snow day

Phlomus russeliana

There’s nothing like a snowfall to bring out the photogenic side of a garden that was beginning to slip into a dowdy phase. The seed heads of Phlomus russeliana are always fetching, but they take on an especially jaunty air with caps of snow.

Phlomus russeliana closer

So cute, in fact, that I couldn’t stop at just one photo.

Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’

I featured Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’ in the last post, but its quirky tracery of twisted branches really shows up against the snow.

‘Thunderhead’ pine

It has been so cold that the snow is dry and light. I can just enjoy the way it nestles into the ‘Thunderhead’ pine instead of worrying about it weighing down the branches.

NOID Yucca

The NOID Yucca from Ryan seems to be sailing through the cold snap.

snow on the grass

It was a mere two inches of snow: not enough to even out the surface where it fell on rough grass. It almost looks like clouds as seen from above.

bottle garden with autumn fern

The bottle garden pretty much disappears during the high season, but here it catches the light and is set off by just the snow and an autumn fern.

rock cairns with snow

Even my silly little cairns acquire an aura of mystery when partly hidden by snow.

Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’ in bud

This is about as far along as the blooming trusses of Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’ have ever progressed before being blackened by a freeze.

Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’ buds wrapped

This year we had plenty of warning, so I wrapped the trusses in bubble wrap, covered with a plastic bag and secured with a rubber band. I read somewhere that bubble wrap is not a good insulator for pots. Any thoughts on that?

Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’ buds wrapped with snow

Time will tell, but at least I tried. I sure would like to see this thing in full bloom some day.

Echium under pot

A few things got the overturned pot treatment and many potted plants are clustered on the deck. As cold as it is, these precautions may be entirely inadequate.

bird feeder

The bird feeders got filled. The birds got so excited once the snow arrived that I had to refill a couple of times a day.


Some suet for good measure.

winter sun at mid-day

The sun moves in such a low arc that taking pictures at mid-day is almost like late afternoon. Love that winter light.

16 Responses to “snow day”

  1. Alison Says:

    Kind of bummed that we both had to bow out of Heather’s party, but I just wasn’t looking forward to driving in snow. And now that I’ve seen it on yours and Scott’s blogs, I think I made the right decision. The Phlomis does look cute with snow hats on. I hope your efforts to save your Mahonia blossoms are not in vain.

  2. Tamara Says:

    Such beauty, Ricki! Love that you feed the birds too. We’ve gone through a suet a day all week! Fun…

  3. Scott Weber Says:

    Oh Ricki…I love, love, love the Phlomis seed heads with the snow on them…gorgeous!

  4. Loree /danger garden Says:

    “As cold as it is, these precautions may be entirely inadequate”… that’s where I am at. I tried, I look at the things I couldn’t manage to cover and cringe, but in the end I wonder how much it would really have mattered if I could.

  5. ricki Says:

    Alison~Our house guests drove home early Fri and reported snail-slow traffic and lots of abandoned cars. That kind of clinched the deal for me, sad as I was to miss a great get-together.

    Tamara~The hummingbird feeder freezes up in an hour or two. I was kind of wondering if the suet is frozen too. The birds have not been going for it as they do when it is warmer.

    Scott~I can never have too many Phlomis. You have them too, right?

    Loree~I foresee lots of comparing of notes once the day of reckoning arrives. All is in the hands of the weather gods now.

  6. Sarah/Galloping Horse Garden Says:

    Well, I just struck out using plastic garbage bags as frost protector, so I am not one to advise about bubble wrap. What a shame about your Mahonia. You’d think that any plant that was designed to bloom in winter would be able to withstand a bit of cold. But no.

  7. ricki Says:

    Sarah~A plastic tarp has worked well in the past on our Rhododendron sinogrande, but these conditions are much more dire. Others have had better luck with the Mahonia. I may have it in the wrong place.

  8. Peter/Outlaw Says:

    Brrr! I too could have done more/ brought more plants inside so I know the collection will be reduced this year. Oh well, a great excuse to go plant shopping next summer, right? Your snowy pictures are gorgeous. We got no snow but very cold temps. everything seems quite dry right now.

  9. ricki Says:

    Peter~Silver linings, like agaves, can always be found if we look hard enough.

  10. Lady Lilith Says:

    I cannot believe winter has come so fast. It feels like summer just ended and now it is so cold.

  11. Jane / MulchMaid Says:

    These pictures of the garden in snow are really beautiful, Ricki. You and Scott definitely captured the essence of the look. I waited too long and most of my snow blew away. If I’d had such picturesque plants to photograph I’d have been more motivated to catch the look!

  12. ricki Says:

    Lilith~I know….and it isn’t even officially winter yet.

    Jane~Most of the time I envy your few degrees warmer, but this really was beautiful.

  13. Grace Peterson Says:

    Ricki, What a beautiful post. I’ve had similar observations as I look at my garden sans the blousey, leafiness of it all. It’s fun.

    I love those little dollops on the Phlomis. I will have to remember this when being a neat nick next summer. But then next year we won’t have any snow, right? I hope!

    It’s finally raining and I mean RAINING now. No more ice and snow. Hooray! I hope.

  14. ricki Says:

    Grace~I just love the dried stalks of the Phlomus, snow or no snow.

  15. Tatyana@MySecretGarden Says:

    Your snow pictures are lovely, Ricki! You are such a good gardener preparing your plants for the cold!
    We got our first snow today, December 20th. It won’t last long!
    Stay warm and have a Merry Christmas!

  16. ricki Says:

    Tatyana~And a merry Christmas to you too! Staying warm?…not so easy.

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