No Waiting, Nancy!


Last year the first snowfall of the season almost didn’t make it to southeast Tennessee. The charming Nancy of Soliloquy had formed a meme for blogs to post about their first snowfall. She had just taken the link badge off of her sidebar when we finally had some white stuff fall on the Fairegarden. We ran after the train, ticket in hand waving in the air while yelling to not leave the station without us. Click here to read Wait, Nancy! This year is quite different.


We are early risers here, getting up and stumbling into the kitchen to prepare the coffee well before dawn. Always. There is a street light right across the street that illuminates the kitchen, helping us find our way to the light switch. Looking out the window over the sink, the view of the muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris, showed it to be covered with a fluffy white blanket. We ran for the camera, after putting the coffee on, and began snapping.


Standing in the garage with the door open, trying not to get the camera wet, (Canon Powershot SX1 IS), we saw that the muhly looked like a tsunami tidal wave. It was still somewhat dark, the camera wanted the flash pulled up, but that didn’t work at all. The grass was fluffy and full, still holding the seed heads. The results were surprising in how similar it looked to the ocean breakers.


Turning to the west, the colored LED lights illuminating the wreath hanging on the garage in the pre dawn, the gardens in front of the main house are fuzzified by the wintry conditions.


Looking straight out we can see the street light still shining on the island bed of the semi-circular driveway. The Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Wells Special’ trio look like stair steps. What is going on with them? Do we need to prune the taller one?


Peeking around the corner to the back gardens, the driftwood from the beach that was planted in the flat bed is a beacon amidst the evergreens and grasses.


Back into the house to warm up and sip some more coffee, we look out the sliders in the addition up the slope to see the Chinese Elm, Ulmus x hollandica ‘Jacqueline Hillier’ mother of the recently planted hypertufa bonsai still holding green turning to yellow leaves.


The black metal pineapple sculpture stands out well in the winter wonderland.


The plantings of spring and summer are still standing in hopes of adding winter interest when covered with frost. Or snow.

Is this early winter precipitation a foretelling of many such garden transforming snowfalls to come this year? Yes, so saith the weather prognosticators.

Frances

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45 Responses to No Waiting, Nancy!

  1. Frances, how beautiful everything looks with its dusting of snow, like icing sugar, it just accents the garden.
    We have a winter storm warning in effect, and I can hear the wind blowing outside. Dreading the walk to work this morning.

    Thanks Deborah, it was amazing in so many ways, not the least of which was so early in the season. It was beautiful to watch, and was all gone by the end of the day. It pays to take the photos early on. Hope your storm is beautiful but safe. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I thought frothing waterfall when I saw the grass with all the snow. Your garden looks like a christmas wonderland with the snow on the evergreens. Nothing like a flocked tree to conjur up the christmas spirit.

    Thanks Lisa. It did look so beautiful, then gone. When it snows, we always wish we had planted more evergreens. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  3. For me during the drizzly dank days of winter, the first half decent snowfall is when there’s something good about it.

    I revert to mental age of a three year old when there is a good dumping of snow.

    Hi Rob, it certainly brightens the mood and the view outside. It has been dark and dreary here for weeks, no bright sunshine to speak of. The white stuff really made it lighter out there. A mental age of three is good, maybe four is better, that is the age of our youngest grand, and he is INTO Christmas and winter big time! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  4. The Muhly certainly does have a breaking wave effect. Snow is not the only winter transformer of the garden. You must have had some of that wicked wind and rain from last night. It was a howling and a pouring here last night. When the sun comes up I will go have a look at what has been transformed.

    Thanks Christopher. The muhly was such a surprise, I don’t believe it has ever had snow on it before, always cut to the ground by the time the white stuff gets to us. It has been a weird weather year already, with more to come. Right now it is quite warm and the wind is a blowin’! There will be branches to pick up when it gets light, hopefully that is all the wind can dislodge. Stay safe and warm on your mountainside! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  5. James A-S says:

    Not only do your grasses look like crashing waves but really quite angry waves as well. The ones that are loud and roaring and froth spitefully around your feet.
    Snow is all very well and quite exciting – especially as we don’t get much of the stuff – but it really needs a clear blue sky to transform it from inconvenient to ethereal.

