Show us your landscape - December 2012 - a photo thread

pixie_louDecember 2, 2012

This is a place to post photos, and to discuss, what is in your garden. This is the thread for December 2012. All garden photos are welcome. As we enter the Winter, we expect to see more photos of foliage, berries, visual interest, hardscape. If it is a photo taken in your garden or your yard, it is fair game to post it here.

Here is the link for the December 2011 thread.

For Previous Threads from 2012:
November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012 Part II

July 2012 Part I

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

To see all of the 2011 threads, please click on the December 2011 link. The first post will have links to all previous months. In January I will speak with Claire about moving all the 2011 threads over to the photo gallery.

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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

These pieris should be pretty when they bloom in the spring, but the flower buds are lovely now.

Sorry for posting so many similar pics, but I had trouble even cutting them down to four.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 10:49AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Claire those are really nice! I had posted my photos in the other thread before this one was started, so I guess they'll stay where they are. I don't know how to move a thread or whatever.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 10:39AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Thanks, Bill, your photos are great. I always wait until pixie_lou puts up the next thread but it can be hard.

I don't think you can move the thread yourself (although GW can) but so long as people know you support pixie_lou's efforts there's likely no problem with two threads. She's performing a great service for the forum and deserves applause.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 11:09AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Claire, I agree. I always enjoy her "Show us your gardens" threads. I really didn't stop to think that she's be starting a new one! It was such a nice day that I just wound up taking the photos and posting!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 2:30PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Driving by the old cranberry bog/swan pond the other day, I saw a very fuzzy looking shrub near the side of the road. I didn't stop, but I decided to come back with my camera (when it wasn't raining).

I walked over today and the fuzzy stuff is lichen. I don't know what the shrubs are, if I remember I'll check in the spring when they have leaves on. I do know that they're in with wild winterberries which still have fruit.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 12:57PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Again not quite in my garden, but this is what a very very mature garden could look like in 50 years. Just up the street is the yard with two rhododendron mountains - a joy in the spring. Now they're an imposing evergreen mass. I'm guessing they're the old standard R.'Roseum Elegans', but I don't know for sure and the new owners don't know much about them.

This year I happened to look up and saw that some of the trees behind the rhododendrons are covered with English ivy.

The ivy at the bottom of the trunks is still partly juvenile form, the lobed leaf form that we're used to seeing.

The leaves at the top of the tree are the mature form; unlobed and there are fruits.

I don't know how long the rhododendrons and the ivy have been growing but this area was developed in the 1940's.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 1:53PM
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Claire - that pieris is gorgeous. It's a shrub that I'm not that familiar with.

Bill - I don't mind at all if you want to start your own threads. You actually grow so many things that are not common to this area and I really enjoy seeing your photos.

I started posting these monthly threads for a couple reasons. 1) To encourage people to photograph their gardens on a regular basis. 2) To encourage people to appreciate their gardens all 4 seasons. 3) To give people a place to post random photos of their garden that are not worthy of their own threads.

Not much going on in my gardens these days. I was surprised to see how healthy my catnip is. This is in a pot out in front of one of my brush piles. I haven't even watered the pot since some time in September!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 2:27PM
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Here are my buckets of greens for this year, complete with red and green tomato spirals. I wound 5 of the spirals with lights and added a few to the evergreens.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 3:59PM
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and here they are at night with the spirals lit up.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 4:04PM
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I keep forgetting to tell Claire that her fuzzy green branches (12/13)are either alders or mixed in with alders since I can see the seed receptacles, which look much like small pine cones. I like both that series of photos with the contrasts in muted colors and varied textures, and the sharp greens, pinks, golds and whites of the andromedas/Pieris. I'm envious since I can't grow the fancy Pieris, only the plain green ones. The only one I planted on this property had its roots devoured by voles a couple of seasons ago, but I may try again with a cage for the roots. I am also envious of Bill's flowers. I have a few fall crocus that I planted late and so they were still blooming a week or so ago, and the Daphne 'Summer Ice' may have a few flowers, but we are pretty much done for the year other than evergreens, bark, stems, and lights.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 4:26PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Thanks, nhbabs, for the alder ID! I've never noticed alders, I'll have to read up on them. Now I'll probably discover they're everywhere around here.

I love your tomato spirals - they make a perfect winter decoration even without the lights - and the lights make them really special.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 6:25PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Cool mailbox planters and I'm likin' the lichens a lot. Haven't taken many pics lately, but I had some time on this frosty morn in Central Mass and got a few garden shots.

These are the new Wave Hill lawn chairs that my brother made for me.

Rose buds from Rosa 'Can Can' which are left unbloomed.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light'

Needles on Pinus strobus 'Wintergold' are just turning.

Heuchera 'Southern Comfort' in early winter mode.

Potted Hostas in winter over formation on the north side of the house.

Heuchera 'Snow Angel' still looking interesting.

These volunteer violas never stopped blooming in last year's non-winter and they are going to try the same trick this year despite the 1/4 inch of ice we had last Monday.

The cabbage and kale planter by the front steps still looks pretty good.

OK, I cheated. I brought this Dracena inside from one of my planters to save it for next year.

Hope everyone has a peaceful and joyous holiday.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 10:01AM
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Autumn fern in the background.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 11:31AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Steve: Is that the recommended method of overwintering hostas in pots? I can see that they won't collect water (that might freeze), and their crowns will be warmer next to the concrete foundation, but the roots are open to cold air through the pot holes. My inclination would be to also pile some leaves or a frost blanket over the tipped pots. Of course, I'm more of the belt-and-suspender type gardener, and I know you're a hosta fanatic enthusiast.

shadow_cross: Autumn fern is great in the winter. They stay green here in zone 6b most of the winter. How long do they look good in zone 5b?


