Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Little Whine Helps On A Gray, Cold Day


Winter arrived at Clay and Limestone bringing rain, cooler temperatures, gray skies, rain, sticky clay soil and did I mention rain? 

So doing what any self respecting gardener would do when confronted with these weather obstacles... I ate a few ounces of really excellent dark chocolate.  When that didn't help,  I went to a big box store to look for left over bulbs.  Only to find one small package of pale pink hyacinth bulbs.

Hyacinth bulbs are big, beautiful and purple, but I am not crazy about the overblown look of the flower among my delicate ephemerals and wildflowers. The Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides) look better in this wildflower garden.

Sunday morning
Cardamine diphylla/Dentaria diphylla/Toothwort a sweet spring ephemeral whose leaves are a harbinger for spring


They came home with me anyway and I planted them in the Garden of Benign Neglect
 
 The fish are not complaining about changes in the GOBN

very near the marble bench where  their fragrance  will be noticeable if you chance to sit for a while. 
Work's  begun  on the paths (big rocks are coming out)  and planting can soon begin 

Did I mention the gray earlier? It was cold and gray and very much January this morning. Not inviting weather to work  outside and kneel in the damp soil. But,  I did anyway!  How else to share this sweetie pie bloom with you~~

Hamamelis vernalis sps 'Bernice' (my name mind you, after my mother). 

The crinkly blooms are popping out all over this small shrub.  The  colorful orange and red 


 blooms have a sweet  spicy scent  at first,  followed by a bit of  earthiness.  It's very unique.


Not to be out shown by the newer shrub in the garden~~

 Hamamelis x intermedia 'Diane' is also beginning to bloom.  

Diane is described as one of the showiest of all the witch hazels! Ruby-red flowers precede foliage in winter or early spring.  There is no preceding in this case!

 Diane refuses to let go of her brown leaves! Seriously!  It's quite irritating!  Diane is loaded with buds and blossoms ready to pop open.  This may be her  best year ever for flowering~~

 The  Long ribbon-like petals are crinkled and exotic up close.   But  you won't get to see them very easily.    I have tried to pick all the leaves off; they are on tight!  Once her blooms fade away, she will drop those leaves like a hot potato!   Just like every year of her blooming life:-)

Has anyone else experienced this with a witch hazel?

This tendency to hold onto leaves all winter is called marcescence.  
A young Hophornbeam in my yard holding on tight to those leaves.

Oaks, beech and hophornbeam hold onto their leaves all winter; dropping them in late winter just before the new growth.  But I sure wish that Ms Diane wasn't one of them! 


"In plants, marcescence is considered a juvenile characteristic because it is more common on younger trees and on the lower, more juvenile, parts of older trees. One possible advantage of marcescent leaves is that may deter feeding of large herbivores, such as deer and moose, which normally eat the twigs and their nutritious buds. Dead, dry leaves make the twigs less nutritious and less palatable." (from Wikipedia)

As I was typing this post the clouds parted and
we have blue skies and sunshine.

Thank you! It was just what I needed to lift my spirits and make me smile.

Here's a bit of blue skies to make you smile and lift your spirits, if gray cold days are getting you down!
The dragonfly light over the GOBN

I hope you all have a wonderful day!   Thanks for letting me have my whine!

Gail

It has become quite a common proverb that "in wine there is truth."
In Vino Veritas- Pliny the Elder, Historia Naturalis, 75 A. D.

80 comments:

  1. Love those blue skies and those Witch Hazels. I have wanted to plant one of those for some time and never think of it at the right time. I love that yellow one with the red edges. Yummm.. These have definitely brighted up my day, or it could have been the Whine, I mean wine. ;)

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  2. It was actually a pleasure to listen to you, Gail. What with the beautiful pic of vernalis. Now I remember reading about 'em in another blogger friend of ours! She has three varieties of this. Dang! I curse my danged memory! Now, n\don't go thinking I'm Oooold. :P Just in my twenties!
    It's sad to see the rains and cold spoiling your garden and it's fair that you complain about them. As I tell all the temperate gardeners, the Spring is just round the block!

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  3. No whine at all Gail. A lovely post letting us know spring is on its way-way early this year! Your garden is looking lovely, especially that Diane and Bernice.

