Starting Anew

There is nothing as fresh as a new beginning.
(Ornamental kale, Brassica ‘Evening Lace’ backlit)

A sunny first day of the new year allows for poking around the garden with the cameras in tow.
(Clary sage, Salvia sclarea var. ‘Turkestanica’ with a bite taken out of the leaf. Who???)

A day warm enough that the birdbaths are not frozen.
(Hypertufa bowl with small leaf castings in the bottom, hypertufa ball and stand)

Evergreens shine in the sun.
(Monterey cypress, Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Goldcrest’ backlit)

Silky promises of buds and beasties abound.
(Edgeworthia chrysantha and friend)

While blossoms on some hardy souls continue from months earlier.
(Camellia sasanqua ‘Chansonette’)

Grass like plants star rather than merely act as supporting players.
(Carex testacea ‘Orange Sedge’)

Some are superstars.
(Japanese blood grass, Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’ miraculously still showing some red, backlit)

Some are sparkly as they blow in the cold winds.
(Nasella tenuissima catching some rays)

The garden is full of promises…
(Various Narcissus that are in serious need of some mulch)

…for this fine new year.
(Cool new birdhouse from sister in law, Lynn with Athena giving an appreciative nod from the daylily hill. Thanks Lynn, it is perfect!)

The very first day of the new decade portends garden glories galore waiting at the gate in the Fairegarden. May the days ahead bring from your own spaces joyousness hitherto unknown.


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43 Responses to Starting Anew

  1. gittan says:

    Lovely Francis! Is that a ladybird in the picture with the Edgeworthia chrysantha? We’re still having low temperatures and a minute ago it began to snow again =( Now I’m going to visit a garden blog friend =)
    Kram gittan
    Oh, I almost forgot, it is a Pulsatilla in that picture ;P

    Hi Gittan, thanks for visiting when the weather gets bad, it is a good way to get through the cold times, isn’t it? The little lady beetle was a total shock in the Edgeworthia photo, even with new glasses, it was not noticed until the pictures were loaded onto the computer. It is quite cold here, in the teens, I hope she has a good hiding place. Your plant resembles a Pulsatilla, but I am not sure about it.
    Kram and stay warm!

  2. mothernaturesgarden says:

    Although it is very cold, I took a run outside to set some windblown things right and remove branches once again and noticed the daffodil foliage undaunted by the temperature. I admire all your winter interest which is a lofty goal I shall make paramount in my 2010 garden plans.
    As I have said before. I love the heuchera and moss combo.

    Hi Donna, thanks. It is in the teens here today, but was above freezing on the first day of the new year. There are projects waiting, but it is difficult to spread frozen mulch! Isn’t it amazing how the bulb foliage can withstand the cold? Or how anything can. πŸ˜‰

  3. Happy New Year Frances. I always love the start of the year. I get the urge to make eveything look new and clean again. I can’t do that in my garden at this time of year, but my house is sure going to get a nakeover. Love the picture of the Goldcrest cypress, you are right, they bring so much colour to the garden. I wish they were hardy here!

    Hi Deborah, thanks and the same back to you and yours. It is the time of renewal. Getting the decorations down, inside the house anyway, and the furniture back to normal, it does spur the cleaning gene to action. The cypress were sold as mini indoor Christmas trees in 2008. We purchased a few for the offspring and three for here. Ours were held in the greenhouse until spring when they were planted out in the ground. The tag said zone 7, so we gave it a try. So far they are alive, but we are having a very cold snap, into the low teens at the moment, hope they make it.

  4. I’m dreaming of new things happening in the garden. Lovely photos.

    Hi Crafty, thanks. This is a time of dreaming for us as well. We were lucky to have that warm day on the first, it is not so now. πŸ™‚

  5. Darla says:

    It is unseasonably cold here in North Florida…your photos are wonderful. The narcissus are the promise of spring…(we, yes we, in North Florida have a chance of SNOW at the end of the week)…just depends on what the winds do……if so, you will hear a shriek of excitement all the way to Fairegardens!

    Hi Darla, thanks. I know snow for you would indeed be beyond exciting! Hope you get enough to make a snowman, a benchmark for snowfall here. Then take a photo of course. I will be listening! πŸ™‚

  6. Sylvia (England) says:

    Frances, I hope you had a lovely Christmas and I wish you a very happy New Year. I had a very good holiday but I haven’t read any blogs for ages! I will read every post that you made but with so many blogs it takes me a while to catch up!

