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

Friday, December 16, 2011

It's Mid December and You know What That Means!

A Twofer! Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up!

Alas, there is only one bloom in the garden for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and I have had to resort to sharing my beautiful grocery store tulips with you all.
 Cut flowers are wonderful and necessary on gray and rainy winter days.  The kind of weather we have too frequently in Middle Tennessee.

I love orange tulips, especially, the over the top multi-colored varieties.  I plant a few in the garden every fall and cross my fingers that they survive the rodents to bloom in the spring. I must admit that it has only been in the last few years have I come to appreciate this intense and vibrant color.

Spirea's orange and golden leaves in a cobalt container
  I know it's an over used word, but, orange does pop almost anywhere in my garden.  It cozies up  beautifully in containers and it looks stunning with the purple benches and chairs that are focal points at Clay and Limestone

If you don't mind plants arrayed in shades of brown, red, orange and beige, you'll find plenty of beauty in the garden! 

 Like Hypericum frondosum which is still  hyper-colored. 

 Or, the wispy and fluttery River Oats.  Rain makes them stand out.

 I love the wild and natural look of my almost winter garden (I garden for wildlife) Seed heads are left standing for winter interest and food for birds and other critters. I think they're beautiful.

Switch Grass (click for link)
Grasses like Panicum virgatum 'Northwind' add movement and color until late winter.  But, they're more than just a pretty face; they're  a host plant for the caterpillars of many Skippers (here for their story) and provide a cozy place for small critters and birds to hide on snowy days.

I love when trees and plants hold onto their leaves. 

Exotic cabbage and kale no longer seems out of place in the garden. Come spring they'll bolt into yellow blooms and provide  nectar for early visiting pollinators. (Cabbages and Beautiful Things)

I appreciate the cool  architectural statement Yucca makes year round.  I knew they attracted a special moth to pollinate them, but, I didn't know that they provide a cool respite for insects to hide  during the hot weather.

Although, my garden is mostly natives, I flipped for Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon'.  Take a look at its wispy leaved, golden late fall color and then add to that, very early blooming, honey scented flowers covered with bees and you'll totally understand how come this exotic made the cut.   I had hoped it would be dressed in its fall colors when the asters were blooming, but, I believe I appreciate this late color even more.

Last year my mettle was tested
The flowers may be gone for the season,  but, a gardener can enjoy cut flowers in the house and textures, foliage, colors and art in a garden year round.


PS Now, please pop over to May Dreams Gardens, where our delightful hostess, Carol,  has set up the Mr Linky magic carpet ride  to more Bloom Day posts than you can imagine.   After that, make sure to stop by Digging to see Foliage Follow-Up. Pam says it’s a way to remind ourselves of the importance of foliage in the garden.

* magic carpet clip art
Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone."


  1. Your garden looks a lot like mine right now. There is one lingering flower on the honeysuckle by the house. It looks pretty sorry. This warmer than usual weather is surprising this year. Happy GBBD and FF.

  2. Your garden is still quite lovely, dear Gail. The tulips make my heart pound with their vivid beauty! I forget sometimes what a wonder of nature the tulips are. Give me orange any day!

  3. After telling people for years to plant Ogon Spiraea, I finally put one in my own yard. What a great plant.

    Even though much of your overall landscape is brown, it is still lovely and appropriate for this time of year. Happy GBBD and happy holidays to you and your family.

  4. I love the cabbage or kale. I never thought of leaving it in the garden for pollinators. Thank you.I always learn something from your site.

  5. I'm not a big fan of orange, but for some reason I like orange tulips, too, and planted more of them this fall. Yours are beautiful, store-bought or not. You may not have any blooms outdoors, but your garden certainly is colorful, Gail--that's a gorgeous spirea!

  6. Would we love the flowers and color of the spring and summer as much if we had it around us all year? We would miss the beauty of these browns in favor of flamboyance. Love your foliage.

  7. The kale reverberates in your garden in that color. I love this time of year for all the rich colors of the season. Especially at a time of day when the light shines through or bounces off of the leaves. You have many images such as these so wonderfully captured. Beautiful double-dipped post.

  8. Nope, I "don't mind plants arrayed in shades of brown, red, orange and beige" and think your fall/winter garden looks lovely. There's plenty of interest there for sure, and I love orange and purple too. Thanks for joining in Foliage Follow-Up, Gail!

  9. The blooms may be sparse but the beauty is not. And I love that cabbage..I haven't seen one quite like that.

  10. Gail the wild natural look is my fav...the spent flowers and seed heads are lovely!!!

  11. Beautiful! You must have so many happy birds in your garden!

  12. Still phenomenally attractive Gail. Right now I'd love some browns instead of ice encrusted white...

    I'll be looking for some of those gorgeous tulips after the new year. Our stores never have them till then. Lovely post.

  13. Dear Gail, I love your browns especially when in contrast with your vivid purples. Your garden still looks magical. The warm colors in the tulip petals are a delight too. Lovely, Lovely. Sending you best wishes. Carol

  14. Hi Gail,
    Your comment meant a lot to me...about my garden bromeliads. Thanks. :-)
    I love your blue bottle tree and all the other blues and purples in your garden. The purple kale/cabbages will match perfectly. That's a cool idea.
    I also love all the textures of those brown grasses. Keep warm.
    David/ :-)

  15. Love that splendid bottle tree!

    Happy Holidays to you Gail!

  16. I am a bit late here, but early for the Wildflower Wednesday. Your garden still looks fabulous even if mostly brown. Those bottle trees and purple chairs give a lot of difference too. But that cabbage is really stunning among them, oh how beautiful. We cannot grow them here but in our very small highlands North of the country.

  17. Love the picture of the backlit leaf! The winter garden has a beauty all its own and this post does a wonderful job of illustrating it at its best. Warmest holiday wishes.

  18. To my Upcountry color starved eyes, there is a rainbow of delight in your winter garden. It's going to take some getting used to here, it's only browns, and the occasional dark evergreen.

    Oh, and white from the snow.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson