My foliage is mostly gone due to the snow and unseasonably low temperatures. However, I wanted to show a bit of my garden which you don’t normally see. Here’s an overview of about a quarter of the back garden (which was the third stage of the second garden). My first garden faces our street and will front the potager I am building this spring. See the evergreen on the left? That’s an Eastern redcedar, Juniperus virginiana, in Oklahoma, a true garden and environmental pest, but HH likes them trimmed up. They do provide some winter color and are one of our few native evergreens. As you can also probably see, I need to do some fence repair, part of the constant maintenance for this garden.
Now, for the foliage. There is something wonderful about not cleaning up the garden in fall, instead leaving it in situ. For one thing, small animals, like mice, birds and even rabbits benefit from the cover from predators. Many of them also appreciate the seeds and berries when left on the stem.
With some plants, their winter coats can also be quite beautiful. I know the rose canes below aren’t foliage, but they are representative of a major structural element in the terraced and back gardens. With at least twelve climbing roses, there are a lot of twisting rose canes. These provide excellent cover for visiting and later, nesting birds.
Usually, I have a lot of green leaves in the protected areas of the back garden, but not many this year. It’s okay. I’m used to a sea of brown and gray in the winter garden not filled with snow.
But, wait, is that blue I see? Oh, yes, it’s the front garden designed for year-round interest. Because much of it is evergreen, I forget about it during most of the year. If I’m not careful, I begin to see it only as structure and not for its intrinsic beauty. However, in winter, it truly shines. The Colorado blue spruce and the Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’ are two of my favorite plants. I planted the junipers next to Carex ‘Toffee Twist’, and the blue again the brown is so pretty.
There are always the ubiquitous nandinas so much a part of Oklahoma gardens. Still, we can have different varieties which show their unique foliage and berries.
What about all of the hollies in the front garden? There are many. Some are tall. Some are small. None of mine make berries, which is odd because I have three Ilex x ‘Conot’ Patriot hollies (which are supposed to be female). I wonder, do I need to create a harem for the male ‘Little Rascal’ hollies to create fruit? It’s something I’ll research and ponder for spring.
This finely textured mondo pine is the third replacement in this space. This one seems to be doing very well.
I always like posts where I compile a review of the current garden. It gives me time to celebrate what worked and think about editing that which didn’t. Many thanks to Pam from Digging, who originated the Foliage Follow-up to Bloom Day because many of our gardening friends rely more on foliage than blooms. Most gardeners rely on most anything to get us through winter, and this is another good reason to get outside and take pictures.
It’s all still beautiful, Dee. Hey! I need some of your pretty vegetable photos to include in my upcoming presentation. I know your vegetables were gorgeous!
Robin, thanks for your sweet words. You helped me with the bird photos. Your veggies are on their way.~~Dee
Dee — Your evergreens are so lovely – especially that Dwarf Mugo Pine. Reminds me of our trip to the Conifer nursery last year. What great specimens and what a hoot that gardener was! The first long shot of the garden and gate is beautiful – you should enter it in GGW’s winter contest.
Thanks Diana. Oh, maybe I will.~~Dee
Yes, yes, yes! Good girl, I LOVE it that you leave things untrimmed so that there is habitat for overwintering beneficials, and food for the birds and beasts.
Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island
Sharon, untrimmed is the new black. LOL.~~Dee
Dee: My Eastern red cedars all are limbed up courtesy of the four legged pests in my garden…deer. I will look at them now as neatly pruned. Your foliage is lovely.
Ha, Layanee, wonder why our deer won’t eat these garden pests?~~Dee
Interesting photos for all it’s winter.
Thank yo Joanne.~~Dee
A new discovery for me – I didn’t know about Foliage Follow-up until today. I used to have J ‘Blue Star’ in my garden – it’s a lovely plant for this time of the year. Hmm, must think about having another one when I revamp one of my borders later this year.
I like how GBBD gets us thinking about our gardens and encouraging improvement for the next year: it’s the perfect excuse to pause, see, reflect, then do. I wonder how many of us wouldn’t do that so much if it wasn’t for Carol’s and now Pam’s clever memes?
