Red In January

Winterberry holly makes us jolly.
Ilex verticillata ‘Sparkleberry’

Diane witch hazel reminds us of basil. No, that’s not good. Think some more on this one.
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’

Calluna vulgaris ‘Firefly’ reaches for the sky. No it doesn’t, it is quite short in stature. You are going to have to do better.

But poetry was never my strong suit. Here is Firefly in situ, a row of three, it’s the bee’s knees. Now that is just plagerism.

Japanese blood grass kicks you in the… Now you are very close to crossing the line here.
Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubrum’

Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ is a paragon. Are you trying for those para words-Paramonday again?
Persicaria microcephala ‘Red Dragon’

Ornamental pepper ‘Black Pearl’ is quite a girl. You are getting worse, not better.
Capsicum annuum ‘Black Pearl’

Unknown geranium, the color of titanium. What!!!

With Arctic Fire, Arctic Sun, where is that tag? It doesn’t always have to rhyme, you know.
Cornus sanguinea ‘Arctic Sun’

The real reason for this post.
British Soldier Lichen, Cladonia cristatella, Thanks Lisa!

Found growing on the cedar boards at the corner of the raised bed behind the shed.

Too cool for school.


This entry was posted in Musings. Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to Red In January

  1. gittan says:

    Wow! That’s cool!

    Hi Gittan, thanks. I had never seen that before.

  2. gardeningasylum says:

    All those lovely reds, and the best of all is that blooming lichen!

    Thanks. Isn’t that lichen something? I went checking around all the other similar lichen growing here, there is lots, and none had those red/orange spots. I wonder what triggers it?

  3. Edith Hope says:

    Dear Frances, This is so imaginative and such fun. It has completely brightened up an otherwise dull day:

    “It was worth rising from bed, to read Frances on red”. Forgive me!

    Ah, Edith, good one! No apology necessary. Thanks for visiting Fairegarden Lite. πŸ™‚

  4. Darla says:

    You made me smile at 5:30 in the morning and that’s not so easy…Firefly may be reaching for the sky as hard as she can, she’s pretty. I love the fungi with the orange cap…

    Hi Darla, thanks. Hey, congratulations on the mention for the GGW photo contest!

  5. ssaa4ever says:

    hello! dear i realy like you photos and your blog
    too cool ^_^

  6. Les says:

    Though not long from bed,
    I came to see your red.
    I expect to see lovely
    grasses and flowers,
    but enjoyed your lichens
    more instead.

    Thanks for visiting so early in the morning, Les. Your poetry is so much better than mine! Lisa has identified the lichen as British Soldier Lichen, Cladonia cristatella. The name makes it even more cool! πŸ™‚

  7. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    The British Soldier not growing on my shoulder, this rhyme is terrible good thing it isn’t wearable. I hope you aren’t sitting there gagging. tee hee…My neighbor used to have a cedar fence that had British Soldiers growing on it. When they took it down I almost asked for the section that had it growing on it. They already think me odd so I didn’t do it. Actually I think they threw it away when I was not home. I haven’t seen it growing on anything else around here. It must like cedar.

    Thanks, Lisa!!! I have added the name and a link to you in the post. As first I didn’t get what you were saying about soliders. HA I did some checking but did not see anywhere about it preferring cedar to other woods, but this is the only place it is blooming while lichens are all over the shed area. It sounds like my cedar raised planted is not long for this world. Too bad about your neighbors fence, I would have tried to salvage some too, in the dark of night perhaps. My neighbors already think I am weird, and they are right! πŸ™‚

  8. blogslow says:

    the British Soldier Lichen is great, but the dying ornamental peppers stole my heart. The live parts always look so very strong next to all that decay. Lovely.

    Thanks for stopping by. The red peppers holding color on the plant really did attract my attention. Most are being eaten by some critter. I expect that one to be gone in a day or two. BTW, the link you have left does not go to a blog. Do you have a blog? If so, let me know the url and I will add it to the sidebar blogroll. πŸ™‚

  9. Joy says:

    I love that bit of red in the garden Frances .. it highlights so many other plants near it with a punch line expression ! : )

    Hi Joy, thanks. It was surprising how much red was out there, even in the old dead foliage. There were many photos taken, these were the best, of course. πŸ™‚

  10. Gail says:

    I’ve noticed that lichen recently…it’s wonderful! Love all the photos. gail

    Hi Gail, thanks for using some of your fifteen here to comment. I do appreciate it, my friend. The lichen is everywhere, but only the one spot has the red caps. I was actually unaware of it at first, just shooting the lichen and noticed the red when I got on my knees for the close up.

