Monday, December 17, 2012

Winter is Here

We had a new snowfall of three or four inches yesterday and last night so now everything is white and looks Christmas-like.  We dug about a dozen 1 to 2 inch caliper trees with a tree spade which was the first time I had actually been involved with that process.  I learned how to tie them into the baskets correctly.  We just finished potting up about 15 types of native spring ephemerals: 4 different kinds of Trillium, Cimicifuga, Mertensia, Pachysandra, Polygonatum, Arisaema, 2 Claytonias, Hepatica, some Carex, Iris, etc.

From now till when we start tapping the maples or working on the line, cows and calves may be my main focus.  The chain and paddle system has been malfunctioning every morning for the past three days.

After a year and a quarter, I now have hot water in my house.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Johnny-jump-ups still blooming

At this time of year between late fall and real winter with beautiful snow, my all-purple Johnny jump-ups are in full bloom. They are seeding here and there which is what they do. I believe these are the descendents of ones I got from Nina Klinck- I keep rouging out the ones with yellow in them which my more politically correct family dislike.  They seem to consider it something Hitler would have done.

I started back working at the farm where I live for the winter.  I like some early morning excersize(sp?) and I like cows- I draw a few every day after I scrape and shovel manure and bed the cattle.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Winter Interest

My morale was greatly elevated by an invitation to talk to the Lyme Gardeners last night about plants for winter beauty.  

Winter fruit:
   My favorite has been Ilex verticilata which has many many new cultivars such as 'Berry Heavy' and 'Berry Nice'.Unfortunately, this year birds got all the fruit in November.

Viburnum trilobum fruit stay red all winter.

Japanese barberry hold up well but are too invasive for my taste. Korean Barberry have pretty fruit, good fall color and don't seem to come up everywhere as weeds.

Sumac is attractive all winter.

The viburnums have a nice winter aspect even though they are brown.

Red-twig dogwoods are a good plant to brighten up the winter.  I've had the best results with varieties of our native Cornus sericea (formerly C. stolonifera): forrma baileyi and 'Cardinal'.  The European species (C.sanguinea) has many newer cultivars such as 'Midwinter Fire', 'Winter Flame' and 'Arctic Sun'- these are a little shorter growing and I have found them a little tempermental around here  but fine farther south. Kevin thinks there are fine here and Michelle agrees with me.  There is also the oriental spesies Cornus alba.

Red twig willows are quite stunning: Salix alba 'Flame'.  Also dwarf arctic and dapples willows have attractive purple osiers in the winter

Grasses are good in the winter. My favorite are Molinia 'Skyracer', Calamogrostis brachytricha and various Miscanthus.

Silphiums are pretty in the winter: their leathery curled leaves.  I like S. terebinthinacium and S. laciniate for this reason.