September 11th

That most autumnal of plants, the chrysanthemum, is this close to blooming….

The shade garden in January, part 2

Snow, in January, in Minnesota! Hard to believe in this crazy, mixed-up winter, but it still happens, and it happened here last night. It gave me a great opportunity to get out and focus on some different parts of the garden. Before, when the ground was still bare, a handful of plants were still really notable: the coral bells (still bright red foliage), the vinca, pachysandra, and moss (still bright green), and the globe allium (tall stalks, photogenic inflorescences in their rather distinct umbel form). Now, besides the globe allium, all of that is mostly buried under a light layer of snow. That left a different plant to shine for a bit — my sedum — one I never really noticed before because, in dormancy, it was brown and slightly bland, and because of this and its low growth habit it wasn’t especially distinguishable from the dead leaves, dormant plants and dirt.

I love the sedum we have in our garden because the flowers persist through the fall and winter, and they remind me of a miniature star anise. I like a lot of the pictures I got here, but I’m a little disappointed I couldn’t get a really good one of my first impression of them – they kind of looked like a teeny, tiny little grove.

This is probably the picture that comes closest to the “grove” thing.

This is one of my favorite pictures of the sedum. I like how the leaves of the sedum in the foreground framed one of the stalks behind it.

Then there were these beautiful, gently spiraling stems (of echinacea? chrysanthemum? not sure). I couldn’t quite capture these — in most of the pictures, all the stems kind of got mixed up with the other plants in a stalk riot, and you couldn’t really see what a nice shape the stalks had — but I still like the results:

More curly stems.

While we’re on the topic of shoots, here is a picture of the barberry:

The spines of one of the barberry bushes.

The leftover pachysandra looked kind of limp and squished before the snow came, but it was still nice and vivid, so I liked that. Now it looks even neater peeking up out of the snow:

The lone pachysandra peeking out of the snow.

Then there’s the glorious poppies. I just love the seed heads they leave behind. They look like little apples wearing crowns or something:

The chrysanthemums aren’t so interesting in the winter, but the flowers that persist mostly whole and open are really pretty with the gathered snow framed by the ray florets:

The perennial favorite (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?), echinacea:

I particularly like this picture. It looks like a hardcore cupcake topping.

And finally, the always-lovely globe allium: