Thursday, December 30, 2010

Seasons of Change (Backyard)

In an earlier post, I showed some of the seasonal changes in my front garden.   Now let's move to the backyard.

Backyard View


The backyard is lush with bright spring growth.  Dwarf Yaupon Hollies line the flagstone path leading to the pond.   Japanese maples dot the landscape under the canopy of a large American Elm and native Post Oaks.


The summer scenery changes slightly.  Hydrangeas are in bloom, ornamental grasses have filled out, and the Japanese maple color has subdued.


Autumn brings another pallet of colors to the back garden.  The maples are bright with reds and oranges, the elms and oaks have lost their leaves, ornamental grasses have taken on their fall color.


A snow-laden garden is a rare sight in my garden, but when it does happen, the view is magical -- if only for a brief time.

I thought the crape myrtle in this picture and the ones behind the pond (next set of pictures) would snap from the weight of snow.  But they just took a bow and gracefully stood right back up when the snow melted.


Here are those crape myrtles standing tall during the summer.

Birdhouse View

Summer Phlox, Rudbeckia 'Goldstrum', Salvia guaranitica, 'King Humbert' Canna, Turk's Cap, 'Tropical Giant' Spider Lily, and Virginia Sweetspire 'Little Henry'  surround the base of the birdhouse.

Garden Angel



Spring Maples

Autumn Maples

For other views of the Japanese Maples, click here

The "peacock" crane changes his "plumage" from season to season.

As 2010 draws to a close, I hope you're taking some time out of this busy season to appreciate your garden, 
or to dream about what it will be... 
next season.

What plans do you have for your garden in the new year?

Happy New Year!
Toni :-)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Southern Snow

 On our trip to visit family in 
South Carolina 
this Christmas, 
we got to see a little of the white stuff.

Sometime in the wee hours of the morning after Christmas the flakes started falling...

 and we woke up to a light covering of snow.
I'm sure my friends and family in the north are probably laughing at this "snow day,"  but for those of us in the south, this is a rare event, and I just had to take a few pictures!

The rosemary and holly were frosted.

The red berries of Photinia and Burford Holly were bright
against the dusting of snow.

The frigid temps kept this droplet...


Frosty "fingers" of the neighbor's dogwood tree

 A snow-capped birdhouse

Popping out of the snow, this cute little squirrel ornament offers the hope of spring blooms :-)

After playing outside in the snow, 
my grandson and I attempted to make a gingerbread house.

The weight of the "snow" collapsed the roof,
and it started to melt very quickly.
(Notice the lovely landscaping!)

 * * *
The snow melted very quickly outside, too.  
It was gone the next day...and so were we.  

We are on our way back home to Texas 
to bring in the New Year.    

And thanks to a new laptop for Christmas and Wi-Fi in the hotel, this post is being brought to you on the go! 
Isn't technology great :-) 

Until next time... 

Toni :-)

P.S. To see some other snowy landscapes around the country, visit the 2010 First Snowfall Project at Leaping Greenly

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Joyful Christmas Wishes

Joy to the world!
The Lord is come.

Blessings and joy...
to you and yours this holiday season 

Merry Christmas

Toni :-)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Gardener's Solstice Sentiments

'Twas four nights before Christmas
on the 21st of December
And what is this date
that gives pause to remember?

Why, it's the solstice of winter
for the northern hemisphere
It's the longest of nights,
and the shortest day all year

In the wee hours of the morning
there'll be an eclipse of the moon
but I'll be dreaming of springtime
in hopes it comes soon

Tonight as I'm nestled 
all snug in my bed
oh, what visions of springtime
will dance in my head

Though it's the first day of winter
let not the doldrums bring
for today starts the countdown
to the warmer days of spring

Oh, digging; oh, planting;
Oh, compost, and more!
Come daffodils, come perennials
Come spring I adore :-)

So let me exclaim
on this cold solstice night
I'll bide my time through this winter
for it's in spring I delight! 