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  4. Gail .. can you believe I got in here early ? Good grief girl I got up at 6 this morning .. in the pitch dark with two very affectionate(due to breakfast time) kitties, so happy to see me ?
    The rain .. that is what the Dutch 'winter" was like for us .. but also such a miracle Spring with such amazing plants there .. the witchhazel was very popular. Seeing yours reminded me of them and how beautiful Holland was when Spring came. I try to hold on to that while we are in the deep freeze .. extreme cold warning is coming up for the week .. brrrr !
    I loved seeing your BLUE skies girl , thanks !

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  5. Good morning Gail, thank goodness the sun finally came out and graced you with blue sky and some much needed candlepower. It sounds from your explanation that Diane will hold her leaves until she has a few years under her belt. Mine used to hold them too, that's why scissors were created, yes detail oriented I know! Do it anyway, my friend. :-)
    Frances

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  6. Gail,

    I think you sent those blue skies this way. The morning is breaking with the sun today instead of dreariness.

    Glad you have found a few bulbs for your garden. I think they will be wonderful by a bench.

    Cameron

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  7. Good morning Gail. I enjoyed today's post, as always. I like the fact you don't hesitate to turn to dark chocolate - it does have health benefits, you know. ;-) It's great to see signs of spring in your garden, and it makes me hopeful for spring here. Have a great week!

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  8. Lisa,

    Good morning. The H vernalis would love your garden! It's a lovely. I may just have to get a few more...Those blue skies really help with mood lifting and the whine was a good release;-) Have a great day!

    Gail

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  9. Candramouli,

    Thank you! The rain really does make for a muddy mess in this garden, but I can see the hints of spring everywhere. Soon the early bloomers will be out and about. Have a lovely day.

    Gail

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  10. Hi Gail, a whole lot more going on in your garden than in mine. I wish I'd gotten a few hyacinth bulbs for forcing this year.
    Marnie

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  11. Tina.

    Diane and Bernice are neighbors! I had no idea they would bloom at exactly the same time. These are the kinds of winter bloomers that would also look good with a bit of snow on the ground. I know you love yours!

    Gail

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  12. Joy,

    Good morning...I am especially honored to see you here today! I schedule my post early but even I slept in a little later today! I know all about happy kitties...my kitty walks across me and kisses my eyelids to wake me up! If that doesn't work I get a pat on the face...

    I am glad the blue skies arrived and glad to to show them to you. We are getting a tiny bit of the arctic blast that you'll be having. Well below freezing here with no blanket of snow to protect the emerging plants. That is what zone 7 is like!

    I'll be by to say hi after I go to the gym...that is one of my promises to myself...enough exercise!

    Gail

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  13. Frances,

    Good morning! I just might have to deleave the tree and soon! I can do that in between client appointments! Are you getting sunshine today? I know that you are often a half day behind us as weather moves across the plateau...I bet they got snow!

    Have a great day...I am off to the gym, believe it or not! All this sitting is not good for the posterior.

    Gail

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  14. Cameron,

    Isn't it funny, I do love the bulbs! They are absolutely lovely with their purple coloring. I think your right they will be perfect by the bench.

    I am glad you got sunshine, it's a long winter without it! I will be by later this morning. Have a lovely day.

    Gail

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  15. KIm,

    Not just any chocolate...I ate this very dark 91% chocolate! I try not to eat a lot of sugar...it was pretty intense!!! We need more spring signs and less brown!

    I hope you have a great day.

    Gail

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  16. I'm going to have to go look at our 'Diane' - I don't remember it keeping its leaves. But then ours blooms a lot later than yours! I think I'll wait until it stops snowing to go out for my look though... I'll just have another piece of chocolate while I wait...

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  17. Marnie,

    I didn't think about forcing them Marnie...that would have been perfect. If I find more would you want me to send them to you? Our other big box store might have some?

    Gail

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  18. Gail,
    Chocolate is such a wonderful medicine for those not so good days! It was gray skies all the way here, but it didn’t stop me from getting out and working in the yard. I refuse to give into the sadness of these gray days anymore! Jamie and I got a lot of work done too. :-)

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  19. Kris,

    Oh my, do wait until the snow has stopped...unless you have snow shoes! Btw, I have an absolutely perfect pair for Bithewold! They are called Yowies and they are Australian. They look like giant Teva sandels!