    They do, James, it was quite a happy surprise about the grass. We were grousing about the lack of hoarfrost photo opportunities before the snow arrived. Last year we had that gossamer coating many mornings, none as yet this season. We don’t get much snow either, and it seldom lasts more than 24 hours. This was gone by afternoon. Blue sky, what is that?
    Frances

  6. Very pretty, very wintry, very seasonal! Congrats! You might have gotten more snow than we’ve gotten in Indpls. We had a bit Monday morning but it is all gone now. But I’m sure there is more on its way to us.

    Thanks Carol. It looks like you have some serious stuff coming your way now, if it hasn’t already arrived. The weather is weird, but we were happy to see that transforming snow cover on the garden. Then it was gone, a good thing. We do have snow shovels, they get moved with us from house to house. Maybe they will be put into use this year.
    Frances

  7. Darla says:

    Well, it’s a balmy 73 degrees here this morning with stormy weather on it’s way..then of course turning somewhat cold this weekend. I love these and just about all snow photos…I agree the weather is a bit strange this year..

    Good grief, Darla, that has to be warm even for you guys! Our coldest temps are in the forecast for tomorrow, after a warm spell today. Will we ever see the sun again? You never miss your water, er sunshine, until the well runs dry, or the sky is grey. Don’t get sunburn with that warmth, you must be wearing shorts and a tank top, or is it a bikini? πŸ™‚
    Frances

    Oh Frances, my shorts are now capris and my bikini has been long hung up!! You are too funny!!

    I have seen your photo, Darla. I think you could still pull it off with both! πŸ™‚

  8. Pam/Digging says:

    Pretty, pretty! I’m glad you got a snowfall with your Xmas lights up and everything. That just makes the scene complete.

    Thanks Pam. The timer was malfunctioning on the garage wreath, it is not supposed to be on in the morning, but did add some seasonal decor to the shot. How funny! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  9. Les says:

    So cold the waves in the ocean froze in mid-crash. I like your Chamaecyparis in the three different sizes, I am not sure I would equal them.

    Thanks Les. The muhly really worked some magic with the snow, or was it the other way around? I am worried about the end Wells Special. While they all looked identical at the store, Walmart if you can believe it, in 2000, one tag said it would grow to 50 feet tall while the other two said 15 feet. I figured it was a mistake, being walmart and all. They were $6 each so had to come live here. I may regret it if the one keeps one growing. 50 feet is really so much taller than 15! Watch that first step!!! HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  10. Gail says:

    Frances, What a wonderful sight with those crashing waves, flocked trees and holly berries glowing in the snow. Your pineapple sculptures looks fantastic. Do we live in the same state? We got rain and have continued to get rain. Today the sky is all gray clouds with that wind Christopher mentioned blowing everything about. gail

    Thanks Gail. Funny how this system just traveled up our side of the mountains. Schools are closed here due to flooding. High winds, but the sun might, had better shine today. Or else.
    Frances

  11. Debi says:

    Quite a snowfall, Frances. Love the bottle tree and the muhly tidal wave – very creative! Your snowfall was much prettier than ours, or maybe the palette for the snow painting is just more fantastic! Yeah, definitely the latter.

    Thanks, Debi. Everywhere we looked was a beautiful scene that day. It was gone by afternoon, but was amazing while it was snowing. You are too kind, this snowfall would have made anything look heavenly. But thanks. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  12. Wow, it’s amazing how different our parts of the state can be! No snow here. Beautiful pictures. I wouldn’t want to prune the chamaecyparis I like the natural look. The big one might get more sun than the others and take advantage though.