    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 11:47AM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b


Some folks do put leaves over their Hosta after tipping the pots, but not to keep them warm. It's to keep them shaded and frozen. What will kill a potted Hosta in the winter is not cold, but the freeze and thaw that we get here in the Northeast especially in late winter. Hosta crowns that are sitting in water will rot. The trick is to get them frozen and keep them that way until Spring. That's why mine are lined up on the North side of the house. It keeps them relatively dry and in the shade. The only reason I don't cover them with leaves is because I want to be able to check for vole activity, another potentially lethal threat.


    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 4:59PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Steve: That makes sense, but I can't help thinking of the hostas being in fetal position inside that chilly pot.

No snow here yet, but the temperature did drop below freezing again, and there was frost on the foxgloves this morning, no doubt helped by all the moisture from the rain.

Not cold enough to curl up the rhododendron's leaves yet:

Oak leaves in frost:


    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 12:11PM
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franeli(z4 NH)

Finally, a little snow.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 8:08AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

That's a lovely, classic New England scene, franeli. Nothing like that here on the southeast coast of Massachusetts.

We were on the rain side of the rain/snow line for the first part of the storm so the snow was greatly diminished. Even so, I went out this morning fully prepared to spend a few hours shoveling heavy, wet snow. It was not to be - I put the shovel to the snow and it didn't move. Imagine about a foot of frost, compacted by a steam roller to an inch or two of dense white coating. That's what is out there now and temperatures are forecast to be unseasonably cold for the next five days or so. At least it's not slippery.

Some shrubs, particularly hollies and pieris are flattened. I first tried to free them but I decided I'd probably do more harm than good, so I'm letting them crouch there for now until it thaws a bit.

But there is a beautiful side to this condition, the ice coating on trees (I doubt that the trees appreciate this).

The view from the back of the house. Those chairs were my parents' favorites - they're slowly decaying there (the chairs, that is).


    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 11:06AM
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Claire - thank you so much for keeping this thread going this month. I have been so lax. Your ice and frost photos are gorgeous.

I'll be posting the new January 2013 thread later tonight or tomorrow. Will you be able to move the 2011 threads over to the photo gallery? I think I'd like to keep 2012 in the current discussion area. Unless you disagree.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 5:24PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

pixie_lou: I think you should ask GW directly to move your threads to the Gallery since you know best what you want and they will want to be sure that you agree.

I just checked my email file and I was emailing Tamara ( I don't think I need to be involved as FAQ editor, but if Tamara wants me to handle it I'll be happy to.


This post was edited by claire on Sun, Dec 30, 12 at 18:50

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 6:48PM
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spedigrees z4VT

Beautiful snowscape, Franeli! I love your ice pictures, Claire, although your trees and bushes were probably less enthused about their frozen crystaline outerwear.

My gardens are buried beneath at least 15" of snow. In between clearing away the white stuff, knocking down massive icicles, and nursing my poor back from the daily effort, I trudged through the deep snow to take these poor quality photos. (My tripod doesn't hold still very well in snow for long exposures.) Looking down through the pines at the back of our house and our colored lights. Walking with the dogs around the snowblown looped path is like a tour through an elvish wonderland. It's some compensation for the difficulties of winter.

I hope the New Year is kind to all my fellow New England gardeners. Cheers!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 1:29PM
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It's lovely how snow transforms our landscapes! Thanks to you all for adding your photos.

I haven't taken any garden photos since we got snow two days ago (somehow we mostly missed the one earlier in the week, ending up with 2 or 3 inches while areas both north and south got several inches more.) I did take a couple of photos last week before we got snow - here is my Daphne 'Summer Ice', which is the longest bloomer in my garden, having flowers from early April until late December this year. It only has a large flush of bloom in May, but continues to throw flowers all summer, which along with the beautiful leaves makes this a favorite in my garden. (It also is scented, but I'm not partial to the scent of Daphnes.) Taken on Dec 22:

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 9:43PM
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I realized this fall that I have several areas with hydrangeas adjacent to evergreens of some kind. In addition to liking the hydrangeas' summer foliage and blossoms contrast to the various evergreen backgrounds in the summer, I also enjoy the dry hydrangea blossoms against the conifers and rhododendrons at this time of year.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 10:05PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

spedigrees: Houses with colored lights look so warm and inviting from outside at night, particularly in early winter when the nights are unbearably long! No wonder so many cultures have winter festivals marked by lighting. I keep my Christmas lights on until Epiphany, and I keep looking for excuses to leave them up a little longer (like until spring).

I like that daphne, nhbabs, and fluffy beige blossoms go nicely with strong dark green and blue-green foliage.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 11:50AM
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I finally finished up my Christmas planters by my front door. Just in time for the snow!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 10:00PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I forgot to post this pic in December, but it belongs in this thread.

My old collapsible greenhouse got collapsed by the storms sometime this month. I'm not sure exactly when it happened because I just hadn't looked in that direction for a while. I discovered it on December 30.

This is what it looked like in December 2007.

I hadn't been using it anyway and I was planning to take it down sometime when I figured out how to collapse it purposely. The storm did it for me. Now I'm planning what overgrown plant(s) I can move into that space in the spring.


This post was edited by claire on Sun, Jan 6, 13 at 11:18

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 11:17AM
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Steve do you know the name of your Dracena? I'm obsessed with it. So pretty. I usually don't care for plants like that but yours is amazing.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 7:49PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b


I don't know the name of it. I picked it up at the Natick Home Depot, so it might be generally available. I was just walking through looking for plants to throw into a container and I liked the color. I think it got too much water in the container. That's why you see the browning on some of the leaves. It's much happier now in the dry house in the winter and being watered infrequently.


    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 10:26PM
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