    ...and what's your favorite chocolate?

    Gail

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  20. Randy,

    Ahhh chocolate! Sometimes I wish my husband would join me in the garden. We could accomplish a great deal more! You and Jamie are fortunate to support each other and work well together. Happy gardening...I hope you have lots of time in the garden.

    gail

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  21. It will be one cold week here in TN! Thursday and Friday look very cold. I'm ready fro spring!

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  22. Gail, I think we're all entitled to whine on these gray, cold days. I'm glad to see your sunshine--we still don't have any.

    Thank you for the information on marcescence! I have never heard this term before, and I wondered why so many of my trees are still hanging on to some of their dead leaves. I thought it was atypical, but now I see it's normal.

    Hope you have a good week--we're in for some really COLD weather in the next few days.

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  23. Ooh, I hadn't noticed toothwort coming up yet - I will have to get out and look!

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  24. Bernice's orange and pink blooms are a wonderful splash of color this time of year. Everything looks quite wonderful in your gardens! It's a cold, grey day here, too.

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  25. I'll be curious to see the bulbs bloom by the bench, it will be so pretty. I have buds on mine here's hoping Jack Frost doesn't kill back everything at the end of the week, maybe in the teens here in North Florida, YIKES!

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  27. Gail, that is very interesting about marcescence. Ha, I'll have to see if my Witch Hazel drops its leaves as soon as the flowers are done.

    The JC Raulston Arboretum used to have a beautiful "Ruby Glow" near the old entrance that didn't have leaves when it bloomed -- I don't know if the staff stripped the leaves or if the maturity of the tree was a factor. It had the most beautiful red fall coloring in addition to the red colors.

    I agree that Spanish Bluebells look wonderful in a woodland setting. The old-fashioned Roman Hyacinths are beautiful too, but expensive!!

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  28. Love witch hazel, always have. Also love the calm "monochromatic" colors of the first photo. Also find it cool how winter can mean rain or two feet of snow, depending! Reading gardening blogs has given me an itch to travel, I can tell you!
    ~Monica

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  29. Like you, I like those blue skies much better! Bernice is very pretty wish I could smell her scent.

    If that leaf offends thee, trim it off if picking doesn't work ;-)

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  30. Hi Gail. That wasn't much of a whine to me! ;-) Do that anytime, there was still a lot of information involved. I usually force the hyacinths inside too (instead of planting them outdoors). That's the best use for them in my opinion and you really get to enjoy the fragrance that way. Our day is cold, windy, grey and snowy too. I am not going out into the garden anyway! I don't have your fortitude I guess!! Interesting about the witch hazels not dropping their leaves. Are you going to follow Frances advice and cut them off?? Curious...

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  31. Gail....you have got me so excited seeing the witch hazel blooms. I planted one several months ago but the buds have not opened yet. OOhh I think I will have to go and check again tomorrow.......

    Glad the sun came out......

    After living in the ice age for two weeks....the thaw came, and guess what....yes its absolutely throwing it down. Icy rain.....I love the Enlgish winters!!!!!

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  32. Kathleen,

    I have no idea if I will...It is too cold for my thin skin to stand out there! I can walk in this weather and even dig and plant but standing about is too cold!

    I've been wondering about how well I would do in really cold winter weather; not well. not well at all. How do you do it?

    Gail

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  33. Cheryl,

    Witch hazel is exciting...if yours is blooming would you let me know and could you see what if any fragrance the blooms have...I am curious what your impression is. It's subtle.

    Gail

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  34. Yolanda E,

    I wish Frances were here to keep me company as I cut them off...we could tell funny stories.

    Isn't Bernice pretty, my mom would love her.

    Gail

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  35. Monica,

    Aren't you going to move south?
    It's really lovely here in the Southeast. I was just rewatching The last of the Mohicans...North Carolina is beautiful, but so is Tennessee!

    Even tho Diane is holding on tightly to her leaves she is still a wonderful little tree.

