Bloom Day January 2009-Few But Faire

january-7-2008-009-2If it’s the fifteenth of the month, any month at all, it must be time for the Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day post. Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’ opens the show with something unusual causing, what is that darkness behind the twigs, shadows? Could it be the sun? This kind of light has been quite rare lately, we almost forgot what it looks like. Or how it brightens up photographs of the few flowers blooming now.january-11-1009-noncat-010-2H. ‘Diane’ is supposed to sport red flowers. These almost open blooms are the color we expect from this cultivar. Oh, back to overcast skies, is it? Even a brief glimpse of sunshine is welcome, even if it is just toying with us, and our camera.january-11-1009-noncat-012-2We will be showing closeups followed by a long shot for full disclosure of what the garden looks like mid bone chilling January. H. ‘Diane’ has many unopened buds. Last year there were only two flowers on this still young tree. Bud numbers have multiplied gratifyingly since then with extra water during bud formation last summer. The peak bloom is normally at the end of January here. If the sun can manage to show its face and warm things up, the witch hazel may burst forth right on schedule.january-4-2008-038-2Erica darleyensis ‘Mediterranean Pink’ and Calluna vulgaris ‘Firefly’ are a striking pair in the heath and heather bed.january-11-1009-noncat-005-2 There are two types of the Mediterraneans in this bed, with both pink and white blooms open now on these heaths, but the white flowers are much more difficult to capture clearly so only the pinks are being shown.january-11-1009-noncat-007-22The heather bed long shot shows how miniscule the flowers are but the evergreen needle like foliage offers good winter interest. This bed is not meeting the vision and may have to be redesigned one of these days. I would like to see more of the reddish callunas and less of the green ericas in here, since the flowers make such little impact from afar. In fact, this whole bed needs a redesign. The Jane magnolia will be allowed to stay, seen in the far right of the shot, but everything else had better prepare themselves to be uprooted, moved and/or replaced.december-28-2008-023-2This Helleborus niger was purchased in bloom at the grocer’s at Christmas time. I was astounded to see it among the african violets, orchids and amaryllis there. There were two plants, I bought one. The next time I went there were none. I wonder if the other purchaser put theirs right into the ground outdoors like I did? Albeit in a protected spot next to a stump holding a sundial.january-11-1009-noncat-017-2H. niger planted by stump with tag.january-4-2008-after-031-2The newest planting of pansies show a few blooms worthy of a portrait since they are planted in a protected spot in the front between the garage and the main house.january-11-1009-noncat-018-2The blue pot collection got a new member during Christmas while we were shopping at a nursery near Chickenpoet’s northeast Tennessee home. When pots are half price, a new one usually wants to come home with me. Yellow tulips ‘Big Smile’ are planted under the maroon and yellow pansy mix. We hope to be able to show a photo of this combo in a couple of months.january-12-2009-moss-037-2Some bloggers have shown their Helleborus orientalis in bloom already. There are many of those growing here and we have been checking the centers of the plants in hopes of a flower for this January bloom day post. This swollen bud looked promising on January 12, we will check back in a few days for progress.january-14-2009-frost-014-2Uh oh, the intense cold has caused the leafy parts to close up even tighter.january-14-2009-frost-044-2Are you still in there? Yes, is the answer, but please shut the door! It’s too cold out there for a floral display. Come back later when the weather is warmer, whenever than might be.january-12-2009-orchid-006-2Okay, we’ll go inside, my fingers are starting to tingle from the cold anyway. In the sunroom greenhouse Paphiopedilum Quasky #3 x Quaskey #4 has a couple of juicy fat buds. This reminds us of a little contest someone held last year around late January.february-23-2007-001-4It was a well known blogger, who posted about holding a Most Exotic Flower Contest. Fearless leader, Carol of May Dreams the very same thinker upper of Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day proposed a contest to showcase her night blooming cereus. As a new blogger with a little competitive streak, being naive and impulsive, I quickly located a photo of Quasky in bloom taken February 23, 2007 and entered it into the contest. Oops, the egg was on my face for I was the only other contestant. It was a rhetorical device, not a real contest it seems, and here I had thrown my paph in the ring. I honestly considered never blogging again, but instead picked my paph up, dusted my self esteem off and soldiered on. And am glad for it, too. Now a seasoned blogger of one year and one month, there will be no more entry into competitions, but we will watch from the bleachers and cheer for the particpants should any more contests arise.
Frances