By Toni @ Signature Gardens 12-21-10

Happy Winter Solstice everyone!  Stay warm :-)

(Oh, and happy Summer Solstice to my Southern Hemisphere friends -- stay cool!)

Toni :-)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Seasons of Change (Front Yard)

Inspired by the Seasonal Musings of Carol 
at Flower Hill Farm, as the year draws to a close
I thought I'd show you some of the changes in my garden 
from season to season. 

This first post will be of my front yard; 
a later post will feature the backyard.

Front Perennial Beds


Annual reseeding wildflowers (Poppies, Larkspur, Bluebonnets) fill in open spots as the perennials begin to fill out.  Perennial blooms of 'Bath's Pink' Dianthus, 'May Night' Salvia, 'Henry Duelberg' Salvia, Calylophus, Creeping Phlox, and Ox-eye Daisy also add spring color.


As the heat heightens, so does the color!   
The salvias continue to bloom, but Summer Phlox, Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm,' and Russian Sage get in on the show, too.  Annual reseeding Melampodium and Periwinkles squeeze in where they can.


Autumn brings Salvia greggii to peak performance, as well as Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) and Fall Aster (Aster oblongifolius).   Ornamental grasses send up their plumes in an effort to stand out among the blooms.


And in a rare sight in Texas, the perennial beds are covered with a blanket of snow.  February 2010 brought record snowfall to the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Front Walk

Spring Wildflowers

Summer Perennials

Winter Wonderland

I hope you've enjoyed a look at the seasonal changes 
in my front garden.  

Please come back soon for a look at my backyard.

Toni :-)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fabulous Foliage - December '10

Kadsura japonica

 Here's my Foliage Follow-up to yesterday's blooms.

Although it is getting more difficult to find blooms in my garden this time of year, there is no shortage of beautiful foliage to share.

I hope you will bear with me as I post 
just a couple more pictures of the maples in my garden.

You may be thinking... "Enough with the Japanese Maples already!!"    
The maples do not all turn at the same rate.  These colored up later than the others, and I just had to share them with you. 

'Viridis' and 'Bloodgood' make a striking combination.  

Cherry Laurels form an evergreen backdrop, and Japanese Holly Fern form a fringe below.

Acer Palmatum 'Orange Dream' took its sweet time coloring up this winter, but it was worth the wait!

'D.D. Blanchard' Magnolia stands tall behind the maple, and the strap-leaf foliage of 'Tropical Giant' Spider Lily is in the foreground.

Can you blame me for wanting to show just one more picture of these gorgeous leaves?!

Okay.  Moving on to some other lovely leaves in my garden...

The Oak Leaf Hydrangea 'Alice' almost seems to be glowing
in the afternoon light.

Nandinas have reliable fall and winter color, too.

This is 'Nana' in the foreground and 'Compacta' in the background.  

'Compacta' has an added bonus of berries for the winter birds.

Maybe not quite as exciting, but this 'Big Blue' Liriope forms a super low-maintenance evergreen groundcover above this retaining wall at the east entrance to my backyard.

My "peacock" crane has changed his "feathers,"
adding a little more color to his "plumage."

Miscanthus Sinensis 'Adagio' has turned
into a rainbow of colors, adding even more interest to this wonderful ornamental grass.

Just look at those ribbons of color!!

'Hameln' Fountaingrass has turned a warm golden color

And the 'Regal Mist' Muhly grass has faded from its glorious autumn pink to a more subdued buff color
for the winter.

This is the time of year when it seems we can appreciate 
the foliage in our gardens all the more, 
when there is little or no competition from blooms.  

Autumn leaves add color, and evergreen foliage adds structure and texture to our gardens through the winter.

For links to some other sites displaying fabulous foliage 
(and some cedars decked out for Christmas!), 
visit the Foliage Follow-up posts at Digging.

Until next time, my garden friends...

Enjoy your winter gardens and stay warm!

Toni :-)