Show us Your Landscape - A photo thread - January 2012

pixie_louJanuary 1, 2012

This is a place to post photos, and to discuss, what is in your garden. This is the thread for January 2012.

For the Fall and Winter months, this thread should be used to post current photos of your gardens and landscape - not necessarily what is blooming. Photos of the foliage, berries, branches. We often talk about "visual interest" for winter. This is the place to show it off.

I would like to challenge all members of this forum to go outside and find something visually interesting in their landscape. Not only will we find a new appreciation for our winter landscapes, we will inspire others to add new things to their gardens.

To see all of the 2011 threads, please click on the

December 2011 link. The first post will have links to all previous months.

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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Early on, I planted a Miscanthus 'Morning Light' just outside my kitchen window so I could see the plumes at eye level in late fall and winter (The kitchen window is fairly high off the ground). Morning Light turned out not to be tall enough so I replaced it with a Miscanthus 'Gracillimus'.

Gracillimus is a good height and today the plumes were swaying in the breeze, lit up by the late afternoon sun.

This is the most plush looking of all my ornamental grasses. I'm tempted to go out and pet it.

The plumes look like a very soft yarn here, with many seeds visible. The song sparrows really like these seeds.

Claire

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 2:50PM
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gardenweed_z6a

Claire - OT: which tops'l schooner is that ornament in the top photo?

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 3:36PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Gardenweed: That's the Hudson River sloop Clearwater, from Pete Seeger's organization. I sometimes participated in their member sails when I lived in NYC, so this is a memory object for me. I bought it from their online shop.

Claire

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 4:32PM
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gardenweed_z6a

Thanks for the ID! It's beautiful. My own very similar memento is from the Schooner Nathaniel Bowditch out of Rockland, Maine (sorry, no photo). She was built in 1922 as a racing yacht and is now part of the windjammer fleet in Maine. I've sailed with her twice from Maine to Boston for the Tall Ships events + spent numerous vacations on board. Spied that in your picture and wondered if we'd sailed on the same one. How lucky you got to sail aboard the Clearwater!! I'm a lifelong avid Pete Seeger fan.

Sailing up!!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 6:57PM
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pixie_lou

Claire - those are gorgeous grasses!

I bought tiny Arbor Vitae seedlings from the MCD 4 years ago. The trees are about 4' tall now, and starting to fill out. Another 5 years or so until the provide privacy. I noticed little tiny pinecones on the arbor vitaes today.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 10:08PM
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pixie_lou

Here in Boston MetroWest we only received rain over the past 2 days. I don't know how much since I took my rain gauge in for the winter. But it was a lot. To think that this was the view out my window last year.

This year instead of looking at snow, I'm looking at my azalea buds!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 8:26AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Suddenly cones and buds become very interesting in this season (I don't want to think about last year's snow).

Icy cold is expected for the next few days - two nights bitterly cold and the day in between not much better. It occurred to me that some of the rhododendrons would be ,curling up their leaves for protection against the cold so I thought I'd take a few photos today before the curl-up. I didn't pay too much attention last year, and I have a few new rhododendrons, so I don't know if they all curl-up or just certain cultivars. I'll check tomorrow to see what happens.

Rh. Anah Kruschke (new this year)

Rh. Mary Fleming

Rh. Percy Wiseman (in his squirrel-proof cage)

Rh. roseum with Azalea Gumpo Pink at its feet

Claire

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 11:40AM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

I have a huge rhodie that I assume is Roseum Elegans (which needs pruning after bloom next spring) that has been here at my old farmhouse far longer than I have been. Since it lives by one of the kitchen windows, I use it to tell me the level of cold discomfort before I leave the house. I know from experience that if the leaves are curled, it will feel cold enough that I'll need a warm coat, hat and mittens before venturing out - no running out to the car in a light coat with my heavier coat (for walking to work later) in my hand.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 8:01PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

nhbabs: That's a great use of a shrub as a temperature indicator! I have to rely on an electronic sensor swaddled in a jar, hung from my wisteria. Your kitchen window view must be lovely when the rhodie is in bloom. My Roseum was just labeled as "Rhododendron Roseum" so I don't know which one it is.

This morning the temperature was 10F; not cold for you northern types but chilly here on the coast.

Rh. Anah Kruschke leaves were a little curled, but not fully.

Mary Fleming, on the other hand, took the cold very very seriously and clamped the leaves shut.

Percy Wiseman is somewhat curled up:

and Roseum is tightly curled.

Tuesday and Wednesday are forecast to be much warmer so I expect all of the leaves to open up again.

Claire

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 10:20AM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

My goodness what a range between the various rhodies. I only have the one rhodie at the house, but I will have to watch the ones down the road at the shop to see what they do in various temperatures. I know that they are all tightly rolled today as it is only a few degrees above 0.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 10:04AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Not to beat this to death, but I checked the rhododendrons again today (temp. about 40 F). Cold? What cold?

Rh. Anah Kruschke

Rh. Mary Fleming (along with foxglove and geranium leaves)

Rh. Percy Wiseman

and Rh. Roseum

I am impressed, even stunned, by the rhodies' rapid adaptation to temperature.

