Plant combo of the week – Daffodil ‘Mt Hood’ and Grape Hyacinth ‘Blue Spike’

Today I am rolling out a new feature on the blog – “Plant Combo of The Week” – where I’ll feature a plant tandem from my own garden that I am digging. We all know that our flowers and foliage look that much better with a partner or foil and I’ll do my best to highlight some of my favorites.

Since today is February 1st and spring is within earshot, I’ll give you a bulb combo I’ve had going for three years now. It is Narcissus (Daffodil) ‘Mount Hood’ and Muscari (Grape Hyacinth) ‘Blue Spike’.

The photo above was taken when both were in peak bloom, near the end of April and into early May here in my zone 6B garden. They typically look like this for a good two weeks. I am desperate for color at that time of year so this vignette is a welcome sight.

I had written a post about Daffodil ‘Mount Hood’ a few years back, so feel free to check that out if you desire more info. One of the more interesting features of ‘Mt Hood’ is that the flowers emerge yellow, and then quickly transform to an ivory white.

 

While this daffodil/hyacinth combo has only been together for 3 years, I’ve had the ‘Mount Hood’ daffodils for 7 years now and they show no signs of slowing down. I let the foliage die back completely and feed the bulbs each summer and I assume that has aided in their longevity.

The Muscari ‘Blue Spike’ foliage emerges in the fall and in the winter (I can see it right now out my front window) depending on intermittent warm spells, often dies back fully and then reemerges in spring. And the rabbits nibble it like mad. But even with that, they still perform and bloom without issue. I haven’t had a bloom chowed on to date.

 

I do have to admit that these are in the one spot where I have good soil drainage because they would never survive the winter with wet feet.

They are also in partial shade and don’t seem to mind even though full sun is the ideal exposure.

The ‘Blue Spike’ blooms get no taller than 6″ and have a decent fragrance but nowhere near that of other hyacinths.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s hear it for Veronica ‘First Love’

Let me kick this off by saying Awwwwww. Is there a better plant/flower name than Veronica ‘First Love’? We need it now, don’t we? I’m blushing as I type this, and you may be puking but that is OK, I think together we can agree this is a sweet looking perennial, no?

Veronica 'First Love'

After a quick glance at my plant spreadsheet, it looks like I first planted this in the spring of 2015. Normally I prefer to snip the flowers off of a plant when first stuck in the ground so the plant’s energy can go into root development, but this one was an exception. I left all of the flowers on my three Veronica ‘First Love’ for immediate impact and haven’t looked back since.

These bloom FOREVER. The photo above (Catmint included) is from the middle of June. The photo below (with Karl Foerster grass, Coneflower ‘Fragrant Angel’) is from a few weeks after that.

Veronica 'First Love'

And then a few weeks after that …

Veronica 'First Love'

… and even hints of color extending into the middle of September.

Veronica 'First Love'

More Veronica ‘First Love’ info:

  • Full sun or partial shade. Mine are in partial shade and performing beautifully.
  • Sizes out at 12″ x 12″, maybe a smidge larger.
  • Deer resistant … so far. Don’t hold me to it.
  • As referenced above, blooms early summer and into fall.
  • Pruning – while I snip my other Veronica regularly, I’ve left these alone so far. I may dabble this upcoming summer. You’ll see the results here for sure.
  • Soil preference seems to run the gamut and as usual, mine are thriving in clay that remains consistently wet.

With their small size, Veronica ‘First Love’ would seem to best used in the front of a border and will have the greatest impact when planted in high numbers. And make sure they are planted in odd numbers or you’ll have 7 years bad luck, or something like that.

The pink blooms mix well with so many other colors and I’m a huge fan of how mine look mixed in with Catmint. Pat on back complete.

So talk to me, who else has this and what do you think?