  11. You are having so much fun! Love these fun musing with photographic characters that bring your words to life. πŸ™‚
    You made me smile this morning!

    Hi Cameron, thanks, that was a fun day, finally getting outside with the camera. We are hoping for sunshine today, it helps the pictures to have some, not to mention what it does for the photographer. πŸ™‚

  12. Diana says:

    Frances, the reds in the winter’s garden display the lingering beauty, but the lichen, your “too cool for school” is an amazing photo!

    Hi Diana, thanks so much. The camera does not really care for the color red, it is hard to get a clear shot with the color right. The lichen is a red orange, really a nice contrast to the light green. Nature is so good with color. πŸ™‚

  13. Steve says:

    I’ve never been a huge fan of Calluna, the truth is, but you sure did make that one look good, Frances. The Lichen, however, could launch a thousand posts! Looks like a small city, fer Pete Sakes, in those killer close-ups you take. Absolutely astonishing, actually. Love it.

    Hi Steve, thanks so much, you say the nicest things. πŸ™‚ The Callunas without colorful foliage are a drab lot, I agree. Even the Ericas are being removed, they just don’t have enough punch. We have several heathers that are supposed to be bright in winter, Blazeaway, Multicolor are two that barely change. But Firefly is the queen of winter, and Sunset a close second. The lichen do look like a miniature village, there are several different shapes on that one board. Hard to see outside, but blowing up the photos really reveals the intricasies.

  14. I love all your reds Frances… will you be having an orange post next?? LOL! I am most captivated by your lichen! I have often … over the years… gotten on my knees to see these little forests of red blooming Dr. Seuss trees! One can just imagine the little creatures running around in that world. I had never gotten a great photo like yours!! Simply Marvelous!! ;>)

    Hi Carol, thanks. I actually had the draft for this post before seeing all the rainbows and thought about morphing it into something else. But we were ready for a lighthearted and easy story after the last couple of weighty tomes. Sometimes the camera likes what it sees, after a hundred shots. πŸ™‚

  15. Very neat lichen! I’ve not seen one with the red like that.

    Thanks Dave. If I have seen it before, I didn’t take a picture of it. Fun to know the name too.

  16. Daphne says:

    Wow I love the red lichen spores. I’ve never seen them before.

    Thanks Daphne. They are very interesting, and very tiny. I did not notice them until getting up close and personal with the lichen for a macro. When I went back later, I thought they had disappeared, but getting down on the ground once again, saw them.

  17. tina says:

    Pretty good rhyming and quite funny!

    Thanks Tina. The poetry is appalling, but we were going for a lighthearted post. πŸ™‚

  18. Kathy Stilwell says:

    What fun!
    Red in the dead of winter…living in lichen even. I’m going to have to go see if I can find some here!

    Hi Kathy, thanks. Look on wood, cedar if you have it. You’ll need to look very closely, this stuff is tiny, these shots are extreme close ups. πŸ™‚

  19. Rosey says:

    You are a fantastic poet! I enjoyed this post a lot! The lichen is very picturesque…that’s a keeper.

    HA Rosey, thanks. The lichen was such a surprise, and it is nice to know the name of it too. Very unique.

  20. Hello Frances,

    I am really enjoying the photos of Witch Hazel that you and other bloggers have been posting. It is a fascinating looking flower. Of course, your other plants are so colorful too :^)

    Thanks Noelle. It is very difficult to get a good photograph of the witch hazel with the angle of the sun the way it is, either too sunny or too shady. Or maybe it just needs to open more fully. I get so excited when it blooms in the dead of winter. The blooms look like curled up crepe paper. Now if only I could capture that properly…. πŸ™‚

  21. Willow says:

    Beautiful pics. We have a redtwig dogwood in our yard and I love how it looks in the dead of winter.