    Thanks Dave. It was surprising that you guys did not get this big snow. Knoxville got even more than we did, gone so quickly though. Thank goodness. It might be too late to prune the chamae, but if it gets double the height of the others, that will be the benchmark for cutting. Or maybe that is too late too. Hard to know, isn’t it?
    Frances

  13. Tatyana says:

    Tidal wave – exactly!Wonderland… Congratulations on your first snow, Frances! We are still green& brown here,there is no white so far… But it’s already cold!

    Thanks Tatyana. The white is fleeting here, mostly green and brown and grey cloaks the garden in winter.
    Frances

  14. What an inspiring landscape, and you’ve captured it so beautifully, even from the garage. Our little bit of snow (our first of the season) is fast being changed to ice crust, whipped by wild, wet winds. Not ideal for photography.

    Thanks so much Helen. It was magical that day, for a few hours anyway. One has to be quick with the shutter on days like that. Wind is difficult, I was just out trying to get some captures since we are seeing the sun briefly for the first time in days, seems like weeks, and the wind was indeed whipping. Sometimes that makes for a good shot too. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  15. What do you mean No Waiting Nancy? She will have to wait a long long time for my contribution. πŸ˜‰

    It’s nice to see your garden wearing a seasonal white hat.

    We can only speak for the Fairegarden, here, YE. You are on your own running after the train in the Netherlands! HA The garden was pretty spiffy that day, it melted quickly though. Thank goodness.
    Frances

  16. Lovely Frances! I can just imagine you running out with camera and trying not to get the lens wet! That darn flash always tries to steal the show. I love these images … your muhly is like a wave but i admit I first saw waterfall. There are so many points of interest … snow has a way of creating its own landscape and yours takes on a Japanese garden feel in many of your stellar photographs. Ah … and you can enjoy this knowing it will not stay for months. A wonderland is true. Carol

    Thanks Carol. The snow was blowing into the garage and I was trying to hold up my shawl to protect the camera and the wool kept trying to get into the shots! The muhly does look like a waterfall too, a roaring one. The snow made the mundane look magical. What a treat for it to leave gracefully before overstaying its welcome too. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  17. Rose says:

    I don’t believe it! I’ve seen snow in Katy, Texas, in Susie’s Mississippi, in Lisa’s southern Indiana, and now in your part of Tennessee, and yet we haven’t had any! All those people claiming global warming and climate change is a hoax ought to read some blogs! Beautiful photos–I love the way snow transforms the landscape. My favorite has to be the tsunami of Muhly grass–what a lovely sight!

    Hi Rose, you mean you have not gotten snow with this massive weather system they keep showing on TV? They are talking feet, not inches in many places. Maybe it just hasn’t gotten there yet. Strange weather indeed. The muhly was surprising when I got into the garage with the camera. The lighting and everything was just so, I was lucky again. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  18. Nell Jean says:

    Fun photos, all of them. A muhly waterfall, evergreens wearing white stoles.

    If we get snow, it will be a first. We’re having the usual non-photogenic rain and it is 72 degrees outside.

    Thanks Nell Jean. You may get your snow yet. We had a thunderstorm last night, after all day rain. It is much warmer here right now, supposed to take a nose dive tonight into the twenties with these strong almost dangerous winds. Hang on to your hat! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  19. Sweet Bay says:

    The snow-covered Muhlies do look like a breaking wave! The Sparkleberries look beautiful in the snow too. Wonderful snowy pictures. It always amazes me how much snow transforms a landscape, literally covering everything with a white robe.

    Thanks Sweet Bay. The snow took the garden from drab to dramatic in just a couple of hours. In a few hours more, it was gone. So fun to try and catch the magic with the camera. The muhly was incredible. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  20. Joanne says:

    Frances how delightful but nicer to enjoy from the warmth indoors. Love the Tsunami Muhly.

    Thanks Joanne. I did not go out into it, having a bit of a headcold. It was fun to watch a different channel on Fairegarden TV from the lazyboy. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  21. Your first snow looks lovely. (Better than our first snow.) It looks nice & Christmasy. Isn’t that cozy?

