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Winter's On It's Way Out


I suspect that I am not the only gardener who has gotten a jump on his spring cleanup. In a more typical winter, with only a few spells of warmth I am likely to waste the days in less productive pursuits, and this was true until a few weeks ago. Now, the early weeks of spring must not be consumed by endless labor, though in this one acre garden there is never a lack of chores that must be accomplished.

Posted: 2/24/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Winter Winds Down

many hellebores began flowering in late January, which is only slightly early in this garden.

As this mild winter winds into March (the Virginia gardeners' spring), I do not question for a moment the small effort required to plant a winter garden. Without flowers of hellebores, Winter jasmine, and witch hazels, winter would seem interminable.

Posted: 2/21/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Every plant has its place

Winter jasmine

Certainly, every plant has its place. It is unfortunate that too often the gardener discovers one thing or the other that is planted where it doesn't belong. A plant is too close to the house or walk, in too much or too little sun, or where its unruly habit detracts. With this experience, the gardener must then decide to move the offending plant, chop it out if it has grown too large, or live with it.

Posted: 2/16/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Late winter cleanup


Though temperatures this afternoon did not warm as much as anticipated, I was delighted to get out to begin a bit of late winter clean up. Finally, the inactivity of winter caught up to me, so I was anxious to get out into the garden, even as light rain showers passed through.

Posted: 2/13/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

A Glimpse of Spring Flowers

Winter Sun mahonia

Probably, most gardeners are anxious for spring soon after the first hard freeze of autumn, and each day of winter that follows is counted down until the first warm afternoon of March. The Virginia winter is rarely severe, and short by comparison to many other parts of this country.

Posted: 2/9/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Halfway to spring


While leisurely strolling through the garden on a warm early February afternoon, I noted the appearance of allium and narcissus foliage, which is unsurprising with the mild temperatures of the past few weeks, and not anything to be concerned about.

Posted: 2/6/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Diane and Jelena

Diane witch hazel

In this first week of February, 'Diane' and 'Jelena' witch hazels (Hamamelis x intermedia) are beginning to flower, and again I realize that I did not plant another 'Arnold Promise,' as claimed, to replace an old timer lost a few years ago to ever increasing dampness along the southern border of the lower rear garden.

Posted: 2/6/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Final Conclusions

This very unscientific research, based entirely upon casual observation, is concluding nicely, and perhaps the last phase to measure the reaction of squirrels to being shot in the hindquarters by BB's will not be necessary.

Posted: 1/30/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

No snow, thankfully

Today, no snow, thankfully. A year ago, I was still digging out from thirty-two inches, with four feet drifted against the garage door, thinking I'm too old for this, but thankful that I finally broke down and bought a small snow blower, it didn't seem possible that the small electric gadget could move this much snow, but it did, thanks in part to a much shorter driveway than others in the neighborhood.

Posted: 1/26/2017 by Mike Williams | with 0 comment(s)

Modest Plans for Spring

Occasionally, I will grab a few ripe blueberries as I walk the garden, but if my timing is slightly off birds will harvest every ripe berry.

In this second week of January, several seed catalogs and a few from mail order plant suppliers have arrived in the mailbox.  Once, the box was stuffed with catalogs after the start of thenew year, but today it is the email bin that overflows.

Posted: 1/23/2017 by Bobby Lewis | with 0 comment(s)

January Flowers

Winter Sun mahonia flowering in mid January.

In the mild early winter a year ago, hellebores and snowdrops began flowering in December, with which hazels and winter jasmine following in early January until all were buried under thirty two inches of snow the third week of the month.

Posted: 1/19/2017 by Bobby Lewis | with 0 comment(s)

Addition by Subtraction

Gold Lawson cypress and purple smoke tree

I excuse that any old time garden must have its blights, and here there are several, mostly evergreens that have become excessively shaded so that lower foliage has browned.  

Posted: 1/3/2017 by Bobby Lewis | with 0 comment(s)

Winter, and my Dull Prose

Pieris Dorothy Wycoff starting to flower in mid March

I regret that too often my dull prose does not adequately depict the beauty I see in the garden.  I suspect that I am too literal, and certainly not inclined to romantic descriptions.

Posted: 12/20/2016 by Bobby Lewis | with 0 comment(s)

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow


Recent freezing temperatures have not been cold enough to disturb the exceptional late autumn floral display of camellias.  That is about to change.

Posted: 12/12/2016 by Bobby Lewis | with 0 comment(s)

Perhaps Enough

The path to enter the back garden

To hear my wife tell it, I am barely in control of my impulses when it comes to the garden.  There was a time, not too many years ago, when she supposed that she had some influence, but I think this thought has been abandoned, and now she only hopes I will not make too big a mess of things.

Posted: 12/9/2016 by Bobby Lewis | with 0 comment(s)

Another Leaf Cleanup

Lion's Head Japanese maple autumn foliage

In a burst of energy, leaves covering paths and patios were removed so holiday guests could wander the garden if weather permitted.

Posted: 12/5/2016 by Bobby Lewis | with 0 comment(s)

A Berry Shortage

This Koehneana holly borders the driveway, so it receives enough sunlight to berry dependably. There are fewer berries this year due to the April freeze. Leaf damage seen in this photo will not result in long term damage.

Every day in the garden, there will be some matter of consequence, good or bad, and most hardly noticed.  The observant gardener will note that, not only does he shiver in a mid April freeze, but this cold coincides precisely with hollies (ilex) in flower.

Posted: 12/2/2016 by Bobby Lewis | with 0 comment(s)

A Marvelous Display


Autumn flowering camellias are mostly planted to the northern, driveway side of the garden, so it is a simple matter to check each afternoon (for even with the time change it is dark when leaving for work in the morning) that the previous night's freeze has not injured flowers.

Posted: 11/28/2016 by Bobby Lewis | with 0 comment(s)

After the freeze, before another

On a warm November, bees find flowers of this Winter's Star camellia as a cold front moves in.

While cold temperatures slow the camellias' flowering cycle, I suspect warm autumn temperatures before and following the freeze have encouraged this show of blooms.

Posted: 11/21/2016 by Bobby Lewis | with 0 comment(s)

The Morning After

Encore Carnation has been the star bloomer of azaleas this November. While the bubblegum pink color is hardly a favorite, heavy flowering since mid September is appreciated.

The mild autumn has been abruptly interrupted by an inconvenient freeze.  While not unexpected, and hardly unusual, the harsh result of temperatures in the low twenties after an early autumn with so many mild days is disappointing to the gardener.

Posted: 11/14/2016 by Bobby Lewis | with 0 comment(s)
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