    Thanks Willow. The redtwig dogwoods are fabulous for winter color. We have a couple of the reds and a couple of the yellows too. I can’t seem to get a good shot of them. I will keep trying. Snow is the best background and we seldom have that here. But who knows with this years weather? πŸ™‚

  22. VW says:

    The poetry made me giggle, and I loved the gorgeous geranium leaf. Enjoy those yummy witchhazel flowers for me!

    Hi VW, thanks. It was just for silly, but even trying my best wouldn’t be much better. The geranium is a good one, wish we knew the name. It has a mauve flower and is quite a robust grower, much more so than Rozanne.

  23. RainGardener says:

    This brightened my day. I’ve never been much of a poet myself. But I did think if one had allergies they could say Basil makes me nasal. Did I already say I’ve never been much of a poet myself? hehehe Love the bright cheerie red berries and the bloomin’ lichen.

    Hi RG, thanks. You are a better poet than I am! The winterberries are starting to shrivel, soon they will be eaten by the cardinals and other birds. That is a sure sign of spring. πŸ™‚

  24. Deirdre says:

    That lichen is amazing! I wish I had some of that. If you like red in the winter, look up Acer conspicuum ‘Pheonix’. It has bright red striped bark. It’s much redder than the usual coral bark maple. I love mine.

    Thanks Deirdre. I will check that Acer out. We have the coral bark and I really like it, but cannot for the life of me get a decent photo of it. Your stripes sound quite appealing. πŸ™‚

  25. Rose says:

    She may not be a poet,
    But she sure knows how to grow it!

    Ok, Frances, that’s my contribution to bad poetry today:) Such beautiful photos this morning–they certainly brightened up my day. The calluna vulgaris is really attractive; I’m going to have to check that plant out. But the lichen is the star of the show here today–amazing! I’m a-likin’ lichen. Ok, enough…

    Hi Rose, you are the best poet! Really, I mean that. You do know your way around words. The calluna would grow for you, we are nearly too warm for it here, but it does prefer acid, poor soil, not deeply enriched stuff. Firefly is by far the most colorful, red in winter and yellow gold in summer. A regular thermometer! πŸ™‚

  26. I’m likin’ that lichen!

    Oh I like that one, MMD! You are so creative. πŸ™‚

  27. Kiki says:

    Woah..super beautiful..I love th firefly photos…lovely! Great texture and color! Wonderful post! very alive!

    Thanks Kiki. Firefly is such a winner in winter. Does that count as a poem? HA πŸ™‚

  28. Jen says:

    All of them are beautiful, and I especially loved the lichen.


    Thanks Jen. It was really all about the lichen. If I had known the name when the post was written, there would have been a different take on it. πŸ™‚

  29. Jim Groble says:

    Wow! wonderful pictures. I can almost touch them.

    Thanks Jim. Like 3D? Avatar? Where are those glasses! πŸ™‚

  30. Sweet Bay says:

    I’ve never seen a lichen like that before, that is amazing! Your Winterberry is still beautiful. The birds ate ours long ago.

    Thanks Sweet Bay. The lichen is so tiny, you might have some and just haven’t seen it. If you have cedar fencing, or wood that has been outside for a few years is the place to look, it seems. I keep checking to see the birds on the hollies. The berries are shrively and the Winter Gold berries are brown. No customers yet though.

  31. There is nothing on the Web that is such a guaranteed “eye-pop” as opening your blog. Red is right!

    What a wonderful compliment, Linda, thanks so much! I love to visit you too. πŸ™‚

  32. Teresa says:

    If you lived around here I would say you sound a bit cabin feverish but you can still get out and enjoy all the winter loveliness in your gardens. So that can’t be it. Maybe you are just happy. That is the better explanation for all that silliness. Your photos are great and I am so glad that there are gardens to live vicariously in during January and February. THe lichen is very cool. So out of this world looking. THanks for a fun post. Have a nice weekend.

    Hi Teresa, thanks. We are to get snow/wintry mix here this weekend. Our weather is so up and down it is hard on the brain when it is in the down mode. There definitely needed to be some silliness after the death watch of the previous two posts. My kids are freaking out. You too have a great weekend. πŸ™‚

  33. Kathleen says:

    Holy cow ~ that is one COOL lichen. I can see why you are so exuberant over it Frances. So much color there in Faire Garden besides that “bad to the bone” lichen. I seriously need to do something about the overload of brown in my garden…. GREAT photos!!!