    Thanks, MMD. It was very lovely, if fleeting. Gone the same day. But we can look at the photos and dream. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  22. Jen says:

    That grass does look like a frozen surf. When we get some snow I will send you a photo of the frozen beach, and we can compare.

    Great shots, and good on you for getting out there in the Brrrrr to take them.

    Jen

    Thanks Jen. I was not out in it, taking the shots from the garage and porches and just peeping the camera outside the barely opened sliders in the addition. I couldn’t allow the camera to get wet. I look forward to a frozen beach shot, thanks! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  23. ourfriendben says:

    Whoa, Frances! Are those psychedelic bead curtains I’m seeing there? Way to go, girl!!! We have them over the curtains on our front door, and they get more compliments than any other aspect of our home decor. We too got snow this week (sigh). And yes, of course the Muhlies are fantastic. Definitely our must-have plants!!!

    HA OFB, I don’t know about psychedelic but they are bead curtains. They do photograph well with the light shining through them. Privacy with light, a good combo. I believe your snow will hang around longer than ours did. It was gone in a few hours, then dreary rain followed. Hope you can locate some muhly. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  24. Kate says:

    May I selfishly say this is really getting painful? πŸ™‚ I live in a ski resort, and we don’t have snow! Strolling the blogosphere this a.m., it appears I’m the only one who doesn’t have snow! Anyhoo, my fave photo today was of that lovely beaded kitchen curtain!! Where oh where did you find that? Gotta have one…

    Oh my, no snow at a ski resort is not a good thing, Kate! So sorry. Surely your turn is coming soon. Our snow only lasted a few hours, I was fast and lucky with the camera. Glad you liked the curtain. It is plastic beads from walmart strung on white waxed linen thread. I tied a french knot at the ends and applied a little tacky glue to hold it in place. Every other strand has a larger bead to help weight it down and jazz it up. They are strung on tension curtain rods. You can make these too, very easy, just time consuming. I would do a few each night while watching tv. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  25. nancybond says:

    Absolutely gorgeous, Frances — I do love that muhly grass! I mean, can you think of a way to make it ugly? It’s a grass for all seasons, it seems. πŸ™‚ I’ve added a link to your beautiful post on the 1st Snowfall page…
    thanks for participating…and so early this year!

    Thanks, Nancy. I am so glad to have this in the can. Now we can enjoy the other blogger’s first snowfalls on your page. Snow makes everything so lovely. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  26. Jenny B says:

    I loved the snow scenes. It would be easier to get into the Christmas spirit, I would think. Last week, the weatherman (what do they know?) predicted 1 1/2 “. The grand-kids were sure they would get early dismissal…”Now Grammy, be sure to keep your cell on so we can call you to come get us.” We had maybe 10 minutes of flurries. At least the teachers all let the kids go out to play in it while it lasted.

    I truly love your bottle tree snow scene as well as your Muhly tidal wave. I rather like your stair-step trio of False Cypress. I vote to not trim the tallest. It truly is a winter wonderland at Fairegarden!

    Thanks Jenny. Sometimes the weather people get it right, sometimes not. I love they call you grammy, that is what my kids called my dear mother in law. The votes are all not to trim, but if it grows to 50 feet tall and the others are 15, I think the votes would change! HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  27. Oh my. I just love how your Pink Muhly looks covered with snow…it does look like ocean breakers. Our Pink Muhly is still blooming nicely, but will turn brown soon. I love how many areas that Pink Muhly grows around the country.

    Thanks Noelle. The muhly has lost all its color, except when the sun hits just right, like today, it still appears pink. It has never before been standing when we got our little bits of snow. This is a first. What a fabulous plant. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  28. Lisa says:

    Frances,

    I agree, such wonderful snow images. I was out in the morning too yesterday in Boston, perched in my bathrobe because I couldn’t resist. I also love the pic of your shed. Did you build it yourself? I hope to build one for my backyard.