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60 Responses to Bloom Day January 2009-Few But Faire

  1. LindaLunda says:

    OHhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!
    Dragonfire again!!
    And… ohhhh… spring…. ohhhh

    Hi Linda, HA, the blooms are the color of dragonfire, but it is VERY cold outside and will get even colder tonight, I hope the flowers, and the humans, can stay warm!
    Frances

  2. Janet says:

    Frances,
    Your photos always leave me in awe. They are just gorgeous. The close ups of the Erica are really beautiful. You capture these tiny little beauties wonderfully. Thanks for all these photos.. really makes you appreciate nature’s little wonders.
    Janet

    Hi Janet, thanks and welcome. It takes a lot of shots to get a good one of those tiny flowers, and no wind! I wanted to show the long shots too, even though they are not very pretty, to show what the garden really looks like through human eyes rather than the macro lens.
    Frances

  3. Gail says:

    Good Morning Frances! Fantastic witch hazel photos! I am totally pixalated by them;-) C&L’s Diane still has her leaves and I hope they add another layer of protection from the single digit cold that is heading our way! What a find at the grocery store…I am going to keep my eyes open every time I visit Krogers! The garden and it’s lovely beauties look fantastic Frances…I hope they stay warm tonight. Gail

    Good morning to you Gail, thanks. It is amazing how the witch hazel’s like their photos taken, very considerate of them. All protection is welcome now, they are calling for 60 hours of sub freezing temps here, unheard of, and not good for people or plants. My grocer’s, Ingles, has the smallest little floral section, but has pleasant surprises sometimes. You and yours try to stay warm also!
    Frances

  4. Frances,
    Another lovely tour of your gardens and your magical greenhouse!

    I am so intrigued with the heath and heather. Hellebores are on my list when I grow enough shade.

    Cameron

    Hi Cameron, thanks so much. The hellebores will grow just fine in sun too. The trees were too small to provide any shade when I planted big mama, which was brought here from my Texas garden. It had to be planted and has never failed to bloom, even when planted in mid July the first year.
    Frances

  5. joco says:

    Hiya Frances,

    I am so conditioned by the RHS maggie’s ‘The Garden’ terrible puns, that I read your title as “Few but fair between”. Glad you didn’t succumb to the trend :-)

    I still haven’t recovered yet from your surfeit of Azaleas a while back, so seeing actual colour out in your garden even now, didn’t surprise me too much.

    BTW, I wonder if my page is welcoming to you today. I tinkered with it yet again, and expect it to work finally.

    Hi Joco, thanks. Not knowing much about trends with the written word, or much else really, it was easy to not succumb. :-) Your page WAS welcoming to me and I enjoyed it very much, sitting back without having to click was a pleasure, thanks so much.
    Frances

  6. Randy says:

    Frances,
    What a wonderful show of blooms you have for us today! Thanks for the color. :-)

    Hi Randy, thanks. I was trying to show too, that it looks so much more colorful in a macro shot than in real sight! :-)
    Frances

  7. Lovely post Frances – you still have interest in your garden, I am particularly enchanted with the Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’
    K

    Hi Karen, thanks. Diane would be an excellent addition to your lovely garden. I am in the market for another witch hazel, space will be found for something that blooms at this bleak time of year!
    Frances

  8. Kathryn says:

    Good morning, Frances. I am totally envious of your blue pot collection. Are they clay? Such a wonderful shade of blue!! And I truly enjoy your pictures. My kids are up there in Sevierville and I was up for a visit Christmas before last and fell in love with that part of our US. Am planning on retiring there in a year or so. I am here in west coastal central Florida (44 degrees this morning – sorry!) Anyway, stay warm and take care. K

    Hi Kathryn, thanks. The blue pots are ceramic with a glaze that seems to protect them from the water freezing that would crack them. Except the rippled tall one which is plastic from Target! There are lots of retirees in this area, ones who want to see four seasons but a milder winter and not the excessive heat of summer in Florida. Being near your kids is the number one consideration of where you retire too!
    Frances

  9. tina says:

    Tons of blooms! Beautiful!! You are such a good designer and I enjoy the long shots for sure. Can’t wait to see what you do with that bed.