    Gail

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  36. Sweet Bay,

    I see that The Southern Bulb Company sells the Roman Hyacinth...must go on the list for summer ordering! They are lovely...google is very helpful!

    The leaves are on tight...they would have to be cut off... not tugged.

    Thanks, I am excited about the RH!

    Gail

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  37. Darla,

    Grab some old blankets and cover them up! You have waited to see those blooms and I want to see their photo! I cover plants if we are getting a late frost or if I want to keep them blooming longer in the fall!

    Gail

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  38. Nancy,

    Compared to your winter this is nothing! We will have some beautiful warm day before we know it!

    I did hear that we may get snow! Is it too late for me to add my snow photos ...if we get any? This would be my first snow!

    Gail

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  39. Dave,

    We have hardly had winter but I am ready, too...I hope this is the last of the arctic blasts to come our way.

    Gail

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  40. Rose,

    Keep warm! We will have very frigid weather and our ground will be frozen but it should pass quickly...I wish you an easy time of it up there!

    gail

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  41. Rurality,

    Where they up? It will surely be spring soon!

    Gail

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  42. Sorry, you don't deserve to whine. All the whining is mine & mine alone. I've got such a bad case of the winter blahs with snow, snow and, yes, even more snow on the way. I've got no flowers anywhere, indoors or out, and I haven't seen a blue sky for days. Here's a quote for you: "Now is the winter of our discontent."
    If it makes you feel any better, I share that my 'Sunburst' Witchhazel has held onto a few leaves too. No sign of flowers yet. I'd be out there pulling the leaves off that 'Diane' if it were mine. It's such a beautiful thing.

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  43. Gail, Go ahead and whine. I may not listen, but if I do it's with only half an ear! ha. I've got so many winter projects, that I really need to make a list, prioritize, and get moving. It'll be Spring soon and I may not be ready!! :-)

    (Say, if you're getting rid of those rocks, I know someone (a very nice person that lives in SE Iowa)who needs more rocks for a path she plans to resume in the Spring! ha.) ;-)

    Have a great day, grab something good to drink and relax! :-)

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  44. Hi Gail,
    Go ahead and have your whine and your chocolate, too. You deserve it for all the dreary weather you've endured. We are actually dreary today. I can stand it though since we only have a few days a year like this. It's actually kind of nice. Looking outside it kind of looks like winter. We'll get the edge of the cold blast coming down from the north in the next few days and our temps will land in the high 30's for a couple of nights. Nothing to complain about... uh-uh... not me. It's so hot most of the year, I welcome the change.

    Still loving every photo of Diane... a beaut with her leaves or without I'm sure. She must need those leaves for something. Like so many types of foliage they will probably all fall off, much to your surprise, all in one swoop of blustery wind one day. She will know when it is time and she'll let go of them. Glad she's giving you plenty of buds and blooms this year. They are quite unique and I thank you for sharing them with us.

    Those blue skies are what I'm used to seeing... don't you love how the weather can change so quickly... this time it was for the better.

    Oh, what I wouldn't give for some of those big rocks you are pulling out.

    Well, I've rambled again... stay cozy and enjoy the rest of your day. Looking forward to the hyacinths... good you have so much room you can purchase even stuff you aren't particularly fond of. Here I go again... bye, for now.
    Meems

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  45. Gail: That whine is fine but the other goes a long way toward cheerfulness also! LOL :) At least you can see the ground.

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  46. Thank you, Gail. I've been trying to remember the word 'marcescence' for about two years! There's a beech hedge in a front garden near us and I told my children ages ago there was a special word to describe trees (or shrubs) that retained their dead leaves until the new growth came in. Trouble is, I could never remember the word.

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  47. I was whining for most of the morning too Gail. It was a freezing fog down here and we couldn't even see the road from the building at work and it's 50 feet or so away. We finally got some sun later in the day too, but I'm still grumpy. Look like I'm destined to be for a while though, because we have a chance for snow tomorrow and Sunday I think. Booo.