    Lisa

    Hi Lisa, thanks and welcome. Oooh, too cold for bathrobes in the snow, you are one hardy lass! Our shed was built on site by a company called Homestead. There is another TN blogger, Dave of The Home Garden who is building his own greenhouse, I will find the link. http://www.greenhouse.growingthehomegarden.com/
    Frances

  29. easygardener says:

    Lovely pictures. I like snow and the difference it makes to the landscape. Like a white veil – some things stand out more but other things disappear. Even a pile of rubbish can look attractive!

    Hi EG, thanks. You are so right, the white veil disguises the most unsightly of things with beauty. Not that we have anything like that around here… πŸ™‚
    Frances

  30. Balisha says:

    It all looks like a fairy land. that Muhly Grass… So beautiful.
    Balisha

    Thanks Balisha. It was a wonderland, for a few hours. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  31. Grace says:

    Hi Frances~~ I see you have your priorities in order: coffee first, then picture taking!! [Me too!] It definitely looks wintery in your neck of the woods. It has a beauty all its own, doesn’t it?

    Hi Grace, HA, nothing comes before coffee! It was wintry for a few hours, then all melted. That’s the way it always is here, and I am not complaining. We do appreciate the beauty of it more since it is so fleeting and doesn’t hang around long enough to be messy.
    Frances

  32. Catherine says:

    I love how the Muhly grass looks like waves in the ocean. Last year at this time we’d already had our first snow.
    I noticed the beaded “curtains” too right away, you really are creative inside and outside.

    Thanks Catherine, it was amazing the way the grass looked. The beaded curtains are a big hit! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  33. Your winter wonderland has certainly set the stage for Christmas! I really enjoyed your photos – we aren’t likely to get such scenes here (though we can always hope!) You truly have a special garden, so beautiful in every season.

    Thanks Deborah. The snow was short lived, but very magical while it lasted, gone by the afternoon. Very unusual for us to have snow this early in the season. Normally it is later, right before spring comes knocking! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  34. Lola says:

    Beautiful pics. Love the way the snow was on all plants & that Muhly sure does look like a breaking wave. So pretty.
    Warm here, a little breeze but damp from the rains.

    Thanks Lola. It was very pretty but disappeared the same day. Cold and windy here, with no snow.
    Frances

  35. LindaLunda says:

    Ohhhhhh…. :o)!

    Thanks Linda, nice to see you!!!!!!! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  36. Kathleen says:

    I love how excited you are about all the white stuff Frances. I would make the coffee and pull the blinds! I’ve heard scary predictions about how snowy the year will be here too and so far, I have to say, it’s making me uneasy. We had our first snowfall on Oct 9th and it seems like it hasn’t stopped since. Your garden is beautiful in every season. Also a big congrats on your blogaversary. I admire you for starting to blog in the busy month of December! I really enjoyed reading about your gardening journey. It’s as interesting as I imagined.

    Hi Kathleen, I understand your feelings and don’t blame you a bit. The snowfalls here are so rare and never last more than a day, so we do get excited about measureable snow. We are wondering what the rest of the winter will hold for all of us, it seems to be full of excitement and breathless newscasts with poor weather guys being blown away while speaking into microphones! December of all months to begin blogging, impulsive to the core! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  37. Kanak says:

    Love that ocean wave look on your muhly grass. Many of your garden features have been highlighted by all that white…I like the metal pineapple sculpture, the driftwood and the last shot. And your words, Frances. They’re so delightful to read!! Anything that you write, describe!

    Thanks Kanak, you say the sweetest things ever! I do appreciate your kindness and regular visits. Your own words are like music! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  38. I can’t believe you got more and earlier snow in TN than we have in SE MI! We’ve missed a lot of the snow even farther west and north in our own state. It’s really cold and bitter now but we only have scant snow… I prefer having a nice thick blanket of it for my plants.

    I can’t believe it either, Monica. But it didn’t even last out the day, as usual for us. We would love to have that insulating blanket over the winter, we get a lot of heaving of roots out of the ground without it. That reminds me, we need to mulch.
    Frances

  39. banner6 says:

    “Fuzzified”…you coined a new word, and captured a look. We had enough snow last year that I will not feel cheated if it passes us by this time…especially with your photos to look at.