    Hi Tina, thanks. Tons of blooms of the tiny heaths, quantity over quality there! I am having fun with some Piet type thoughts for that bed, using plants I already have growing and some of the scads of seedlings that have started in the greenhouse it will be easy to fill it up. That might spur me on to redo some other less than stellar areas. New beds are more fun than maintaining old ones, don’t you think? :-)
    Frances

  10. Dave says:

    Nice macro shots! I really wish our witch hazel had done something this year. Darn deer. They just think they own the place!

    Hi Dave, thanks. That is unacceptable what the deer did to your witch hazel. Maybe a barrier of some sort, I have seen the bird netting used and even fishing line strung on fence poles to stop them. I have heard if they feel something with their nose, they will back off, but if hungry enough nothing will stop them other than a ten foot fence. If I had a deer problem, I would go with the ten foot fence in a small area anyway to protect the precious plants.
    Frances

  11. Such deep, rich colors to see in the middle of winter!

    And I kind of like the idea of a contest for most exotic flower. I probably would have entered, too! ;-)

    Hi Susan, thanks, and thanks for the support about the contest. I was so upset and ashamed, mostly since I had just barely gotten my feet wet with the blog and was unsure about etiquette issues. Now I would just laugh it off, and have forgotten about it except that orchid is about to bloom again, stirring up the memory pit. :-)
    Frances

  12. Brenda Kula says:

    Your incredible photos continue to stun me, Frances, even though I see them again and again! Keep up the wonderful display!
    Brenda

    Hi Brenda, thanks so much. Your house is really turning into a home, complete with your lovely quilts! :-)
    Frances

  13. Frances, those blooms do look cold but at least you still have them. It’s getting up to 9 above today if I’m lucky. Your bright colors and funny story warmed me up. Thank you!

    Hi Sarah, thanks, we are lucky to have anything at the moment. I hope they can survive the onslaught of cold that is blowing out way to stay for a while. I am so glad you found the story funny, it is funny now, to me. :-)
    Frances

  14. walk2write says:

    That lucky find of yours, the Helleborus, is certainly no pansy. It just bundles itself up against the cold, smart plant that one. I read your comment on TC’s post, the one about successful bloggers. You’re right about Blotanical. I feel a little guilty about not visiting my plot more often, since that is where I met most of my favorite garden-bloggers, including you, Frances. You have done a fantastic job in a very short period of time, contests or none.

    Hi W2W, thank you so much for those words of support, it means a lot to me. The plants are all huddled inside themselves right now, as the cold wind roars in from the north, and so am I.
    Frances

  15. Marnie says:

    Hi Frances, I really like the Erica darleyensis, that’s my favorite on this post. Such delicate blooms and interesting foliage.
    Marnie

    Hi Marnie, thanks. It is a fine plant, and I have several of them, too many in fact. Some will be removed, possibly to offspring Semi’s garden to make way for a more interesting design ala Semi-Piet school. :-)
    Frances

  16. gittan says:

    Oh, I enjoy your post as allways. You’re a few weeks before us and I’m longing for the Helleborus and the Pansies to come. Actually I want spring and I want it now!

    Hi Gittan, thanks so much. Many of the hellebores are budded, but we are in a severe cold snap right now, I know they will stay hidden inside their leaves for a while yet. I am ready for spring too, in a week or two there should be some bulb action, crocus maybe, and the hellebores will open back up. We must wait a little while longer. :-)
    Frances

  17. Rose says:

    Thanks for cheering me up on this frigid day, Frances! I would love to have anything at all in bloom outside right now, even if it was miniscule. Beautiful blooms!
    And thanks for the chuckles: half-price pots beg me to be taken home as well. Don’t feel bad about your gaffe last year: I would have thrown my paph into the ring, too, if I had one:)

    Hi Rose, sorry I don’t have more to offer you, your plea for blooms sounded desperate. Thanks for that support of paph throwing, it would have eased the pain of being alone on the stage! :-)
    Frances

  18. skeeter says:

    Beautiful Blooms and in January too! I did not plant any pansies this year. I worry too much about the deer getting to them so not worth the effort as I loose too much sleep. I needs my beauty sleep ya know. :-) I so like the tiny webbing from a spider on the one bloom. I am so glad you dusted off yourself and continue to blog. You are so good at it and remember we must all eat a little crow every now and then; it keeps us in our place. :-)
    Cover up the beauties and cross fingers for little harm from Alberta….

    hi Skeeter, thanks, those darn deer, that would spur me to action of some kind, probably fence building. I cannot admire anything that eats my plants, except for humans! The web on the heath was such a surprise, they can’t be active with this kind of cold, can they? It must be an old one still hanging on. Yes, eating crow is good for the character, but it sure tastes awful! :-)
    Frances

  19. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your blooms are Fairely beautiful Frances. Your garden looks much more lively than mine right now. Wonderful to look at.