 

 

 

Baptisia ‘Carolina Moonlight’

Today’s plant recommendation is Baptisia ‘Carolina Moonlight’.

baptisia 'carolina moonlight'

 

Three years ago I purchased a very small plug of this perennial from Bluestone Perennials figuring if I love the purple varieties with such a passion, why not dabble in yellow blooming cultivars as well.

Color me happy to date.

Within only one year’s time, I had myself some blooms and it hasn’t stopped doubling in size ever since. To the shock of no one who has ever read a post on this blog, I like the way it looks best when in combination with ornamental grasses, as seen in the photo below.

baptisia 'carolina moonlight'

 

Some other notable facts about Baptisia ‘Carolina Moonlight’:

  • Maxes out around 3′ to 4′ tall and wide, similar to its purple blooming brethren.
  • To date, it has been 100% deer resistant although I just jinxed it so buyer beware.
  • The blooms emerge in the middle of May and last a good 3-4 weeks in my zone 6B garden.
  • The blooms are a butter yellow so you fans of yellow blooms will dig these big time.
  • Survives in zones 4-9.
  • There is no specific soil preference as it is listed as preferring medium to dry soil but mine has been in wet soil for years now without issue.
  • As with other Baptisia, it is a tough as nails plant once established and it is recommended that it not be moved once established. Even a serial plant relocator like myself knows to leave these in one spot and walk away.

In early spring, the Baptisia stems emerge, not too unlike a peony.

 

The blooms start to emerge in mid April and are almost as impactful as when they are in full bloom.

baptisia 'carolina moonlight'

 

 

And then one day, boom, they’ve arrived.

baptisia 'carolina moonlight'

The dark stems are a nice touch aren’t they?

Baptisia ‘Carolina Moonlight’ has bloomed at the same time as many of my peonies so there is an opportunity for a kick butt color combo.

 

After the bloom period, I prefer to keep all of the spent/dried seedheads on my Baptisia as they retain a level of interest and lend a different look in the garden as the summer wears on and eventually meets autumn.

 

So what do you think?

Do any of you have this in your garden?

Are there any other cultivars you recommend?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helenium (Sneezeweed) ‘Mariachi Series’

There are very few people in my “circle” who give a rat’s ass about my garden. I know, sad but true.

But I’ll be fine.

Every once in a while, however, a visitor will ask to tour my garden. You would think I’d be all pumped up, but no.

My first instinct is to say “Oh hell no.” Those massive weeds hidden on the side of the house will be exposed. All areas of the garden currently “under construction” will need to be explained away. Can’t we just walk through this blog where all looks perfect? Where I can control what you can and cannot see.

Eventually I will relent and take the visitor by the hand into my little private world of plants. But before any tour commences, I make sure I answer a few questions quietly to myself so I know how to proceed with my visitor.

“When asked ‘what plant is this?’, do I give them the Latin name and sound like a pompous ass or the common name which I actually don’t know in most instances?”

The easiest way to know how to proceed here is to determine the plant knowledge of your visitor. I try and ask them something simple like “What is your favorite plant?” and then study the response. While you may not get all of the necessary intel, it can often be quite telling.

“Do I initiate the walk and the direction it takes or allow my visitor to make that decision?”

I almost always let them take the lead. I like to see if my garden layout and structure naturally leads them where I want them to go. This is where I hope my paths pull them in and make them want to explore what is around the corner.

“Do I allow my visitor to walk IN the garden risking soil compaction or plant stomping or be up front and threaten physical violence should they venture anywhere beyond the lawn?”

I tend to have faith in my visitor and their understanding of garden tour etiquette. However, if it is a dopey male friend, I have no issue laying down the law.

How much is too much information?

This question is ultimately what prompted today’s post. I had originally planned a straight forward piece on a few of my favorite Sneezeweed plants. But then I rememberd back to this past summer when I was walking the garden with a friend who stopped and admired my massing of these Sneezeweed.

“What are these?”