    Thanks Kathleen. The camera lies about color here however. Those are little microcosms of color, the lichen is so tiny, one would not notice the red without uploading the shots. Firefly is a good color blast though, along with Sunset. Those are the two best Callunas we have found.

  34. Stevie says:

    That is just the best lichen – I agree it’s too cool. And I’m just in love with Diane this month. I wish I had room!

    Hi Stevie, thanks. Diane is opening more each day. I am out there with the camera when there is some sunshine, trying not to step on the emerging daffodils at her feet. We are still waiting for Arnold however. πŸ™‚

  35. Stunning photos, Just beautiful! I love your lichen…wish I had me some of that too but it is far too dry here at the moment. We neeed rain!!

    Thanks so much, and welcome. Summer can be quite dry here as well, and the mosses, lichen and fungi take a nap. Winter is our wet season, and this one even more so than normal. I loved your earth stars. We have some too, growing in the gravel of all places. You have inspired me to look around for more. πŸ™‚

  36. bloominrs says:

    That lichen really is amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it.

    Hi Bloomin, thanks and welcome. I was blown away by your wildflower post, BTW! πŸ™‚

  37. Special Ed. Extended Resource Class says:

    Oh, Princess witch hazel Diane,
    you need to expand to Chickenpoet’s land.
    You will be received with such royal appraisal
    for you behold my favorite bloom , Ms. Diane witch hazel.

    Dear Special Ed Class, you are much better at poetry than I am. Chickenpoet does indeed need a Diane. We’ll see if that can be arranged. πŸ™‚

  38. Teresa O says:

    What a bright cheerful post, especially since I just read the previous one. lol I LOVE the flowering lichen. Fabulous photos of the tiny lichen. The color red mixes with stunning clarity against the soft, sea green.

    Thanks Teresa, that was the idea. Isn’t the color combination of the orangey red so perfect with the light grey green. Just perfect, that Mother Nature is quite the artist. πŸ™‚

  39. commonweeder says:

    You always give us a new lens for looking at the details in the garden. The lichen is beautiful but requires close attention. We are covered in snow again. White everywhere.

    Hi Pat, thanks. You are so sweet. My camera does all the work, I am always surprised when the photos are loaded on the computer. Sorry about your snow, we may have some of our own tomorrow they are saying, but nothing like yours.

  40. British Soldier Lichen, too cool for school indeed.

    Please send me some. I’d stare at it all day.

    The unknown geranium is a marvel both in colour and that it still has its foliage.

    Thanks Rob. You would need a magnifying glass to see the lichen, it is so tiny, the red cap is about the size of a pinhead, if that big. The geranium is quite evergreen, it just changes colors when the weather is cold It looks its worst in the heat of summer. I would love to know what variety, or species it is.

  41. Your poetry and your inner critic’s responses to it made me laugh. I love love love the lichen fruiting bodies at the end, and your witch hazel pictures made me go check mine again. Still no blossoms. These are very young trees though, and may not bloom this year anyway.

    Battening down the hatches for our predicted snow storm here at the Havens.

    Hi Hands, thanks. I am glad to lighten up the reading after the last couple of deep thought posts. My witch hazel did not bloom for a year or two after planting. It was so exciting when it finally did, worth the wait. The weather people are calling for ice, sleet, snow and freezing rain here. Schools are closed and it hasn’t even begun yet. I am waiting for the stores to open so I can get some milk, the one thing we don’t want to run out of. Take care of the Havens!

  42. OK, that titanium rhyme was a huge stretch. But, it made me laugh out loud. I think all your flowers are the bees knees. πŸ™‚

    Thanks Kate, that makes me very happy. Sorry Geico. πŸ™‚

  43. Oooh..the witch hazel is my favorite. So delicate. And pink. Thanks for sharing

    Hi Kelly, thanks. The witch hazel is a stand out with the time of bloom too. The weather doesn’t seem to faze it, cold or precip of any kind. It will be tested today, however with the forecast of every kind of insult nature can dish out. πŸ™‚

  44. BRITISH SOLDIER LICHEN! Thank you SO much for identifying this beauty for me! We’ve got it on our split rail fencing, too! I love it.