    Hi Lisa, thanks for that. The garden is somewhat alive, but needs to go back to bed until this frigid blasts leaves us, hopefully by next week. Stay warm where you are too, and give Luna a hug from me, a big one! :-).
    Frances

  20. Jean says:

    Those fat and juicy paph buds have got me drooling! :-) Although my grocery store orchid has lost most of its leaves, I think I see a little peek of a bloom stalk emerging. I can’t wait. btw, every time I see your hellebores, I think I must try some, perhaps in my woodland garden (whenever that gets made!).

    Hi Jean, thanks, those are some large buds! Good deal on your grocery orchid, I am finding some real treasures at mine this year, even a pomegranate tree! You do need some hellebores, if happy they will give you seedlings to fill the area and still have many to give away in a few years.
    Frances

  21. Frances that is too funny about the contest! Your blooms are gorgeous. I thought I was going to have to go down to the local nursery to find some blooms but found one on a fence post of all places!

    Hi Kim, thanks, I genuflect to your photo of the fence post beauty!
    Frances

  22. Darla says:

    A lovely post as usual Frances. Stay warm, love the orchid.

    Hi Darla, thanks, you too stay warm.
    Frances

  23. Once again your post is food for eyes hungry for color. Are you thinking about putting some Erica in pots where you can enjoy the flowers and foliage up close? The flowers are so charming. I can’t even see any of my Hellebores now, all are buried beneath a thick layer of snowy protection.

    Hi MMD, thanks, so glad you get some relief from it, even though there is little going on. Some of the ericas are going for a car ride to Semi’s garden when it warms up a little. There are too many here, charming as they are, one or two are enough when there are design plans a-brewin’. More movement and verticality are needed to be viewed from the windows and decks. The little heath flowers barely look like dots from those spots. I am sure your hellebores appreciate that snow blanket with the temps you are having. I wish our plants had some kind of covering for the single digits and below with the wind chill we are having.
    Frances

  24. Racquel says:

    Wonderful photos today of your glorious winter garden Frances. Those Heaths & Heathers really provide a nice touch of color in January. Can’t wait to see the modifications you make to this area this season.

    Hi Racquel, thanks. The heaths are great for the macro shots, but not to good for the garden viewing as a whole. I went overboard buying them in the beginning, and have removed several last year to make room for more diverse plantings. More will go but the red foliage callunas will all stay, might be moved though. Piet has been speaking to me again in my dreams and has given me some ideas for the bed by the deck. Stay tuned!
    Frances

  25. JamesA-S says:

    The heathers I can take or leave but that Hamamellis is quite extraordinarily sumptuous. Streamers the colour of sunsets: fabulous.

    Hi James, thanks, I do hope you are healing nicely. I agree with you, the heaths are sort of nice, but there are way too many of them when better plants are out there in the garden waiting to be divided and moved to that area. Diane is a beauty. She is quite slow growing, but worth the wait for her to mature. This year she has the most buds ever too. It should be a good show. I could use another one, maybe Jelena if I can find one.
    Frances

  26. chuck b. says:

    I expect to see the Hamamelis in Tennessee, but the heathers are a treat. I’m glad you can have those for winter.

    Hi chuck, thanks. When we first moved here, I fell hard for the winter blooming heaths. Now I like the foliage changing callunas better, but will keep some of the prettier varieties rather than the Mediterraneans, which all came from the big box store. Rock Spray has some better winter bloomers too, I need to be more selective now, rather than just trying to fill up the garden like I started out doing. Always learning, right?
    Frances

  27. Cinj says:

    It’s so nice to see gardens full of flowers out there. It may not seem full to you, but when things are covered in piles of snow with nothing blooming or even thinking about blooming it seems that you have quite an abundance!

    Hi Cinj, thanks. We are lucky with what is blooming now, but those things were planted with winter blooming in mind. I think it can be better, though. After our cold snap I will begin a new project to redesign the heather bed. I wish we had some snow cover for the next couple of days with the low temps we are getting though.
    Frances

  28. Phillip says:

    Stunning flowers! I am in awe.