Here were my options for answering:

A. Sneezeweed (common name)

B. Helenium (Latin name)

C. Those are Helenium or Sneezeweed, dwarf in nature and are part of the somewhat newly introduced ‘Mariachi Series’ which includes ‘Sombrero’, ‘Salsa’ and ‘Siesta’.

I answered “C” and lost my visitor’s attention from that point forward.

The lesson here: Always answer “A” and move on.


All kidding aside, I am in love with all of the Helenium ‘Mariachi Series’ plants. They have been thriving for me since year one (three years ago). They bloom profusely all summer into fall, have never been nipped by the deer or rabbits and come back year after year.

Some quick info on these beauties:

  • Size is about 20″ x 24″
  • Survives zone 3-9
  • Prefers full sun
  • Blooms from June to September
  • Likes some moisture but not too wet. Mine have survived a few wet winters to date.

But to really sell these, I’ll allow you to take a look at some photos I’ve taken this past year from summer through fall.

Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I like it

I felt an itch today.

An itch to garden, whatever that means.

I walked my grounds in flip flops and a t-shirt because it was a pleasant 60 degrees outside.

I desperately wanted to weed. Or dig. Or snip.

But that opportunity didn’t exist.

The birds were raising hell throughout the backyard and I decided maybe running around and trying to photograph them might scratch the itch.

It sort of did.

 

 

Damn it is difficult to get them to sit still. Oh well.

When I was done I took one last pic before I walked through the front door.

Pat on back time.

My garden looks so much better in winter than it has before.

I actually stopped and let it all soak in.

I like gardens.

And gardening.

Even in winter.

 

A few quick items

A couple of quick things today.

I recently wrote an article through my Medium account that was ultimately picked up by the website – “The Good Men Project”. It’s all about my love for flowers and how it plays into gender. I would love for you to check it out if you get a chance. You can read it here:

I Love Flowers, I’m a Dude

Also, if you haven’t seen it already, Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed) was named the 2017 Perennial Plant of the Year.

I have tried for years to grow this plant in my garden and it has never thrived. My assumption has always been that my soil is to wet for it survive the winter but wanted to get all of your thoughts? I have had it reseed each year but again, it has never established itself beyond one season.

 

 

 

Santa Rosa Gardens – “My Garden Box”

One of the nice perks of writing a garden blog is that there are opportunities to test out products from various garden and plant vendors. I could write an entire post about some of the more bizarre offers I’ve received the past 7 years so there is a need to find the flowers among the weeds. I’ve probably said “no thanks” 95% of the time.

Many times in the past I’ve mentioned that my go to purveyor for ordering plants online, especially grasses, is Santa Rosa Gardens. I’ve even held multiple contests giving away gift certificates to this nursery. Santa Rosa Gardens has never failed me and all of the plants I’ve purchased from them over the years are still thriving in my garden today.

So when Santa Rosa Gardens reaches out and asks me to sample/trial a product, I’m all ears. This happened a few weeks back when they asked me to try out their “My Garden Box” product.

**A quick disclaimer** This product was provided to me free of charge and no expectations were set in terms of a review.

“My Garden Box” is a subscription service where Santa Rosa designs a custom crafted collection of plants and gardening goods on a monthly basis and delivers them to those who sign up. Think of it as a “Wine of the Month Club” but with plants in a deftly themed format.

Or to describe it more specifically, as pulled right from their website:

Seasonal Plants, Tools & Living Decor and a Touch of DIY

I’ll provide some additional details in a bit as I first want to show you the contents of what I received in my inaugural box.

The box arrived just before the holidays and that old familiar logo put a smile on my face when I found it on the front doorstep.

Upon opening it, I was surprised to see that there was a lot more inside than expected. I could have read up on what to expect before opening the box, but I’m a I-like-to-be- surprised kind of guy.

Here is what was inside, after opening each of the carefully wrapped and protected items.

Now I have to admit I’m typically a dig hole, drop plant in hole kind of gardener and crafty plant stuff can be a struggle for me. That is why I have a smart wife (who loves all of this even more than I do) who can hold my hand along the way. On top of that, each item came with detailed instructions, simple enough that even this dope couldn’t screw it up.