    Some lovely pictures (I also liked you calendar pictures) just what I need on a cold day. As normal I have lots of plans for this year in the garden but I still have lots of autumn work to do!

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

    Dear Sylvia, thanks and the very best to you and yours in 2010. We have fallen behind with a house full of company for nearly a month. Blog reading was put aside, but postings were sort of put together. Things are back to normal now, with very cold temps at the moment. A good time to dream of grand plans and great successes. πŸ™‚

    • Sylvia (England) says:

      I love your Christmas houses, we have a few but it isn’t a set that can be added too. Perhaps I can find them here and start a collection! We have lots of decorations – it is about the only bit of Christmas that we do – we have a quiet time just the two of us. I also see we are not the only ones to have a train under the Christmas tree! Sylvia

      Hi Sylvia, thanks. The houses are part of the massive collectibles offered by Studio 56. They have hundreds of decorative items that can be collected and added to. The name of my set is Snow Village, but there are many other themed houses. I have a few Halloween ones by the same company. You should be able to find the Snow Village, it has been in production for quite a few years now. Good luck! πŸ™‚

  7. Les says:

    Beautiful shots to open the New Year with. God bless those persisent Camellias, I don’t know how anyone gardens without them. Stay warm this week!

    Hi Les, thanks and the same back to you. Our little Chansonettes have never before blooming so abundantly, the extra rains really helped we believe. They are planted at the base of many mature loblolly pines that suck up most of the moisture, but also give protection from cold and wind. It has taken several years for the camellias to grow and flower well, but well worth the wait. πŸ™‚

  8. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    A little warm up here would certainly make my day. It is so cold and we don’t have snow cover to make it bearable. Nothing showing in my garden as yet. Those narcissus are looking brave peeking out of the ground already. I love your hyper tufa projects. The leaves and ball give the bird bath some character. Cheers…

    Hi Lisa, thanks. Do stay warm, my friend. I know you are aware of Christopher’s plight, it is worrisome, isn’t it? At least our homes are not trying to kill us! The poor daffs with the bulb showing, that is not good and there are several clumps where the soil has eroded from the rains. Must get busy with the mulch, when the bags thaw! πŸ˜‰

  9. Janet says:

    Great shots Frances. I am soooo looking forward to the Edgeworthia opening! Have you smelled those flowers? Heavenly.
    Love your hypertufa birdbath… me some ideas. Did you seal it to keep the water from leeching through? Cover a form of something?
    Cute bird house.

    Hi Janet, thanks. Me too about the Edgeworthia. These are the first flower buds, the trees have been in ground here only a couple of years and were quite small since they were mail ordered. I already love them, just from those silky buds, can’t wait to see and smell the flowers, and take note of the bloom time. The birdbath, and all the hypertufa projects are not sealed. I do usually paint the leaf castings and seal those, but the ones in the birdbath are raw. We love the birdhouse on the table, but no birds will make a home in that spot so it will have to go out on a post somewhere. πŸ™‚

  10. Very neat birdhouse! Very chilly this morning here. 5.9 degrees in our little frost pocket!

    Yikes, Dave, that is cold! The birdhouse is wonderful, just the right mix of whimsy and magic. We shall search for the best spot for it. Do stay warm!!!

  11. tina says:

    Good morning Frances! That edgeworthia looks so darned great! None here I’m afraid but may have to change that.

    You asked about vellum. Yes, you can purchase some at places like Office Depot but its best not to get the graph on it-get blank. I bought mine at a drawing supply store. I also did get the seed packets at Office Depot-after much looking for just the right thing. Have a great day and stay warm! It is most cold here. The weatherman said it’s been years since we’ve had such a prolonged cold spell. I think a good thing as I’m hoping it will knock down the bug population. Though I think it will kill my gardenia:( Anyhow, ttyl.

    P.S. Happy New Year to you and may this be your best ever!

    Dear Tina, it is so great to see you again! Thanks for the info about the vellum and seed packets. It is nearing time for the seed exchange and I want to get some of those little envelopes this year. Although that vellum would make sweet seed packets too. Quite cold here at the moment, for the next week they say, with snow coming! I do hope it gets some of the bugs, but spares your gardenia. πŸ™‚

  12. Rose says:

    Good morning, Frances! It just amazes me to see narcissus coming up already and a ladybug in one photo. Southern Tennessee must be so much warmer than we are here–it’s 0 at the moment. Love the new birdhouse–what a thoughtful present!