    Hi Phillip, thanks so much, glad you enjoyed the photos. :-)
    Frances

  29. Monica says:

    Your witch hazel Diane is absolutely stunning! As are the heathers, and helleborus. I’m getting grumpier about our temps in the negative digits every day!

    Well hey, Monica, come on down! Although we are in single digits here with a wind chill below zero and no snow cover to protect anything, still want to come? I am very happy with Diane, I think she needs a sister, don’t you? :-)
    Frances

  30. VP says:

    Lovely blooms Frances – you must have a relatively acid soil? Sadly witch hazel and heath wouldn’t prosper on my lime. But it’s been nice to come visit and admire them at yours instead :)

    Hi VP, thanks. I have never done a soil test, but do believe we must have acid soil for the most part, although the rosemary, thyme and lavender do well too, and dianthus….We seem to be able to grow a variety of things that like varied ph so who knows? Our hot summers are harder on the heaths and heathers than soil condition, they must be planted in the cool months, or they will perish from dry heat, I have learned that about them. Isn’t there a public garden with witch hazels near you? Or was that Zoe? I do wish you could grow them too.
    Frances

  31. Well, my friend, your garden is way ahead of mine. I want some of that insulation from the mountains. It’s 20F here today. Beautiful blooms. Wish I was there.~~Dee

    Hi Dee, thanks, it may be what is planted or the slope helping us out. It is below 20F here right now and dropping, with wind chills below zero and no snow cover. Hard times to be a plant outside in TN too. I wish you were here too, but we would both have to stay inside the house!
    Frances

  32. Frances, you are really working that macro focus well. Witch Hazel flowers are really hard to get in focus, they are so tiny as individuals. They are on my list for future additions to the garden. The native H. virginiana already here blooms October/November. It will be nice to extend that season to very early spring.

    Hi Christopher, thanks. After reading the owner’s manual, the Canon and I had a little bonding. Now I know when it is going to take a good picture, it makes a little whirring noise, if I don’t hear that noise when the button is half pressed, I don’t snap. I have also found that if it won’t make the noise, even though I think it should, I focus on something else until it kicks into gear. Then it will do its thing, for whatever reason. I think some flower types and colors confuse it. The witch hazel is way easier than the ericas, of course I am also standing up with the tree instead of contorted on the ground with the heaths, that makes a difference. I am looking to add another witch hazel if I can find one locally, or in Asheville, for a reasonable price for a decent size. Diane was mail ordered and was a single stick about two feet tall. It has taken several years for her to get going, I need to start larger this time around. I will let you know if I see something in Asheville if we get there soon.
    Frances

  33. patsi says:

    Unbelievable ! A 4 season garden !
    Of course that takes alot of planning.
    Your my inspiration. :)
    GREAT pictures.

    Hi Patsi, thanks, you are too sweet! I have been working on the winter garden for several years, it still needs lots of work, so does August! Such a down time. But that is the fun part, finding which plants will fill those needs, locating them and manage to grow them, a tall order but so very enjoyable. :-)
    Frances

  34. Weeping Sore says:

    Your pictures are magical. I love hellebores, but can’t grow them here in Zone 9. I’ve come to terms with that, but your pics awaken my latent jealousy of gardeners who can grow stuff I can’t have ;) Enjoy!

    Hi WS, thanks. Is it our nature to always want what the other guy has? Possibly, but latent is a good place for it to stay. :-)
    Frances

  35. Siria says:

    Hi Frances! You have gorgeous blooms, especially this time of the year. Stay warm!

    Hi Siria, thanks so much. The macro shots make it look more colorful than it really is here, that’s why I included the long, not so gorgeous shots, truth in advertising! :-)
    Frances

  36. greenwalks says:

    Hooray for the witch hazels, that was my post today too (without all the other nice stuff you have going on at your place). SO nice to see that color on a winter day. We saw the sun a bit here too, although not for long. Maybe tomorrow!

    Hi GW, thanks you are so lucky to have inherited that wonderful witch hazel, the color is fantastic and the number of blooms are astounding! Quite cold, windy but sunny here.
    Frances

  37. Sue says:

    Awesome pics! You have a gift for photography, and your flowers are fortunate to have you to show them off.