For me personally, I immediately jumped to the gigantic Amaryllis bulb. It is ‘Apple Blossom’ and wouldn’t you know it, my wife’s personal favorite. Score one for good garden blogger husband.

In no time, that bulb was planted according to the easy to consume directions and it sits on my windowsill just waiting for the growth to kick in.

The “box” included the bulb and the stones and the glass bowl you see above.

Next in line was the Tillandsia “Airplant” in a hanging glass ornament terrarium. Who knew such a thing existed? Yes, I know what you are thinking, dreams do come true. It fits right in with the living decor movement.  

And yes, that is a Hello Kitty ornament. Don’t judge. I have an 11 year old daughter.

The kit included the Tillandsia, the glass ornament terrarium, faux snow, faux ornaments/gifts and faux moss/grass. Crafty ONG put it all together with no problem and has properly followed the directions by soaking the plant once a week. It still sits on our Christmas tree as I type this and I’m not exaggerating when I say 7-10 people have specifically asked about this ornament ever since it made its way on there.

The final item in the box is this classic looking soap dispenser that has become the default soap dispenser in our kitchen every since it arrived.

If my math serves me correctly, that is three items that have made a big impact in the Markowski household over the holidays.

You can get all of the details as to how the subscription service works here.

I like the fact that you can do it for a year automatically, 3 months automatically or try it one time. There is something about getting this during the quiet time of year in terms of gardening here in the Northeast US. A little ray of sunshine through the bleakness.

I admittedly know little about houseplants and I am using this opportunity to get myself acquainted with them. It is a nice way to get the hands dirty even while indoors. The Tillandsia is my gateway houseplant.

I’d love to get your thoughts on this product/service. What do you think? Would you consider trying it out? Would you ever give it as a gift? Have you ever done anything like it in the past? Would you be interested in a giveaway for a subscription (wink wink)?

Thanks in advance and thank you to Santa Rosa Gardens for the opportunity to test drive this exciting product.

Journal entry #1 – January 2, 2017

Hi there.

I was going to start this with “Dear Diary” but that sounded very 1980’s teen girl-like. I am going to turn 45 this calendar year and it’s time I mature as a writer. Fortunately for me, this is a personal journal entry and no one will be reading this. Still, if I ever want to expand beyond “cute post”, I need to embrace a more mature writing style.

You’re probably wondering why I’m writing to you like this. Very astute observation. I’ve actually never done this “personal journal” thing before but without proclaiming it as an official “resolution”, I have quietly promised myself that I would write daily. Chances are slim that I will stick to it but only you will know that.

The inspiration to write daily comes from a book I’ve raved about before “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. Her concept of “morning pages” piqued my interest a few months back and I’m now ready to embrace the practice. This means a daily routine of writing each morning as a means of clearing the brain. The writing isn’t intended to ever be published but the hope is by removing the clutter, the clear and sharp writing will follow.

As you may or may not know, I’ve been writing regularly through the writing platform at medium.com and I love it. In case you ever wanted to check it out, click here. The ability to write about non-gardening stuff came at a time when I felt a bit burnt out on garden writing. I’m still not sure where things go from here but I know I haven’t lost the passion for gardening and writing is who I have become so chances are garden writing sticks around for a while still.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized I need “morning pages” specifically for garden writing. I’m all over the place with it so I need to work things out through this sheltered and hidden communication means we have here. I just need you to listen, not judge and let me work it all out over the next few months. You cool with that?

If so, here’s my first attempt at employing my garden writing windshield wipers. It will be rambling, odd and hard to follow, but know the goal is to come out firing on all cylinders on the other side. “Morning pages” are supposed to be hand written but my hand hurts after writing with a pen for any longer than 45 seconds so that is why I am typing it out here.

