There is nothing like a catalog of pictures to help remind oneself that the garden transitions in large and small ways throughout the seasons. I have tried to find pictures of the long border at the same angle but, alas, some are looking east as in the first picture and others are facing west. Hopefully, you will get a sense of the seasons here at Ledge and Gardens and thanks to all of you who have visited this year and left comments. Next year starts tomorrow. I will take pictures from the same angle of each garden every month and that is New Year's resolution #1. I hope I can remember that one after New Year's Eve partying.
I am breathing a sigh of relief. The garden is now covered with a good eight to ten inches of insulation in the form of snow. December was very cold and with no snow cover, the ground freezes much faster. The weekend nor'easter took care of that and while the winds swirl the snow in mini cyclones, all plants are dormant and resting easy under the new white blanket. The trees are smacked on the northeast side with the blast of snow from this storm. Ice has built up on the windows creating mini glaciers. The winter garden looks better now than in August when the weeds seemed to take over. Clean lines and mounds of snow cover the garden. Still there are a few very bright spots showing in the various beds. The gravel garden has just a few plants including this yucca.
In the island border, Cornus s. 'Arctic Fire' is very hot amidst the frozen surface. I feel lucky to be tucked into a cozy house with the wind howling outside. I wish all could be so comfortable as the plants under their new blanket and me and my family tucked in the warmth of our home. Rest well.
I must confess,
I find some peace and happiness
in the quiet of the night,
the snore of the dogs,
the tree filled with lights,
and the air full of awe.
Best wishes to you and yours for a magical and peaceful holiday.
It is not looking like we will have a white Christmas this year. This December has been colder than normal. What is normal you might ask? A fair question and usually December in RI is moderate with normal highs around 42 F and lows around 26 F. I know moderate is a relative term but New England winters, once they arrive, can be as dismal as the frozen tundra with little of interest in the landscape except the pattern of animal tracks in the snow. On the 9th of December the low was 4F in my garden. In spite of these cold temperatures, there is one plant in the garden which has buds. A flash of white caught my eye during a recent morning walk and upon close examination, this hellebore, nestled in the dried oak leaves, was shining brightly. I know they will open on a warm day but for now they rest in suspended animation waiting for warmth that may never arrive. It is living up to its common name, The Christmas Rose, Helleborus niger. The common name is associated with a folk legend about a girl who had no gift for the Christ child and her tears sprouted in the snow as a flower. Hellebores are not members of the rose family but of the Ranunculacae or buttercup family and there are over twenty species with countless cultivars on the market. The species name, niger, refers to the plant's black roots. I am not going to dig mine up to check this fact. Some species of hellebores are quite toxic although H. niger is not too 'wicked'. Cornell has a great article on hellebores here should you wish more information. The foliage is evergreen although by springtime it will be tattered and torn and require snipping back to make room for newly emerging, fresh foliage. I have several hellebores and all are hybrids but this is the only one blooming. I am calling it blooming even though the flowers are not unfurled. If this were blooming in June would I have even noticed its small white flowers? In the darkness of December, it is a welcome little beacon.
I went to the Farmer's Market a couple weeks ago. My garden still has a bit of lettuce, arugula and parsley but this past week the temperatures dipped to single digits and there is little left to harvest. The Farmer's Market in Pawtucket, RI hosts dozens of vendors selling everything from root vegetables to cupcakes. There is maple syrup, farm raised beef and chicken, sprouts, mushrooms and flowers. One of my favorite finds were these tiny turnips. I know, they look like radishes but they are turnips. I bought two bunches and roasted them. If you like turnips, these are tender and delicious. The romanesco broccoli was pretty with its lime green spirals but I held off and will have to take a trip back with the hope that there are some left. I had a week's vacation between the visit and this post so meal planning was at a standstill. Watching the people at a Farmer's Market is just as interesting as checking out what is available. It is an eclectic and fascinating group. Who visits a Farmer's Market? I will have to conduct interviews next time but it is safe to say that the shoppers at the market are interested in supporting the local farmers and securing fresh produce for their meals. There is color, noise, energy and fragrance at the farmer's market.
Have you visited a Farmer's Market lately and if so, where? Were you satisfied?
It has been chilly this week although there was a brief episode of 60 degrees. Now, it is raining hard but several mornings I awoke to heavy frost. In the spirit of Three for Thursday hosted by Cindy of My Corner of Katy, I am posting three pictures of frost. Frost does paint each item with different strokes. Jack's brushstrokes are visible on the mirror ball. I would suspect that this leaf was air brushed with frost. These heuchera leaves were just simply splashed with frost. All is in decline although I think I see a spark of white over near the hellebores. Perhaps they will bloom for Christmas.