    Hi Sue, thanks and welcome. What nice words, I do appreciate you.
    Frances

  38. jodi says:

    Ahhhhhh, I knew you’d have some lovely things in bloom, Frances! We’re a long way from heaths OR hellebores, given the piles of snow and now frigid temperatures. Ah well that is why there are blogs in warmer areas, to give us northerners some hope!

    Hi Jodi, thanks. We do have some things open, but they should close up if they know what’s good for them, currently six degreesF here, minus with the wind chill and no snow cover, a harsh environment!
    Frances

  39. I had almost forgotten that little contest, clearly designed for me to win! But the paph is a beautiful bloom and you gave it a good try. All your blooms are beautiful in January and I dare say you could give many a garden a good run at “most blooms” right now!

    Hi Carol, thanks for visiting. I am glad you admit that the contest was rigged! I was devastated at the time but that did cure me of any competitive tendencies, so it was a good lesson learned. :-)
    Frances

  40. Pam/Digging says:

    Hee hee. Thanks for sharing your story about Carol’s “contest.” And I’m glad the embarrassment didn’t keep you from blogging. We’d all have missed out.

    Love those heathers!

    Hi Pam, thanks for seeing the humor there. In truth, there is probably very little that could have kept me from continuing to blog, I love it so. I thought of you when I put the heather photos up, you always admire them, as I do your bulbine. The grass is always greener, right? :-)
    Frances

  41. Kathleen says:

    I’m blown away by the color in your (outdoor) garden in January Frances. I could not find one spot (other than green & white) for all the tea in China. Maybe my garden needs an overhaul too? It’s always good to see the sun this time of year, isn’t it? I hope you have more of it in the days to come. It seems like a cold winter for you all. I am like you ~ buying pots whenever I see them half price but I have to say, our grocery store has never had a hellebore! Now, I’m dying to see your orchid and those photos don’t load for me?? What did you tell me to do about that (in a previous post??) I would love to gaze at their loveliness.

    Hi kathleen, thanks. Although I have things in bloom, the overall look is not pleasing to me. I bought many of those ericas once I discovered they bloomed in winter, they are scattered in various beds and add winter interest much like a small juniper would. The bed by the deck has too many and is a prime spot for me to play around with some different plantings like the Piet books I have been studying lately show. That hellebore at the grocer’s was a shock, never before seen, but I hope they get more in the future. When photos don’t load, for whatever reason, I just come back later and try again. Sometimes our internet service gets a hiccup at just the wrong time. It happens sometimes when I am loading the photos on to a post too, just try again later. Hope you can see the orchid, it is very unusual, if not contest winning. :-)
    Frances

  42. TC says:

    Would a garden “blooming” in snow count as a garden bloggers bloom day? ;~P

    (What’s a “paph?”)

    Hi TC, I think the rules about bloom day are pretty lax, anything goes! Paph is short for the orchid paphiopedilum, like phal is short for orchid phalaenopsis.

    Frances

  43. Shirl says:

    Hi again Frances :-)

    Lovely… for the second time I see the witch hazel. This one is my shopping list for this year and Diane looks like the fav for the moment.

    Excellent idea re showing the close and long views of the plants. This year I to plan to show more of the planting s too although as my garden is quite small my long shots won’t be so long ;-)

    Great to see buds on helleborus orientalis. You know flowers are on the way! I’m still looking out for buds coming on my young plants. Ah… love the orchid – great colour and pattern.

    Oh… in answer to your question on my posting re a desert island flower – yes, let’s assume there is plenty food available and as per Karen’s request let’s make it three plants instead of one. That’s made the challenge a whole lot harder. I hope you can join me – I’ll spread out the word after the weekend and GBBD is mostly past :-D

    Hi Shirl, thanks, long shots of your lovely garden will be quite wonderful, we cannot get enough of it! I will have to put my thinking cap on for your challenge, it is very difficult to figure out the criteria to make the choices, should be fun!
    Frances

  44. What would we do without the goegeous Hamamelisses at this time of year. One sprig in the vase fills the whole room with its lovely scent. It’s good to see that there is still quite a lot going on in your garden at this time of year. Happy GBBD, Frances!