Again, the smart move was to do this in secret because if any readers were to get a hold of this, well, they may not be readers any more. Never let them know that you are a weirdo.

So here we go and thank you in advance for allowing me to experiment here. The inaugural spewing of thoughts will be generic today but I hope to make them hyper specific as I proceed ahead over the next few months.


When I walked outside this morning I loved the winter garden. I am so “I hate winter”, “I like winter” that it is driving me insane. Today I like.

At the same time, I think spring once January hits. But I’ve lost my usual gusto when trying to find new growth in March but I hope it reappears this year. Life has a way of getting in the way.

Do I have too many grasses?

I’m sick of my own writing and how I sound? Is that normal?

I’m dreading cutting down the grasses. Do I have too many?

Is this the year I abandon growing tomatoes and veggies all together? Every frickin year I have big plans and can never stick with it. Does that make me a bad person.

When will I be comfortable enough to allow others to see my garden? If I were a betting man I’d say the answer is never. That sucks.

Do I try and journal my garden more seriously this year. Ditch the sarcasm and goofiness and just show the results? I may like to try that.

Why do I still get embarrassed when someone says “Ask John, he is way into gardening”?

Usually by now, I have my gardening catalogs set aside for some online shopping. I’m thinking about not buying anything this year. Is that good or bad?

Fuck hydrangeas.

 

 

 

 

The results of my gardening resolutions since 2010

I dove way back into the blog archives for today’s post. Inches of dust were swept away and endless doses of humiliation were consumed just to prove a point to all of my readers.

I suck.

You should go elsewhere.

I’m a phony.

This is no exaggeration. I’m not playing the sympathy card.

I traveled back in blog time and collected all of my prior end of the year garden resolutions and tabulated my success, ahem, failure rate.

I will keep you in suspense in terms of a % until the end of this post.

Each and every resolution has been copied in its exact wording from the original post. I will add my current day commentary after each one and whether each one was a “success” or “failure”.

You can click on the year to view the original posts if indulging in other’s humiliation is your thing.

Allow the carnage to begin.


2011
I vow to include my children more in the gardening process – Not even close. I haven’t even attempted to engage them for years now. Fail.

I will stay on top of the pruning, especially those perennials that require it for size control. There were some attempts back a few years but nothing since. Fail.

I will grow even more of my own food and do it in a sensible way. I have no idea what “sensible” meant but bottom line, I’ve grown a few tomatoes and that is it. I’m lazy. Fail

I will dig like a champ, put my body through complete torture and revel in the pain. I took on some bigger projects that following year but very little since. I hate myself. Fail.

I will continue to incorporate more and more native plants. This has been a focus every year to date. Success.

I will admit defeat to the deer. Yeah right. I assume this meant to only plant truly deer resistant plants. I’m still dumb. Fail.

I will do my best to stop and “smell the roses” more often. Huh? Fail.


2012
Expand, expand, expand -I want to add more paths and “destinations” that will encourage you to want to explore more. Very little has changed since then. I’m really disappointed in myself retroactively. Fail. 

Foliage, foliage, foliage – The key is to focus on foliage with contrasting colors, shape and textures. Hmmmm. I’m still a foliage gardener but I know what I truly intended here. More exciting and dramatic foliage. There have been some attempts but not to the level I intended. Fail.

Take advantage of raised beds – This is a simple one. Raised beds eliminate the poor drainage issue and allow me to grow herbs and vegetables I normally could not. I still have only the original one and have added exactly zero since. Fail.

Give up on the plants I know will not thrive – It is all about survival of the fittest and if you can’t keep up, you’re gone. Good bye Phlox paniculata, Good bye daylillies, Good bye Geranium ‘Brookside’. I still have all three. Fail.

Visit more gardens and get my ass inspired. The aforementioned ass has not been inspired at all. Fail.


2013

Soil test – as soon as the soil is workable in spring, I will get my samples out for testing and I cannot wait to see the results. Enough of the speculation and guesswork, time to get scientific. Didn’t happen. Fail.