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  48. How fun to find some bulbs on a gloomy day, and bring them home to do a little gardening. The scent of Hyacinths will be worth it in the spring, regardless of the colour.
    I laughed as I pictured you tugging the dead leaves off the witch hazel, while Diane held on tight. I wonder who will win the Battle of the Leaves.
    Have a wonderful blue sky day.

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  49. The first photo sent a cold chill down me. The chocolate warmed me up, the blue sky perked me up.

    Happy winter gardening.

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  50. Whining is perfectly ok! When I "listen" to your whining, mine doesn't sound so bad. Love the witchhazel -- but doesn't it just remind you that we are NOT in charge? That's my garden mantra....Wishing you some blue skies before the blue norther blows in. (Hits us Weds.)

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  51. Northern Shade,

    Hi...I think Diane will win! We are having a cold spell and then an arctic blast will be here: you are much used to this kind of weather we are wimps when it happens to us! S no way, I am not going to stand out side and cut leaves off.

    It's been along time since hyacinths have bloomed here!

    Gail

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  52. Diane,

    We are not in charge! Isn't that the truth! I am going to borrow that if I might! All the way down to Austin, too. Lowes is selling planketts! I may get some for the plants this spring. I hope it isn't too cold. But the clear night skies are gorgeous!

    Gail

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  53. Hi Helen,

    Nice comment! I loved it! I hope all is well in your garden!

    Gail

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  54. MMD,

    Let's share...I think there is plenty of whine to go around! I do admit that you have the worst of the weather...for now! Wait until our late winter rains arrive, in lieu of snow and the garden begins to float away and then you'll hear me whine really loudly.

    Just sign me whiny the leaf puller.

    gail

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  55. Meems,

    We all have our weather issues! It's a universal connection...gardener to gardener! You can complain to me this summer when the heat and humidity drive you inside;-) In the meantime thanks for lending me your ear and shoulder.

    I hope it doesn't freeze in your garden.

    gail

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  56. Shady,

    If I could I would...there a million where they came from...we just have to dig them up!

    Actually I have a project for them; a small wall in the garden. Lifting them is supposed to be off the table for me! It is so hard to avoid.

    Take care and keep warm.

    Gail

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  57. Victoria,

    I am glad I could help. I forgot it, too and spent the better part of half an hour looking for it! I searched google with any number of questions! Now it's in a post in case we forget it again!

    I love the way beeches hang onto their leaves. It is a beautiful sight in our woods. A hedge would be lovely. Take care.

    gail

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  58. Layanee,

    A bit of snow would be very nice every now and again! Spirits to lift the spirits...eh! You keep warm and safe! My son is in Belize keeping warm!

    Gail

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  59. Sorry about my earlier attempt to comment that I had to delete.

    You call that winter? I'll trade ya.

    My favorite whine is " I wanna go to Tampa. "

    The dark chocolate and a good glass of red wine will increase your longevity by 20 per cent. Add gardening, another 40 per cent and you'll live to a ripe old age. So stop whining already :-)

    You wanna see winter come to Chicago. We have another foot of fresh snow for you.

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  60. Chocolate is a good cure for winter, Gail. Just to give you some perspective; my 'Diane' won't be unfurling its flowers for a while yet; she MIGHT show some colour in late February. And she doesn't hold her leaves here. The purple beech demonstrates marcescence some of the time, but this year we had so much wind off the Bay in autumn, it tore the leaves off everything in short order.

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  61. Hi Gail,
    Those Witch Hazels sure are fascinating and attractive shrubs! We may just have to research them more and see about planting one sometime soon. I really like the thought of late winter (probably here) blooms and they are so unusual too!

    I laughed about you planting hyacinth bulbs now!!! You'd be lucky to find the dirt here now, let alone dig into it! We had over 7" of snow Friday night and then another storm today that brought about another 4" on top of that. Our usual winter green of the hellebores has vanished because they're buried! The Hollies still look quite pretty though with their snow caps on. I should try to venture out tomorrow to take some pictures but it's been way too cold lately (going down below Zero tonight and almost there now).

    We're being bombarded with gardening catalogs now ... how about you? Hang in there, at least you're not buried like we are up here! We did get a bit of sun today after the snow storm blew through, so that was welcome....

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  62. Hi Gail,

    Oh please do continue to whine I like it. Some gray, brownish gray, greengray and then poff...the sun comes out and blue sky!