    Hi YE, thanks. Our Diane is not as fragrant as the H. vernalis, or H. virginiana, but we still love her. It is currently 7F here, I hope there is no damage to the plants, we have no snow cover ever here, the plants much be tough as nails.
    Frances

  45. joey says:

    A delightful tour, Frances. With our frigid weather (all schools closes -38 wind chill) it’s wonderful to see your garden heralding new growth (we have a LONG way to go). Your Paph is a mighty handsome fella’!

    Hi Joey, thanks. We are having a frigid blast too, not as cold as you, but schools are closed and the wind chill is in the minus. We have no snow cover, the poor plants and poor feathered friends!
    Frances

  46. Your plans for emulating Miss Lawrence by having flowers bloom all year are working out beautifully, Frances – those Witch Hazels are so cool! Since we can grow Loropetalum in Austin (AKA Chinese Witch Hazel) I shouldn’t be jealous, but guess what – I am! You also took great photos of those heathers and hellebores. Happy GBBD!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Hi Annie, thanks for that, I’m trying! Next up is Iris unguicularis, seeds have been ordered since the plants are so expensive, it should be interesting anyway to try iris from seeds. My loropets have not done very well since being planted a year ago last fall, but they are alive. Yours is so pretty, I am the one who is jealous. :-)
    Frances

  47. Monica says:

    Frances, my one and only witch hazel (not even sure of the cultivar!) is currently exactly and precisely a “stick in the ground!” Yuor photos are really awesome! I’ve read my Canon’s manual, too, and who knew about the whir and the half click (before, I mean!). I just read about a new book, which sounds really promising, but my library doesn’t have it yet: Macro Photography for Gardeners and Nature Lovers: The Essential Guide to Digital Techniques.

    Hi Monica, thanks, my Diane was once a single stick too, and quite expensive a stick too. That sounds like a great book, I would love to know half way what I should be doing out there although the gardening is the thing, the photos are just a by product. I will check out my library too. Thanks for the heads up! :-)
    Frances

  48. Sweet Bay says:

    The orchid is beautiful — it almost looks lacquered.

    Hi Sweetbay, thanks. All the orchids are otherworldly, but this one is unique in color and form. The petals are thick and stiff and the stem is quite stout. I can’t wait for it to bloom this year, and there are two buds, hooray! Your Christmas cactus was a winner!
    Frances

  49. Dreamybee says:

    Wow, love those blue pots! I had several that color (though much smaller) a few years ago. Alas, the new puppy put an end to a lot of things in my garden!

    Your pictures are all beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

    Hi Dreamybee, thanks and welcome. I am so sorry for your blue pots, maybe you could try again with some, I assume the puppy is now a grown dog? :-)
    Frances

  50. philip says:

    Hi Frances! :)
    You are such an artist in the garden. I happen to love your heather bed, but I enjoyed looking with your eyes on a bed. The red callunas are striking, indeed. so much fun. The Helleborus orientalis! How delightful to see this emerging. I look forward to seeing this bloom on your wonderful blog. The depiction of your fingers with what is emerging shows what a little jewel this is.
    Well, you may not be in contests, but I am cheering from the bleachers on all the fun and delight in your garden.
    :)Yay!

    Philip

    Hi sweet Philip, thanks so much. I do appreciate your cheerleading! :-) The heather bed was designed with low growing plants so as not to block the view of the showier hedge bed that contains the deciduous azaleas while sitting on the upper deck. The truth is that we never sit on the upper deck now that the lower, shady deck has been built. There can be height and more interesting plantings in that sunny well drained spot now. There are other areas with several of the same type of ericas planted so removing the ones by the deck won’t leave us ericaless. The plan is to replant them in Semi’s garden, she still has space that needs filled on a steep sunny slope that is eroding quickly. The heaths do a good job of holding soil and will be better used there. I am having lots of fun making plans for the new plantings on cold wintry days here. All good.
    Frances

  51. marmee says:

    that first photo, mesmerizing you should use it has your header. the exotic flower is so cool too. hope you are staying warm.