    Hi Rose, thanks. Those silly daffs are nearly without soil. I guess all the hard rain and just time itself exposed them like that. Mulch will have to added and/or they need replanting. It is not quite that cold here today, in the teens, but new years day was fairly nice and there was a brief window of opportunity between entertaining guests and clean up for picture taking outside. The bird house continues to bring a smile, but needs moved to a better location for bird house hunters before long. πŸ™‚

  13. Anna says:

    It looks nearer to spring in your garden than it does it mine Frances:) I think that ladybirds here would risk frozen wings if they were to venture out and about. A most happy new year to you and may all your flowers flourish in 2010.

    Hi Anna, thanks and the same good wishes back to you and yours. It was much nicer that first day of the year than it is right now with temps well below freezing for the highs. That little lady beetle had better be hidden back down in the leaf litter until the next warm spell. That’s the way our weather is normally, like a roller coaster with warm then frigid. The plants must be able to withstand those swings, I don’t know how they do it, but they do. πŸ™‚

  14. Hi Frances, I love your last two sentences! Wow will those daffodils be OK?? Your first photo is a marvelous mystery. Beautiful light in all your photographs. I am in amazement that you still have flowers (lovely camellias). While here in New England we have months of hard winter ahead. Your garden will be a beacon of spring . . . of what is to come for me. I wonder who will make their home in your new birdhouse? Great gift and as always a great post. Carol

    Hi Carol, thanks so much. Sometimes we indulge in some vocabularial silliness. The daffs will be fine, after I dig and replant them then add mulch, when the ground thaws that is. Quite cold here at the moment, but it will warm up again, that is the way of our southeast TN winters, up and down. The camellias and other blooming plants, yes there are others! are amazing in their toughness. Spring comes early here it is true, but we can still get late frosts and even late snows into early April. We always pray that doesn’t happen, but it usually does. πŸ™‚

  15. Wow, you have so much activity growing on! I love the first two shots–macros are a great way of looking at familiar things in a new way. Also, I’m with you on the seed swap… I happened to score a bunch of free little envelopes that came with gift cards that I found in my wrapping supplies… and then I ordered a few coin envelopes on eBay. I hand-made all 70 or so I used last year and this year that idea just makes me seem crazy!! πŸ™‚

    Hi Monica, thanks. While they don’t give a true idea of a garden, the macros are still fun. I just got back from the office supply with envelopes and went up into the shed to get some saved seeds. Now the fun begins! πŸ™‚

  16. Great photos. Very different from my New Year camera excursions! I had to keep running back in the house to thaw out my camera battery, which had the opinion that it had no juice in it when it got too cold.

    Love that new bird house, but I have to say I like Athena more. I have garden decor envy, I guess.

    Hope your New Year brings you much health and happiness, Frances.

    Thanks Hands, and the very same best wishes back to you and yours for the new year. It is cold here today too, very cold. We were lucky on the first day of the year to be so nice. Athena says thanks! πŸ™‚

  17. How good it is too see things growing. I’m starting to miss that.

    Hi MMD, thanks. We are so up and down with the temps here, one day nearly spring like, the next down to nearly single digits, like today. It is a wonder the plants can tolerate those extremes, but they do.

  18. Steve says:

    I must say, Frances, your photographs make the normal look stupendous. You manage to milk the miracle out of the mundane in a way that few others can. I love your eye, Frances, and how you use it. I do hope you keep collecting these images and someday publish them. I feel like it’s cheating when I come by and see them like so many regular old blog posts, lol. Thanks!!

    Wow Steve, your kind words are overwhelming, thank you! Milk the miracle of the mundane, that is pure poetry. Glad you enjoy your visits, but are sure you are not secretly one of the offspring in disguise? HA πŸ™‚

  19. commonweeder says:

    I love visiting your blog – especially this time of the year – because I get to see plants and promises. All I’ve got, or will have, in my garden are sastrugi!

    Hi Pat, thanks. It is very gratifying to hear that! Your sastrugi are gorgeous though! πŸ™‚

  20. Willow says:

    It’s so nice to see these pictures. It is snow covered here in WV

    Hi Willow, thanks. It is cold here too today, no snow, yet! We were lucky to have that nice day for the first of the year. πŸ™‚

  21. Teresa O says:

    As the snow flies in Ohio, it’s a joy to see a tiny ladybug on a plant! The hope and dreams of spring come alive through your photos. Thanks for sharing them.

    Hi Teresa, thanks. Poor little ladybug, I hope it found a warm hiding place to ride out the cold snap we are now experiencing, but not inside the house! They do often sneak inside in the upstairs space above the garage. πŸ™‚

  22. Now I like that birdhouse.

    Those Daffs sure do offer promise, I always like the new formed rosettes around Sedum for that.