Claire

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 1:41PM
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pixie_lou

Claire - I'm quite impressed with your documentation efforts. I on the other hand would never run out into the cold just to see if my leaves were curled.

I'm hoping to see a spread sheet soon - different varieties of rhodies and the particular temperature on which their leaves turn. Do you think wind chill and humidity make a difference? What about moon phase? This should all be documented on the spreadsheet.

I'm kidding of course. But I do find the whole phenomonom fascinating and I actually enjoy seeing your photo documentation.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 3:23PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

pixie_lou: no way am I going to delve that deeply into the curly leaf phenomenon (spreadsheets? ...snort, snicker...) But I was very curious and I had to go outside anyway, to feed the birds, break the ice on the birdbaths, and get the mail, so I just hung the camera around my neck and shot photos along the way.

I also thought there might be some new gardeners who had just planted their first rhododendrons last season and who might panic when they saw the leaves suddenly curl up (oh no, did I screw up somehow? It's OK, rhodies just do that.)

There's a very nice article in the Arnold Arboretum magazine, titled "Why Do Rhododendron Leaves Curl?" by Erik Tallak Nilsen. For some reason I can't link directly to it (pdf) but It's the first hit if you google Why Do Rhododendron Leaves Curl? Apparently not just a straightforward response to cold, but also protection from bright sunlight in the cold and also prevention of too quick thawing of the leaf.

Claire

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 3:51PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Got snow today... and snow and snow and snow.... at least 6 inches now and the end is not nigh.

The sedums are covered with snow and look like toadstools (not like mushrooms so much, but more like the popular image of a toadstool with the pointy top).

I've already shoveled the driveway several times, on the theory that it's better to shovel 2 inches three times than to shovel 6 inches once. Tomorrow is going to be a major shrub shaking day to remove the snow, which is getting wetter and wetter.

I've been frequently stirring up the snow for the birds as their food keeps getting covered.

Claire

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 2:03PM
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pixie_lou

Claire - your sedum do look like toad stools!

I will have to admit that I was secretly hoping for a winter without snow. But now that the snow has arrived, I'm trying to make the best of it.

I bought these holly bushes 2 years ago - they were each about 3 inches tall. But now they are peaking out thru the snow!

With the arrival of snow, the lichen (are these lichen?) growing on the maple trees are really standing out.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 8:46AM
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diggingthedirt

I have quite a few flowers out there now, between heath and hellebores, not to mention witch hazel - Arnold Promise has begun! and there are sporadic blossoms on the winter jasmine.

But guess what I found? The first snowdrops opened last week during the mild spell we had! From Winter20112012

Here's one of my favorite winter heaths (Erica carnea): From Winter20112012

And Arnold Promise, just starting to show some color in the snow last week!
From Winter20112012

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 1:46PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

DTD,
Did your winter jasmine have any flowers in November, December and first half of January? This season, mine has been covered with blooms during those times! With the recent colder couple of nights and a little snow, they've faded now. But this is very unusual. Most years, normally, I may get a few if we have some mild days in Jan. or Feb. but that's about all. I think this year there may not be any buds left for the normal bloom time in March and April.

These were around Christmas and it stayed like this until mid-January!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 6:05PM
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diggingthedirt

My winter jasmine is having a fairly normal season, maybe because it's in a cold shady corner. It gets some late afternoon sun all year, and some in very early morning in spring and fall. It still has lots of buds, but has never bloomed as exuberantly as yours. I do love it, the flowers are always such a surprise.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 7:14PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

It's great that so many of you have something in the garden in winter to entice you to go out and take photos. I enjoy doing it if there's snow, but right now everything looks pretty blah.

Enjoyed the series of Rhodie photos showing the change to cold, Claire.

Pixielou, Couldn't say if that is lichen, but sounds right. It really looks very attractive on that maple.

DtD, is zone 7 about a month ahead of us in zone 6, or less? Wondering when we will expect to see snowdrops this year. I keep thinking of getting an Arnold Promise. Maybe this year.

Lots of flowers there Bill! You are more south than we are, but it's still zone 7, right? Did you search out a warmer micro-climate in your garden to place that Jasmine?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 10:20AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Ann,
The jasmine is against a south facing wooded fence, but just because that's where I wanted it. Wasn't really thinking about microclimate. I am still officially a zone 6, even on the new USDA 2012 map. On the Arbor Day Foundation map it seems that the Z6/Z7 border runs right through my garden! Based on recent years, I'll say I'm a weak zone 7. Of course this year has been a solid zone 8! But that's not the norm for sure!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 2:11PM
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pixie_lou

It's great that so many of you have something in the garden in winter to entice you to go out and take photos. I enjoy doing it if there's snow, but right now everything looks pretty blah.