    Cute post, Frances!

    Hi Kylee, thanks. It must like cedar. I have lichen all over the place, on many surfaces, but the cedar boards are the only ones with this type. I looked yesterday very closely and it is all over each board. It is very tiny, as you know, but too cute. πŸ™‚

  45. leavesnbloom says:

    Frances I missed this post till now. I loved it and I am sure you know which pictures were my favourites here – yip you guessed it that lichen soldier. I’ve never seen anything like it before………. or I would have it photographed too! nature sure is amazing. I’ll have to find out if this grows in Scotland :)Rosie

    Hi Rosie, thanks. Old posts are always there for perusal. You’d be surprised at which posts are read after various google searches, I know I am. I have never noticed the British Soldier either, but it has probably been there for years. It is reallllly tiny! It seems to prefer old cedar boards, that is the best place to look for it. πŸ™‚

  46. roostershamblin says: would you please spend a few minutes and check out my blog. I am a farmer who has been raising over fifty breeds of chickens for forty years.

    Very interesting blog. Lots of good chicken raising information there. This type of comment usually gets deleted. You should really try for a more personal touch. It may get deleted yet, depending upon my mood. Right now I am feeling generous. That could change, with the weather.

  47. Jake says:

    Those Winterberries are really making me wnat to buy some. Your pictures and the ones I have seen planted around Lexington are just beautiful plants. Your garden has so much winter interest compared to my past gardens up here in Lexington.


    Hi Jake, thanks, nice to see you. Winterberries are wonderful. They berries are now being eaten by some hungry mockingbirds. That usually means spring will be here soon. I hope so! We have been striving for winter interest for nearly ten years. It is ongoing. πŸ™‚

  48. AnneTanne says:

    So nice to see your Witch Hazel blooming…
    Mine are extremely late this year. Not even ‘Jelena’ is blooming (no, she is, but only since one week, and with only five flowers), let alone ‘Diane’, who is the latest to flower of my bunch…

    Hi Anne, thanks, so nice to see you. Diane was a little later than last year, but quickly caught up on some recent warm days last week and is getting a post of her own tomorrow. Now she has snow at her feet, but still looks lovely, if cold. Arnold Promise is not open yet, just a hint of yellow showing on some buds. I had hoped for them to open together. Jelena is a beauty. πŸ™‚

  49. Grace says:

    Dear Frances~~ Your blog is always such a delight. Your salvia children look healthy and happy as all children should. Don’t hate me but I’m extremely lucky to have Fry Road Nursery [my sidebar] at my fingertips. The owners are constantly taking cuttings not just on many species and cultivar Salvias but Hebes and so many other delectable plants. Most go for 75 cents a piece, fully rooted plugs in April. Have you grown Salvia greggei? Is it hardy for you? It’s marginal here but so worth replacing if it succumbs to winter’s ravages. Gorgeous photos on your previous “RED” post too. I’m so far behind on blog reading, it’s criminal. I thought about you when the weather reports were for a winter blast in your neck of the woods. Cheers.

    Dear Grace, thanks so much. We did get six inches of snow, a ten year record breaker here. Pretty exciting. I don’t hate you, but am very envious of those cuttings for that price! Mouse Creek, my version of your nursery has many cuttings of desirables at reasonable prices, (not 75 cents!) and I take advantage of them each year. They like to see my car turn into the driveway! We do have several S. greigii’s, I was on a thing for them a few years ago. Some have been lost, but several return faithfully, Rose Queen I believe is the hardiest. Then we decided that they were contributing to our little leaf syndrome and stopped adding them, trying for some larger leaves, like Black and Blue among others in their place. As for the blog reading, it is so hard to keep up, but thankfully the posts will wait for us. πŸ™‚


  50. Thank you for making me smile! I love that calluna plant!

    Hi Sue, thanks so much. Smiles are always good. That Calluna will grow for you, it loves the cold. We are nearly too warm for them here. πŸ™‚

Comments are closed.