    Thanks Ricki. I would feel the same about the snow if it didn’t know when it had worn out its welcome. It was like that when we lived in PA. Very different here, it is all gone in a matter of hours, too soon really. I like looking at the photos of it more than being out in it too. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  40. james says:

    In a world where I live there is no such thing as snow – its just amazing to see such a wonder taking place right at your doorstep.
    The closest idea of snow in my place would be a cobweb or an attic full of dust!
    Thanks for sharing this time-stopping moment.

    Thanks James. Your tropical paradise is just as amazing to me, the lushness and green. While we have very little snow, it was gone in just a few hours, we love seeing it. And be assured, we have plenty of lovely cobwebs and dust bunnies too. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  41. Teresa says:

    I enjoyed reading your post and seeing your view of this beautiful snow! I especially liked the “wave” of snow and the front garden scene. I will add your newly created word…fuzzified to my mental dictionary of words I need to fit into a sentence, I love it. As always I am glad I visited today. Enjoy the snow

    Thanks Teresa. I am glad that you are glad you visited! The muhly with the snow was a high point for these eyes, so glad it was captures on pixels, it is proof for the non believers of the effect of the snow on still standing grass. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  42. Exasperating to have winter come on so quickly/early, isn’t it, Frances? On the other hand, we were ‘late’, relatively speaking, with the first snowfall not arriving til last weekend–so often we have it by Remembrance Day. This weekend we’re rocking and (almost) rolling in galeforce winds up here on the hill, but no precipitation–I honestly think it’s too cold to snow at this point!
    Your garden looks lovely, with or without snow. And thank you again for all your supportive comments. I’m staying with blogger, but as you know I’m also staying with blogging. I feel rejuvenated and keen. πŸ˜‰

    Hi Jodi, thanks for visiting and hooray for your blogging decision! You will help us get throught the winter with your witty postings. This snow only lasted a few yours and melted quickly. That is the way it always is here. Winter comes and goes, very much like a rollercoaster. There will be warm sunny days followed by cold wintry days followed by….. well you get the idea. It is hard on the plants with no snow cover too. Mulch helps greatly and is at the top of the gardening to do list after the holidays. Do stay warm and safe up there! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  43. Nell Jean says:

    Three days later and my nice balmy weather has turned wet. It feels like snow weather, but we were ten degrees from snow, just damp and miserable.

    I’ve been meaning to tell you that I saw a pic somewhere of pink Muhly with beautyberry and it was gorgeous. I hope you saw that. I may be dragging beautyberry to the house in the spring to put with my Muhly, or maybe the birds will just plant me a couple.

    Thanks for the tip about the beautyberry, Nell Jean. I bought one last year but it is not planted near the muhly. That might be adjusted later, if a design scheme can be imagined using the two. I wonder how easy they are to grow from cuttings? Quite cold here too.
    Frances

  44. sequoiagardens says:

    I have seen snow – I think – four times in my life. I’ve never watched it fall. I would love to see my garden under snow, but the chances are miniscule. People are still talking of the time it snowed here ten years ago – but those who had to travel more than 5 km to see it (all but about six people), arrived too late to see anything. Existential question: had it snowed on the mountain?

    Your Tsunami is magnificent. The rest is merely wonderful. πŸ˜‰

    Hi Jack, thanks. Maybe you will get that once in a lifetime snowfall this year, the weather is wierder than I can remember, over here anyway. As for the big question, if someone took a photo of it, it happened. Glad you liked the tsunami, it was a big surprise for the muhly is normally cut down by now. We are lazy this year and have been rewarded in many ways by the garden for it. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  45. I love your front garden with the snow on everything but what I really love is your word for it: Fuzzified! Perfect choice.

    Thanks Linda. It was really pretty for just a few hours then all melted away. I liked it best when the snow was coming down hard and sideways. Glad you approve the new word to describe it. πŸ™‚
    Frances

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