Each month on the 22nd Christina of Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides invites us to join in on a consideration of foliage in the garden. Foliage effects in the winter months can seem to drag on and February may have its pleasant moments in Christina’s Italian landscape, but here in Pennsylvania February is the month when the relentless assault of winter begins to wear down even the toughest greenery. Imagine my surprise when a beautiful February weekend comes along and gets me thinking about outdoor things other than snow. It felt great to get outside again, do a few spring-like tasks, and consider what was holding the garden together.
One task I did tackle was a little front garden cleanup. The snowdrops are coming up here in the front foundation bed, and dead sunflower trunks do not add to ambiance of the scene. Blue fescue (Festuca glauca, cultivar unknown) does though, and I’m enjoying the edging of faded blue which lines the front. A nice solid swath of one plant helps tie this bed together but I’m not entirely convinced I can give up my collecting habits in favor of better (notice I won’t say good) design. My single mass planting of little fescues is a starting point though and even if I can’t add more solid pools elsewhere maybe I can at least repeat a few nice patches of similar foliage here and there for the sake of continuity.
Another grass which has lasted well throughout the winter are the native little bluestem clumps (Schizachyrium scoparium) which dot the back meadow area. They will be cut down shortly as crocus blooms begin to fill the meadow, but for now they’re a nice backdrop to my weakly flowering witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis ‘Pallida’). It’s too dry and exposed here for the witch hazel to do well in this location, but it hangs on and every now and then has a good spring.
It may have felt like spring for a few hours but it’s still surely winter around here. El Nino has thrown things for a loop and by my wildly inaccurate guess we are about three weeks ahead of a ‘normal’ winter. Not a problem I say, and I’ll take the early snowdrops and deal with future wild temperature fluctuations as they come.
So even in the dead of winter there is foliage making a contribution and there is hope for the upcoming year. Hope is always a good thing, and what better way to breed more hope than to look at other inspiring foliage effects from around the world. Give Christina’s blog a visit and as always have a great week!