Compost – it will take some time to get the production going, but thanks to that wonderfully inspiring GGW episode from last night, I now know where I can purchase compost in bulk. Didn’t happen. Fail.

Education – this is more of a keep reading, visit local gardens, talk to other gardeners, look into becoming a Master Gardener and simply get in the dirt kind of thing. I am now crying. Fail.


2014I tried reverse psychology heading into 2014. You’ll see, very little changed.

Growing your own food really is a waste of time. I would much rather just buy our produce from a big old supermarket and pay more for it. So let’s make a promise to grow less fruits and vegetables this year. See prior resolution and prior fail. Fail.

I love having to move large shrubs once they outgrow their location. The pain of digging it out and trying not to destroy all of the plants in its path once it is unearthed is the frickin best. I vow to ignore proper spacing rules in 2014. I have not gained any patience over the years with spacing. Fail.  

I love taking my chances on a plant that deer love to chow down on. Those plants that are not deer friendly, like Allium, are so boring. Again, see prior resolution and subsequent fail. Fail.  

I find berries on shrubs/trees to be such a distraction and an unnecessary mess. Plus all those annoying birds come and devour them. No more plants with berries in 2014. Does it count if berry producing plants have been erratically relocated and/or have been nibbled by deer? I didn’t think so. Fail.  

One of my favorite moments in summer is when we go on vacation and I fail to line someone up to help water the containers. I love the mystery of returning home to see if any of the flowers or even the plants survived. Pure adrenaline. I am going to do more of the same in 2014 and even try to plan our vacation for the hottest and driest part of summer. Beyond epic fail. I fried my containers so badly this year and we didn’t even take a long vacation. Fail.  

The wear and tear, cost and effort of cutting the grass is so worth it. It is so rewarding to spend most of my free time sitting on a lawn tractor. So let’s remove more of those garden beds and add more lawn. While it hasn’t been on a large scale, I have continued to chop away at the lawn. Well look at that. Success.

Native plants are so uninteresting and do not add a lot to the garden. In 2014 we eradicate them all and add more yuccas and hostas. This is hard to fathom, two successes in a row. Success. 

Ignore what my daughter has to say and do my best to fail to live up to her expectations. I have no clue what this was about, but safe to say I’ve failed. Fail.

Remove all blue foliage plants from my garden. I have added some “blue” the past few years. Yeah me. Success.

Keep ignoring my conditions and try to fit a square peg in a round hole. I refuse to attempt to grow a bog garden. This pisses me off. My garden is ripe for a bog or rain garden. Why I haven’t tried is beyond me. Fail. 


2015 – None made. I’m sure I failed with many unwritten resolutions as well.


2016Even the year I try non-gardening resolutions, well, read on.

Stop drinking coffee at night. I managed to stay away for 4 days last week. Before that, not pretty. Fail. 

Make my kids watch the original “Star Wars” movie. Not even close. And they have no interest in “Rogue One” either. Fail.

Floss every night. Does every other week count? Fail.

Read one book a month. I think I managed 3 in 2016. Fail.

Watch one soccer game, I mean match, in its entirety. Why did I care about this again? Doesn’t matter now. Fail.

Eat vegetarian for one week. More like one meal. Fail. 

Cook one meal from scratch each month. Does placing an already prepped meal in the oven and applying the appropriate time count? Fail. 

Call a sports talk radio show. Fail.

More videos on this blog. How many did you see here in 2016? Fail.

Pretend to be a professional photographer for a day. What does this even mean? Fail?

At least finalize the “concept” for a gardening book. Well what do you know, here is one where I can proudly say “Hell yes”. 2017 is the year we see “Ornamental Grasses: A Love Story” come to fruition. Success.    

Write for another blog/publication. Wait, I didn’t see this coming. Another success in the realm of writing? I’m sensing a trend here. Expanding my writing on Medium has already opened some doors and I’m so thrilled to have found my way there. Success.