    Hi Marmee, thanks so much. I will be changing the header for each month, unless I find a photo that I just love too much and can’t wait. It does need to be long and lean though, maybe I can take one framed like that of the witch hazel, thanks for the idea! You too, stay warm, we are counting the hours until it is warm enough to go work in the garden again, I hate staying inside.
    Frances

  52. gintoino says:

    Wow! beautifull pictures francis! I have so mauch to catch up with in your blog. I was following it through google reader and didn’t realise until today that your address had changed. I have lots to catch up with ;-)

    Hi Gintoino, so nice to see you in the alternative universe of wordpress, welcome! We switched in September so you have some major reading to do here if you choose to, better make yourself comfortable! :-)
    Frances

  53. Kylee says:

    Frances, this answered a question for me about my witch hazel. It’s the first winter for mine and I see those buds on mine, but they look dead, so I wasn’t sure if they were ones that might bloom, or whether I missed them! I kind of doubt if they are blooming now in our frigid temps, but it’s to warm up today, so I think I’ll go check!
    Thanks! :-)

    Hi Kylee, you are most welcome. :-) The little oval brown things are the buds, full of promise, but I can’t believe yours could be open with the kind of cold you are experiencing! Maybe you could look with binoculars to be sure, though. Do stay warm.
    Frances

  54. Genevieve says:

    I’ve never seen such gorgeous pictures of those winter heathers. And the Hellebore buds! You have a real knack for giving us a fresh new view of something we see often. Lovely!

    Hi Genevieve, thanks. Those photos are really better looking than the heaths are in person, aren’t they? HA I do love your name BTW!
    Frances

  55. layanee says:

    Witch hazels already! It is fun to see them start isn’t it and oh, so gratifying although you really have it mild down there. Still, so much in bloom. Love your new addition to the hellebore collection. That was a lucky find.

    Hi Layanee, thanks. I have not been outside to check on poor Diane’s blooms since our single digit temperature tantrum, hope they are still there and the buds are undamaged. The ericas are quite tough, as are the hellebores, the witch hazel is an unknown at this time, let’s hope for the best. Finding that H. niger was a thrill, I should have bought them both, for they were being sold as houseplants and the mate to mine will probably be discarded after the blooms drop quickly from being inside a hot dry house.
    Frances

  56. Hi Frances-Sweden calling-Helleborus is a lovely plant-I´m also waiting to see the flower-maybe in february-I have put your blog into my blogspot.se so I can se when you write again
    Have a nice day
    Maria i Sennan

    Hi Maria, thanks for visiting from so far away! And thanks too for adding Fairegarden to your blogspot! We are waiting for the weather to warm up here, it has been bitterly cold for the last few days, I hope the plants are still alive. :-)
    Frances

  57. The first few blooms of Hamamelis are a lovely promise of new flowers. Isn’t it great when the sun shines at the right moment? The Helleborus already looks right at home. How fortunate you were to find it by surprise, and give it a good home. I love the pizazz of the cobalt blue pots in front of the low rock wall.

    Hi Shade, thanks so much. We have not seen much of the sun lately and run out with the camera when he smiles on us. That was a lucky find at the grocer’s, and I have been looking for the H. niger too. I have many of the H. orientalis, similar but later blooming, I believe. That blue color with the stone is a favorite of mine too. BTW, Mister Arctic has been shown the door here, hopefully until next year’s visit. :-)
    Frances

  58. eliz says:

    well, this isn’t what I’d call winter, but it’s gorgeous. Congrats on such a lovely January garden.

    Hi Elizabeth, thanks. While it may not look like winter, we so rarely get snow and if we do it doesn’t hang around, we have had signal digit temps for several days. We call that winter around these parts. :-)
    Frances

  59. kerri says:

    What a treat to have blooms in January, in spite of your deep freeze temps. We had -5ºF on the back porch this morning…a little too frigid for my liking! But at least the sun is shining, and that’s always welcome!
    I hope your hellebore bud wasn’t damaged. I’d hide too in those frosty temps :)
    How lucky you were to find the lovely H. Niger in a grocery store. I’m hoping my one tiny plant will survive the winter. It barely did last year and no blooms were produced. I’d love to have more. I need to find a cultivar that doesn’t mind our frigid winters so much.
    I enjoyed seeing your Witch Hazel and Erica close-ups, and was glad to see the long shots as well.
    Love those blue pots and the wall! And pansies’ sweet faces are always a delight.
    Your orchid is a winner in my humble opinion :)

    Hi Kerri, HA thanks for those kind words and for the orchid support. It is just opening up again and looking as exotic as ever. I may have to have my own contest and declare it the winner! :-) I hope you can find some tough hellebores for your area. Our H. orientalis is quite hardy here even when the blooms get hit with single digit temps they will pop back up again when the warmth returns. We don’t have the cold that you do though, that is too frigid for a delicate southern belle.
    Frances

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