    We’re experiencing something of a cold snap at the moment, bah humbug.

    Hi Rob, so nice to hear from you. I thought of you when the travel troubles were happening at Christmas time. Hope you made it to your destination and back again okay. Those daffs are in drastic need of replanting and mulching. The soil gets washed away and they crowd each other ever higher. When the soil thaws we will fix them right up! Quite cold here at the moment too. But it won’t last. πŸ™‚

  23. joey says:

    Aw, the promise of spring, Frances (your garden never seems to sleep)! I love your calendar … with all of your stunning photos, it must have been hard to choose. I do a benefit calendar for our lake and, keeping in mind all do not like the same stuff, choosing ‘something for everyone’ is always difficult. Happy New Gardening Year!

    Hi Joey, thanks. The garden just takes cat naps when the temps dip low, like they are at present, then wakes back up when it warms again. Up and down, endlessly until it is all up, late April. The calender was great fun, choosing was the best part, I am the decider. HA We did decide to go with mostly macros except for the muhly, it was a wise decision. The happiest of years to you and yours. πŸ™‚

  24. As always, such beautiful photos. I especially like the detail of the kale. I look forward to seeing your narcissus blooming!

    Thanks Noelle. The kale was lit up so nicely that day. The purple kale shot was not nearly as translucent. There will be loads of daffs in a few weeks. The bunch shown will need replanting before then. Overcrowding and heavy rains have exposed the bulb, not a good thing.

  25. Kate says:

    Beautifully written. I feel this whole year is filled with promise. I’m excited for the beginning of new things.

    Thanks so much, Kate. The turning of the calender always fills me with hope too. πŸ™‚

  26. Sweet Bay says:

    You’re warmer than we were today then — we barely got above freezing.

    The promise of a new year is always wonderful, isn’t it?

    Love the birdhouse, it’s so charming.

    Hi Sweet Bay, thanks. These shots were taken on new years day, today is another story alltogether. If you got above freezing you were nearly ten degrees above us, for the high. Sadly.

  27. Beautiful photos! Is it as cold there as it is here? Our meteorologist says we’re not just in for a few days, we’re in for a few weeks of severe cold! So, the Musician and I are heading out to Southern California later in the week. The Archaeologist is here to take care of Charm!


    Thanks Cameron. It is well below freezing for the next several days at least, so they say. It seems a good time to go somewhere warm, have a fabulous time! πŸ™‚

  28. Lythrum says:

    I love that kale picture, it looks like it should be growing on a reef somewhere. πŸ™‚

    Hi Lythrum, thanks, so nice to see you! The ornamental kales offer so much winter interest here, they should be used more extensively. Note to self…. πŸ™‚

  29. Sweet Bay says:

    PS Frances, I’ll have to check and see if my mystery white rose is Alberic Barbier. Do you grow it? My mystery rose has glossy leaves, smallish flowers (smaller than Sombrueil) that have an ivory/ yellowish tinge. I can’t remember how/if yellow the buds are.

    Hi Sweet Bay, we used to have a couple of Alberics aka Killer. It tried to first eat the house, then the shed, then the paths along the eastern edge of the property. It was dug out finally but lives in the compost pile at daughter Semi’s home. We are keeping an eye on it there. It is very thorny and grows like crazy. If you do have it, beware! :-0

  30. Jen says:

    I miss Edgeworthia, we had some fine specimens at the nursery. It always made it easier going back after the winter break to see them blooming.

    Beautiful post, like always.


    Thanks Jen. We have never seen one in bloom so will be checking on it regularly. Even the buds are fabulous.

  31. Jake says:

    It must be nice to be seeing signs of spring and be above freezing. We aren’t expected to be above freezing until possibly by the end of the month. They are also saying our 5f on the 3rd may not have been the coldest weather of this winter. I hope you stay warm enough to start showing off some spring blooms soon.


    Hi Jake, thanks. It was above freezing on the first day of the year, but is now and will be for several more days definitely NOT above freezing, even for the highs. Stay warm yourself and dream of spring! πŸ™‚

  32. Another Northerner here in shock and awe over how much is going on in your garden. Your kale is gorgeous and seeing the narcissus emerging is so exciting, I look forward to mine. Love the birdhouse, it’s very mushroom like. Great gift! πŸ™‚

    Hi Rebecca thanks for visiting. It was a lovely day for the first of the new year, but has turned much colder since then, below freezing for the highs for several days and no end in sight. But the sun is shining and the birds are flitting around the feeders, it’s not so bad, really. πŸ™‚

  33. cpollen1 says:

    You always are such an inspiration to me. I am sure to many others as well! Thanks for all the wonderful blog posts that you create, you really take the cake, Frances!