VP, I think Pam’s meme is really new. I love it though. Makes me think about the garden in another new way. Thanks for stopping by.~~Dee
To be honest, this foliage meme just passed me by–I don’t remember seeing it announced, but I love your post! The realities of the winter garden are so much more interesting than images of what few blooms may be about. I almost feel sorry I got rid of my evergreens.
Eliz, it’s pretty new. Pam started it last month I think. I’m sorry about your evergreens. We can’t have it all, can we? I so wish we could.~~Dee
Dee, although there are not many evergreens we can grow successfully, and it’s probably one of those destined to fail, I believe I must try that mugo pine. Much as I’d love to grow the blue spruce, I do know better than to try that one. Carolina Sapphire Arizona Cypress will have to suffice.
Gosh, Cindy, I don’t know if mugo would work in Houston or not. Hmmm.~~Dee
Not much to take pictures of around here, what with all the snow coverin most of my yardens. I’ll be watchin for the hellebores to do something soon, perhaps they’ll smile for the camera when the time comes. Evergreens don’t interest me much, they’re too green, but at least they’re not white. (I’m not always so drab soundin Ms. Dee, it’s these northeast winters.)
TC, winters are sometimes long.~~Dee
Hi Dee, I do love the lilt to your words, it is like you are speaking right next to me in a calming sweet manner. Thanks. I love your foliage, but have to admit the blue stars are the most wonderful of the small evergreen shrubs. They have proven to grow in a variety of conditions here, never complaining and steadily growing, if slowly. Love that little pine too. We are drawn to all the mini conifers lately, it seems. Loved the bloom day shots as well as those lilting words again. 🙂
Thank you so much Frances.~~Dee
All of your gardens look lovely in winter. You can see the nice bones in your first photo. I do wish I could grow some of those conifers that you can – Blue Spruce, Mugo Pine. I’ve always loved those. Strange about your hollies. This year my Savannah hollies are holding on to their berries longer. There must still be a lot of food in the woods for the birds.
Jean, there must be.~~Dee
I’m a big fan of foliage, Dee, so I’m right with you on this post. Lovely textures and colours. Nandina is a plant that interests me–it doesn’t grow here, and i know it’s invasive in some spots, but it sure is attractive.
Yes, some of the berried nandinas are a real problem in parts of the U.S. None of mine are invasive. I have some that have fruit (not many) and others which do not. I like them, but feel like they’re overused in Oklahoma. It’s because they grow with nearly no care.~~Dee
Oh, that zebra grass and spirea combo looks great, and I’m glad you pointed out your rose canes, for they definitely count for Foliage Follow-Up and add winter interest (esp. covered in snow, I bet). Our native junipers are hated here too, but like your DH I enjoy them for their winter greenery and fragrance. And I love, love, love your blue evergreens. Wish I could plant them here. Thanks for participating, Dee!
Thanks Pam. I love that combo all year long. In the spring, the spirea blooms white, and the foliage emerges yellow. Then, it’s a yellow green which is the stripe in the grass. Then, they both turn yellow and finally a brown. Very pretty, I think.~~Dee
I like the blue green evergreen foliage against the brown leaves.
Me too Mother Nature. I love blue and brown.~~Dee
Thanks Dee … I especially love the 1st stunning photo! Since most of my winter interest is still covered in snow, I went with a dream post of my past June garden to sustain me 🙂
Hi Joey, I saw that on your site. I’m always ready to see beautiful June blooms and the recipes, c’est manifique!~~Dee
Lisa at Greenbow
Nice foliage Dee.
Thanks Lisa. It won’t be much different next month I’m afraid.~~Dee
nola at the alamo
In winter I enjoy seeing the architecture of plants; so different from their summer look. I see how nicely your rain chain is aging, the patina is really developing!
Hi Nola! Yes, the rain chain is becoming even more beautiful. I feel fortunate to have its music outside my kitchen window where the rain is falling even now.~~Dee
Mr. McGregor's Daughter
It’s too bad that we don’t stop to appreciate our hardworking conifers until winter. You have some beautiful ones. The ‘Blue Star’ Juniper is so cute.
So true, MMD. We should pay more mine to the conifers especially where I live because there aren’t many. The ‘Blue Star’ juniper thanks you.~~Dee
“Most anything to get us through winter” – so true! We cling to bark and lichen…Thanks for highlighting winter’s treasures.
Thanks Cyndy. It is so true.~~Dee