It’s January, a new year with lots of possibilities ahead. My place of choice to contemplate this sort of thing is in my garden. So, I headed outside to get a close-up view of my winter garden. I was curious to see how the shade loving plants as well as those on the sunnier side had finished the past year. I’m sure the variety of plants will offer an opportunity to see current blooms as well as remnants of past blooms.
Butterfly Bush Fed Many Butterflies
The Butterfly Bush next to my aging garden bench rests after a busy season catering to many gorgeous butterflies. It apparently really likes this sunny edge of the garden as it has outgrown the space during the first season. In the next few weeks I’ll prune it back so new wood will grow and it will again produce lots of nectar-laden flowers.
Blueberry Bush With Spring Buds
Nearby, I checked out one of our blueberry bushes tucked into the sunny edge of the garden. Its well past its prime season and is already developing buds for the next one. I’ll give it a thoughtful pruning late winter. For now though, I’m looking forward to fresh summer blueberries right off the bush, perhaps quite a few while I’m simply passing by!
Cool And Warm Weather Herbs
Next, I pass my herbs in the garden and see bright green, healthy parsley that seems to enjoy the cooler temperatures. Close by, but well finished with their production for the season are tall, very dry Chives laden with seeds. Only a few months earlier, in August, you can see that the Chives were topped with beautiful tall white delicate flowers.
No Flowers On Yuletide Camellia!
Further into the garden where plants receive filtered sun, I see a source of frustration, my very special Yuletide Camellia. It was a Mother’s Day gift from my daughter three years ago, but to date, it has not produced one Yuletide bloom or any bloom for that matter. Last year I asked at the nursery it came from if that was normal to have no flowers after 2 years. I was told to “just give it more time.” So, now, after three years, I still have not even seen a bud, let alone a Camellia flower. It’s planted in good, well drained soil and it gets an appropriate amount of sun. So now I’m going to monitor the water and fertilize more purposely this year as well as have a soil test done. Reader input here is welcome! Leave me a comment if you’ve got advice as to how to get a Yuletide Camellia to bloom…and, thank you.
Solomon’s Seal Is A Woodland Garden Jewell
These two photos offer a special close-up view of my winter garden. Solomon’s Seal is a plant with a big personality. It has beautiful green leaves with a paint brushed white edge and cascading flowers that are not only abundant but have a delicate bell shape. However, in the fall they have this magical way of just disappearing! The above photo from New Year’s Eve is all that is left of these beautiful plants. Within the next few days, there will be no sign at all that they were ever there. But, they’ll be back in spring! It’s truly something to look forward to.
Money Plant Lives Two Lives
A curious looking plant that gets quite a bit of attention when I have visitors in my shade garden is the Money Plant, or Lunaria biennis. It’s a quick-change artist in that it completely looks different depending on the season. The photos above show the full bloom stage with its bright purple flowers hovering above heart-shaped leaves as well as the past season dry seedpod stage. Both are strikingly different from each other. They easily reseed themselves and are mostly carefree.
Oakleaf Hydrangea Adds Beauty All Year
The Oakleaf Hydrangea thrives in a woodland setting. It’s a beautiful plant all by itself then it gives you a gift of blossoming into huge, cream colored, delicate flowers! After blooming its heart out you’re left with a very long season of red, burgundy, yellow, and orange leaves that continue to make a late winter trip to the garden enjoyable. The two Oakleaf Hydrangea photos above represent a 7-month time span from flowering in late May to Dec. 31, 2018.
Snowflakes Are Perfect In A Woodland Garden
It’s very hard to pick a favorite flower, so I won’t, but Snowflakes are way up there! They are eager to be here! They bloom early spring so in December and January they are already working hard on that effort. As you can see, my walk uncovered new growth up to 2-3 inches tall. I love that even an impromptu walk in the garden offers hope and a sense that there’s much to look forward to this new year. Snowflake flowers are detailed, delicate, and beautiful. And, if you look closely I bet you won’t find one missing smudge on any of the pointed white blooms. Yes, there’s a tiny bit of green on every point of the delicate flowers. Nature does detail so well.
Best Plants For A Shade Garden
My walk continues and as I glance over a mix of shade perennials and woodland shrubs that are fading to brown. I notice that the Gardenias are thriving here in the woodland garden after being transplanted from our border garden where they received too much sun. The ferns also love this shade garden. I have them tucked into several areas, especially along the pathway. One of the showoffs of this late in the year walk is the Bear’s Breeches. It has large, shiny, green leaves that really stand out against the fall leaves.
One of the biggest reasons I can have these beautiful shade plants is our huge old oak tree that provides the shade that so many of the woodland garden plants require. When we noticed a lot of scrawny lower branches on the tree we had a professional tree service come and clean it up to keep the top of the tree as full and healthy as possible. This tree is an important shade tree so it’s worth it to take good care of it. Click here to see the post.
American Beautyberry Is Stunning
As I finish up the end of season look at my garden, I find myself around to the sunny side of the garden where the American Beautyberry shrub is at rest after a show stopping season of producing branches jammed full of Beautyberries! With its season finished it stands leafless but still laden with berries the birds will enjoy for weeks to come. This sun-loving plant is not only gorgeous but it’s so easy to grow and maintain. Only a few months ago the branches were loaded with purple and white berries and it was stunning.
Please feel free to comment on this post. I’d love to hear about your favorite shrubs and perennials. I wish you all a healthy and happy new year!