyment from them. The foliage stays evergreen all year long and large creamy white blooms with pink highlights start in late December and continue through early spring.
Spirea Foliage December
Even though the cold has set in, the fall season has been warmer in the past couple of years, resulting in continuing foliage on these spirea through December.  This is the foliage of Spirea 'Lemon Princess' still holding on with its deep orange hue.
Frosty Heuchera
Here we see frost on Coral Bells as the temperatures plummet...
Nellie Stevens Holly Berries
and Nellie Steven's Holly forms its berries for winter.
Sedum 'Brilliant' Seed Head
Sedum 'Brilliant' extends the season with its interesting seed heads, which are also looking a little frosty right now. I try to leave these in the garden for as long as possible, for they add interest, plus the birds enjoy the seeds.
'Yaku Jima' Grass December
Here is Dwarf Maiden Grass.  Its plumes glow in the sunlight in the December garden.
Skyland's Spruce and Coral Bark Maple December
Over the years the number of evergreens in my garden has grown, as well as plants that provide winter interest. This Golden 'Skyland's Oriental Spruce was planted in 2008 as a memorial tree for my mom and has grown into a magnificent specimen. The Coral Bark Maple behind it is starting to show its reddening winter bark.
Rainbow Leucothoe December
Leucothoe also adds nice interest to the winter garden with its multi-colored foliage...
Japanese Golden Sedge December
while golden sedge continues to add color and whimsy to the garden with its spiky evergreen foliage.
Weeping White Pine
Here is Weeping White Pine with its cascading branches...
Weeping White Pine Cone
and large pine cones that form at this time of year.
Weeping Norway Spruce
I rescued this Weeping Norway Spruce from a client years ago whom no longer wanted it.  It was thin and pretty much left for dead, but I took it on and gave it lots of tender loving care. This is the tree today after years of believing in it. It is thriving and has become one of my favorites in the back garden!
Weeping Pussy Willow Catkin December
It's mid December and this is a rare sight for right now. The Weeping Pussy Willow usually sets its buds at this time of year, but it is not usual for the catkins to be popping. 
Knock Out Rose December!
While catkins are fooled by a milder fall until now, reminders of summer still linger as Knock Out Roses continue to bloom...
Rhododendron Buds December
and signs of future spring are present as Rhododendrons set their buds.
Winter Visitors
There have been many more bird visitors since the cold set in, as they enjoy their favorite seed...
December Trying to Keep Warm
and seek shelter in the trees away from the chilling winds.
In A Vase on Monday (Spreading Yew, Gold Lace Juniper, Dwarf Maiden Grass plumes, Rosy Glow Barberry, Sedum seed heads and Knock Out Rose buds)
Some of the garden is brought inside to enjoy...
Winter Bear!
 and new Winter Bear watches over the garden, as Adirondack Bear hibernates away for the winter months.
December Garden 2016
  I hope you enjoyed your stroll through my December garden. Special thanks go out to our hostesses Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who makes it possible to see blooms on the 15th of every month with her meme Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Pam at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-Up.  I am also linking with some other wonderful hosts and hostesses at Today's FlowersFloral FridaysMacro Monday 2, and Nature Notes at Rambling Woods. Also check out What's Blooming This Week Garden UpdateIn a Vase on Monday at Rambling in the Garden, Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day and Saturday's Critters.

Planning your garden for next spring, looking for some winter reading or perhaps a gift for the gardener in you life?  Check out my book, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening: Journeys of a Garden Designer (Gardening in Zones 3-9). It covers a wide range of information on garden design, tips, maintenance and more! If you have read my book and found it to be helpful, please consider leaving a short review on Amazon. Reviews are vital in getting a book noticed and your help would be very much appreciated! Click on the photo or links for details!

As Always...Happy Gardening and Happy Holidays!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2016. All rights reserved

Monday, December 5, 2016

This Month's Color in the Garden: December 2016-The Power of Red in the Landscape

The Power of Red in the Garden Clockwise Left to Right: Dahlia, Landscape Architectural Element, Dahlia, Winterberry and Knock Out Rose (center)
In landscape design and architecture, the color red tends to dominate when compared to other colors. Red tends to make a strong, dramatic statement and creates an illusion of boldness and depth. Red can be used to brighten a space in all seasons, including winter, with the incorporation of architectural elements or perhaps some berry producing shrubs in the garden against a white snowy background. Red foliage creates striking contrast in spring throughout fall, and red flowers, especially tubular-shaped ones, are an attraction to hummingbirds and other pollinators. The color red will have a lot more impact in your garden when used sparingly, and is nicely complemented by the the color green, which is considered neutral.

Nandina domestica berries
Examples of red blooms in the landscape include Red Knock Out Rose, Tulips, Peony, Zinnia, Dahlia and Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower). Red berry producing plants include Nandina domestica, Winterberry, Holly, Skimmia and some varieties of viburnum. Plants exhibiting red or maroon foliage include Heuchera ‘Palace Purple' (Coral Bells), Weigela Spilled Wine, and annuals such as Coleus, Impatiens and Begonia. The most prominent red in the garden that keeps coming to mind is that of the traditional red rose.

Red Knock Out Rose 'Radrazz'
Roses have been grown throughout civilization and are a timeless tradition, speaking the language of love, beauty, courage and respect. Historical evidence shows they were grown in China about 5,000 years ago, and have carried their special meaning ever since. A deep red rose can be used to convey heartfelt regret and sorrow. or twelve red roses conveys "Be mine" and "I love you. The red rose began its history during Greek and Roman times, where it was tied to Aphrodite, or Venus, the mythical goddess of love, who was often seen with roses around her head and covering her feet and neck. The red rose throughout time has symbolized an immortal love that could never fade, even through time or death. In early Christianity, the rose became associated with the virtue of Virgin Mary and in the Tarot it has been considered a symbol of balance, promise, new beginnings, and hope. In Shakespeare's writings, roses had become a poetic standard throughout his works. Throughout its history, the red rose continues to hold its status as the ultimate symbol of affection. Other flowers and their meanings include red Amaryllis, a statement of splendid beauty and pride, red aster which symbolizes patience, Anthurium symbolizing happiness and hospitality and poinsettia symbolizing good cheer and success. 

Architectural Elements Old Westbury Mansion Long Island
In landscape architecture the color red is often used to draw attention or create a focal point, as in the use of red brick for walkways, labyrinths, benches or perhaps some red Adirondack chairs to highlight a sitting area. Estate gardens are known for their mass plantings of red tulips, dahlias and rose covered arbors. In color theory, red tends to make a space look smaller and can be used to make a large space seem more intimate. Red brick also brings to mind thoughts of mansions from colonial time, and can be implemented in modern day to create an old world feel. 
Clockwise Left to Right: Red Knock Out Rose, Dahlia, Tulips, Nandina 'domestica', Amaryllis (center)
Do you have any design or architectural elements in your space that are red and if you do, when and where are they most prominent? I invite you to share whatever shades of red you have going on in your garden in the comments below, whether it be in the form of plants or otherwise. I hope you enjoyed "This Month's Color in the Garden". I'm already thinking about next month's theme, which is the color white! Next up is Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up on the 15th. and Color Our World Round Up on the 30th. 
For more on Garden Design-My Books on Amazon:

A Guide to Northeastern Gardening
Landscape Design Combinations

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.