Stop the PennEast pipeline. The delays have been promising but there is still a long way to go. TBD.


So here is our final tally:

Resolutions made since 2010: 38

Successes: 6

Fails: 31

TBD: 1

Success rate: 22%

With that horrific success rate in mind, it is time to create some resolutions in for 2017 that are just about guarantees. Resolutions that will require little to no effort. Resolutions that are virtual locks.

You are free to remain skeptical based on past numbers.


My 2017 gardening resolutions:

Smile a lot.

Be thankful for each and every moment spent in the garden I’ve weaved for myself.

Remember the stories behind each and every plant.

Never feel pressure to do a thing.

Be aware of the escape the garden provides.

Understand the healing powers of a garden.

Embrace the words that emerge from a summer walk in the garden and enjoy the feeling of typing them.

And most of all, understand how blessed I am to be able to dig out that enormous ornamental grass, chop it up and create 5 more. To be healthy enough and strong enough to still be able to do it. To embrace the patience to watch the new ones mature. To have the resilience to see that grass book become a reality. To never forget the excitement of planting that first grass, a stake in the ground announcing the arrival at our family homestead. Understanding that having family as backbone has allowed me to throw myself into the garden and share its wonders with my readers.

Here’s to 2017 and tossing bullshit resolutions to the side.

Enjoy my friends.

 

The winter garden is the best, or it isn’t.

How shall I deliver this post today?

We can go one of three ways:

A. Be authentic and real

B. Lie my ass off

C. Rely on sarcasm to hedge between the two

Authentic and real is generally the right thing to do. But today is the exception.

Lying one’s ass off, I’ve been told, is not nice. Even if the lie is to protect someone or something or to make you the reader feel good out of the endless goodness that resides in my heart, it will ultimately destroy or erode my credibility. We can’t have that.

When all is said and done, sarcasm is the right answer. As it usually is.

So I choose “C“.


There is nothing better than the feeling of nose hairs freezing and intertwining within 2 seconds of setting foot outside.

It reminds me that the joy of feeling painfully cold is back.

It reminds me of the fun challenge of trying to not face plant when your insane dog pulls you viciously down the icy front stairs at 5:48 A.M.

Winter is flat awesome.

There is nothing quite like the sight of frozen and dead and brown.

 

It is not uncommon to hear me joyfully humming “Winter Wonderland” as the earth crunches underneath my feet.

 

Even as my ears form icicles and my tears freeze and shatter before hitting the ground, I stand and ponder the circle of life that is my garden. Life, like wow.

 

Falling down repeatedly on the frozen earth is so worth it, just to see the frozen individual grass strands.

 

That frozen what-was-once-a-Joe-Pye-Weed-bloom is just as beautiful as when the monarch butterflies graced its presence months back. It’s like fine china gifted from the gods of the winter garden and I am so blessed to have been provided with this rare gift.

 

You know what is underrated in terms of fun? When you can’t feel your fingers while taking a photo. The challenge of pushing that little button is so cool.

 

See that owl house in the background? It is going to be a hoot trying to get back there without stepping in 10 inch deep puddles of frigid water.

 

The excitement generated by hoping the frozen tree branches don’t break off and deform the shape of the tree is palpable.

 

Why I don’t cut down my grasses for winter reason #1,453. Something to look at from inside the warm house. Wait, that wasn’t sarcastic. Sorry.

God I love the magic of the winter garden.

Much better.

 

You know those people who love winter and the snow and the cold? They’re great aren’t they?

 

OK so I added this photo solely for the purpose of showing off our new columns on the front porch and the fact that we disposed of our old rusted railings which I’ve had to cut out of photos since the beginning of this blog.

A new beginning.

 

I so wanted to help this grass get back to its original shape but I got distracted from all of the other fun winter events.

 

How exciting, you haven’t seen this photo a hundred times over.

 

Heuchera on ice. Riveting.

 

I can’t even …