I know I’ve mentioned this a time or two, but I am not a fan of the St. Louis winter. I’ve said it, you’ve read it and as my dear sister–and thousands of others–is fond of saying, “It is what it is.”
That’s why I seek color in the winter landscape. Yes, I’ve planted winterberry…it gives a paltry yield on its berries (more on that later). And I leave my grasses in place for “winter interest,” even though they aren’t very colorful. I delight at the bright red cardinals that frolic throughout the cold landscape.
Outside, I hang a lovely holiday wreath chock full of pretty ornaments, pine cones, seed pods and a colorful ribbon.
And I love my pot with the red-twig dogwood and birch branches. I fill it with winter greens from my yard and Christmas tree. My friend and walking buddy Mary invites me to her yard to cut holly, boxwood and other greens to fill in the container. As the winter wears on, I remove the brown sprigs.
Soon, I will empty the container which will remain bare until spring. The dogwood twigs and birch come from a farmers market in Kirkwood and are a pricey, so I keep the birch and the dogwood twigs in the garage and will reuse them next year if they are in good shape.
Inside, I turn to winter bulbs such as amaryllis and paper whites. I am not a fan of the overpowering scent of paper whites so I try to buy the ones with less scent to them, but I’m a sucker for their flowers. And I don’t mind the flopping over; a pretty ribbon can help keep them in place.
My friend Chris is not a fan of our winters either. Her solution is to head to Mexico for the winter. This year as she was dashing out of town, she gave me an amaryllis bulb a friend gave to her. I gladly took it. And I am grateful for its lovely flowers. I took picture and sent them to her during its growing cycle.
I love the way a plant unfurls from its bud. It evokes a sense of anticipation within me and I find myself checking back regularly.
Before you know it, the plant has a cluster of bright red blooms.
How do you get through the winter doldrums?
February 28, 2018 at 3:51 pm
birch and dogwood twigs must be purchases? Sadly, I will need to dispose of a few pickup loads of redtwig dogwood when we start to cut them back next week or maybe a bit later. They are not the fancy garden varieties; just the natives, but they are somewhat pretty nonetheless. They are sort of rusty colored. I think that they would be prettier if they had been cut back to the ground last year. We leave them about knee high so that no one trips over them. Unfortunately, that sort of coppicing makes them regenerate with more canes than they would if cut to the ground. Thee superfluous canes might not color quite as well as fewer more vigorous canes. Also, it does not get cold enough for the best color.
We do not have much time for winter doldrums. It is a busy time of year for us. So much of our maintenance is done in winter, both because it is ‘the’ time for so much of it, and also because the facilities are not being used as much as they will be from spring to autumn.
February 28, 2018 at 6:29 pm
Ha! Yes, I no red twigs or birch in my yard so I buy them at a fancy farmer’s market nearby. Because I am frugal, I don’t throw them away at the end of the season. Instead, I store them in my garage. Tony, where are you located?
February 28, 2018 at 7:47 pm
I am in the Santa Cruz Mountains above Los Gatos. The red twig dogoods (Cornus stolonifera rather than Cornus sanguinea) are more common on the western and southern side of the Santa Cruz Mountains than on the inland side where most of Los Gatos is. I have none at home, but MANY at two of the places I work. They can form quite a thicket.