I'm actually enjoying this season without snow. I'm finding things in the garden that I have never noticed before - since they are typically covered in snow. For instance, I always "knew" that the Blue Rug junipers turned brown in the winter, but being buried under snow, I've never observed it before.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 8:07PM
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pixie_lou

Just a heads up -
The February thread is going to be a little late. I got a new laptop, and I'm just realizing right now that I have no software installed on it - just the web browser. I'll have to go use the desk top upstairs or install MSOffice on this machine.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 8:18PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Bill, I just checked the new USDA map too and I am still a zone 6. I'm definitely a z6 on the Arbor Day map too, but on that map I notice areas near me that I understood to be z 5 are said to be z6 on that map.

This winter it has been so unseasonably warm very consistently, but we did have at least a week of temps in the teens and it was windy that week with lower wind chill factor. And we have had a smattering of random days where the temps were low. So, despite all the warm weather, isn't your zone determined by the lowest temperature the garden has to deal with?

pixielou, I really do enjoy the change in color on the evergreens in the yard in winter and those junipers really make a significant change.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 8:19PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

On the new zone map I am in zone 5a (though much of my town is in 5b.) Inspired by all you southerners, I went down to the bed that has my 'Diane' witch hazel and a vernal witch hazel. Even though our winter has been unusually warm, there is no visible bud swelling at all and none of my early bulbs are starting up yet. I have to keep reminding myself that we still have at least 4 or 5 weeks of full winter yet.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 9:29PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Ann, my understanding of the zones, from an article I read years ago, is that they really only take into account the lowest probable temperature that one might encounter during the course of the winter. It went on to say that this does'nt mean that it's the lowest POSSIBLE temperature, since we obviously get the occasional night or two when it goes below the "zone low" temp. It also mentions that not every night during winter will go down to the temperature range for the zone (for example here in zone 6, not every night will be between 0 and -10). It would be considered normal for zone 6 to get no more than perhaps 10 - 12 nights during one winter where it will get down to those temperatures, but if those 10 - 15 nights occurred consecutively, that would be considered not normal. And the main problem with the zone approach is that it doesn't take into account how long the temperature remains at these lows, nor how it recovers by day, which really makes all the difference. We've had a very mild winter so far, and if I went strictly by overnight lows, then I'm in zone 8 (!) but the daytime highs here, although very pleasant, are nowhere near as warm as a true zone 8 would be. And a low of 24 for instance here can last many, many hours, while in a true zone 8 it may only last for a couple of hours before dawn, and then the daytime temperature may climb to the 50's or 60's, whereas here the daytime high may slowly climb to the upper 30's. Just and example, but I think you can see what I mean. But, having said all this, I always remember that plants can't read zone maps (!) so if I think something I like has a chance, even if I have to site it, protect and pamper it, then I'll give it a try. Why not? Makes interesting gardening and maybe I'll discover that the books were wrong about a plant's zone rating. That's what happened with Clerodendron trichotomum. I always see it rated for zone 7, but mine has been growing and blooming happily here for over 20 years, and it's at the windy, northwest corner of (but not close to) the house.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 6:21AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Bill, thanks for that explanation. It's interesting, it sounds like how some of what effects the plants may be the number of times we hit the lows and whether the days were consecutive. But when you think about a person that is outdoors in cold temps, the temperature and the time they are exposed does determine whether there is damage. So maybe it is the same with a plant.

I enjoy your efforts to push the zones. I go in the opposite direction, because a zone might not be as dependable as reported, I will usually try to buy plants that are one or two zones colder than my zone, for more reliability. I'm also low on energy, so pampering a plant is something I would rarely do, if I can help it.

The zones seem to be less reliable than in the past, because of this crazy weather that we are getting routinely now. I can't help but think I'll be in a warmer zone before you know it. (g)

You seem to keep track of your daily temperatures, which I don't. I have thought of buying a min/max thermometer but I haven't yet. Have you ever visited the Weather Underground website? They give the history of weather in your area, and you can look up what the temperature was on any given day, all the way back to 1920.

If I'm reading it correctly, in the Boston area, the lowest temp for the month of Nov, was 31. And for Dec, it was 18. It was 6 degrees for a low in January. So we haven't been too cold yet, I guess.

I just looked up that Clerodendron. Quite an exotic looking plant. :-)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 5:40PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Ann,
The Clerodendron is one of only two hardy types that I know of. The rest of the genus is comprised of more tropical or subtropical shrubs and vines. What I like about it is the fact that it blooms in July and August, when most other shrubs are all finished blooming. It also has a wonderful scent that fills the garden in the evening. After the flowers fade, the reddish calyx persists, and in the center a small greenish fruit appears, that then turns to sky blue, dark blue, and finally almost black. Meanwhile, the calyx has gotten thicker and turned a shiny purplish-red.

Here it is in bloom.

Flower detail

And in fall....

Fall detail....

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 11:08PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Very pretty! I love the white flowers and the red calyx is very waxy looking. Makes me think of a hoya flower for some reason. You certainly have a 'different' palette of plants.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 6:38AM
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dfaustclancy

Bill,

That is one beautiful plant. How big is eventually supposed to get? Where did you get yours? And how old is the one in your photo? Sorry for all the questions, but when I researched Clerodendron I saw that there were hundreds of types. Any info appreciated.
Deb

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 4:52PM
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