    Take care

    LOLove Tyra

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  63. Hi Gail,

    Oh please do continue to whine I like it. Some gray, brownish gray, greengray and then poff...the sun comes out and blue sky!

    Take care

    LOLove Tyra

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  64. Tyra,

    Yep it was like that a little whine, a little chocolate, a little whine and out pops the sun. Winter in the mid south is strange.

    Gail

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  65. IVG,

    Hardly any have arrived but then I don't order many things from catalogs...which shall be remedied this week. Three catalogs have come...High Country Gardens, Bluestone and White Flower.

    Our winters are very odd...if we are going to have frozen ground it will be in January, occasionally February. So tonight it will freeze and be frozen until the arctic blast disappears and our usual winter weather returns. The real problem is the lack of snow cover to protect our zone 6 and 7 plants. Sigh...

    Do get a witch hazel...the nativs are lovely but you might like Diane, Arnold's Promise or even Jolena!

    Keep warm...what catalogs would you recommend?

    Gail

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  66. Jodi,

    What a delicious sounding sentence..."the wind off the bay"! The images it conjures are delightful. I'm not sure wind could take these leaves off...they are holding on for dear life...but if they keeps the hungry deer away...thank you!

    Purple beech...I want to look them up ...they sound lovely. Keep warm and let me know when Diane blooms in your garden.

    gail

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  67. Carolyn Gail,

    We are wimps here! I don't know how you all 'stand' the cold and snow...will you be heading to Tampa this winter? We lived there when I was a little kid and loved it...oh how I cried when we moved back to St Louis! Yes, a trip to Tampa would be perfect!

    Gail

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  68. Gail, that was a fine whine. It's so dark here that the Amaryllis are leaning toward my computer screen rather than the window. Let's here it for chocolate, new plants, blue sky and puttering in the garden!

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  69. Barbara,

    Yes, May, I have more chocolate please and blue skies and puttering in the garden. For you, too!

    Gail

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  70. Trying to do a bit of Blog Catch up today! I will take some cheese with my whine please! :) Send Aaron my way, I have some gum ball trees for him to climb!

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  71. Skeeter,

    I have a really nice sharp Cheddar that will accompany the whine perfectly~

    Yes, you do need an Aaron. I found him by asking around. I don't bother with bids anymore, sure there are cheaper guy; but Aaron et al were funny.

    Gail

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  72. Gail, I am so with you on the chocolate...it does indeed lift the spirit, if only until you step onto the scales, lol!

    I say if you have blue skies and chocolate you really can't ask for more!

    If you whines turn out so beautifully you should do it more often, Kim

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  73. Kim,

    With enough chocolate and whine winter is very tolerable! Well, except for the two weeks when we have arctic blasts and freeze our tootsies off!

    I am really liking your photos...the macro lens photos are super.

    Gail

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  74. I'm so glad the clouds parted and let the blue skies shine for you Gail. Looks like you've been busy working on the GOBN, can't wait to see the results this spring. You picked a great spot for the Hyacinths, their heady fragrance will really be noticeable when sitting on the bench. :)

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  75. i do believe they mean the real wine which goes quite well with chocolate. try it if you haven't. i like your witch hazel very much. those curly tendrils for flowers fits right into the wild look of your natural garden.

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  76. Marmee,

    I do remember thinking a good party would be one were we paired wines and chocolates! A friend loves to have biscotti with wine.

    The witch hazel is a treat and I expect with this cold weather the flowers have curled up to protect themselves! Keep warm out there!

    Gail

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  77. Racquel,

    I was moving along at a nice clip, but the weather changed on us...Whew is it cold out there! I am looking forward to seeing how it looks too! I may surprise myself!

    Gail

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  78. Gail, greyness of outside is definately fought by beautiful colour of your Hammamelis :)
    number of comments is also very impressive :)

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  79. I hope the expected arctic front in your neck of the woods doesn't adversely affect Bernice and Diane! I'll look forward to hearing what changes the weather brings you. If it's any consolation, we're supposed to get that front sometime today. Last I checked, they were predicting temps in the high 20s. Brrrrr.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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