    Hi Rosey, thank you so much for those sweet and kind words! It means a lot to me that you enjoy Fairegarden. And I love cake! πŸ™‚

  34. Happy New Year Frances! Glorious photos as usual & that is indeed a cool birdhouse! Does your s.i.l. sell them?

    Hi Linda, thanks so much and the same back to you and yours. The birdhouse was purchased in State College, PA, where SIL lives. There are lots of local artists there, it being a college town, Penn State, makes for great shopping opportunities. πŸ™‚

  35. skeeter says:

    Happy New Year to the Fairegarden gang! As always, your pictures are awesome! My favorite would be the birdbath. It so expresses a winter garden. The new birdhouse is great as is the calendar, what a great Idea! I may steal that idea for next year if I may…

    Hi Skeeter, nice to see you and thanks. May your new year be wonderful and filled with joy and love. The calender was fun and easy, do it! πŸ™‚

  36. easygardener says:

    Nice to see the Ladybird and signs of life from the Narcissi. Spring cometh and it better get a move on!

    Hi EG, thanks. We have had quite a cold snap since new years day when these shots were taken. I do hope the little lady found a warm spot to hide, not in our house though. Spring, we are looking for you! πŸ™‚

  37. Catherine says:

    I just love seeing these signs of life in your garden. A very cheerful post today! I love the birdhouse too!! I’m sure they’ll be fighting over who gets it.

    Thanks Catherine. We need to be cheered since it has turned so cold here recently. Not as bad as some places, but still cold. A good spot will have to be chosen for the birdhouse. I love seeing it on the deck table, but no birds will want to live there, I fear. Bluebirds are always welcome, but it is open to anyone who wants it. πŸ™‚

  38. Gill says:

    I can’t believe you have no snow and how far forward your garden is. It looks very spring like with you guys?

    Gill in Canada

    Hi Gill, no snow now, but there is some forecast in a couple of days. On warm days, things seem to grow forward, then when it goes below freezing, like now, they draw back. Our winters are like roller coasters, up and down. Hard on the plants, one would think, but they seem to survive each year for the most part. πŸ˜‰

  39. Kiki says:

    Wow..such gorgeous photos Frances..epic and beautiful! I love the new pretty! Your posts are always filled with such life and beauty! Thank you for all you create!

    You say the sweetest things, Kiki, thanks for that! The birdhouse is perfect, just as art, isn’t it? It will need to be hung someplace within view of the addition but still where the birds will take residence. It will be fun if we can watch the comings and goings of a family in there. πŸ™‚

  40. That Edgeworthia chrysantha has caught my attention, I’ll have to go do a bit of research.

    You have such a lovely garden, and an eye for beauty. That kale photo is stunning, and who wouldn’t love Athena keeping a regal eye on their garden?

    Hi ME, thanks so much. The Edgeworthia has my excitement level racheted up, it will be a first to see it bloom, and smell it too. Athena nods in gratitude. πŸ™‚

  41. Wooooo, Frances, great kale. And I’d be tempted to leave the birdhouse in the house, at least for a while, so I could admire its elfin lines. Lovely spending time with you, as always. Happy New Year!

    Thanks Helen, a woman after my own heart. I love the birdhouse right there, eflin lines is perfect! I was thinking yesterday that maybe some braver birds, like the Carolina wrens might take up residence in it there. Dream on, right? A happy new year to you and yours as well. πŸ™‚

  42. Bob Pool says:

    Thank you so much for your post on my blog. The water situation here is such that to be sure of having water for a garden, the tanks were a no brainer. The well can no longer be trusted for it all.

    I am a seed starter as a matter of fact and have been for many years now. I built my own seed starting set up and it has been modified through the years until I thin I’ve got it now.

    I must ask…Do you know any Winders, Wades or Bohannons? Both my Grandparents as well as my Great grandparents were from A.

    Hi Bob, my pleasure to visit your wonderful blog. My own seed starting got serious last year with the lights and heat mats. It still needs major modification however. I have to step across a three foot high cord in front of the door, attached to the timers to get into the greenhouse. More lights are needed too, but that is a given. As for the families you name, we are not from A, we just live there and know barely anyone except our neighbor Mickey down the street. He would know your family, probably.

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