Ice and Bamboo

The ice of last weekend is just a memory -- temperatures are in the 50's and 60's now, too warm -- but I wanted to still share with you what those of us whose gardens are built around bamboos see.

It's not pretty, but it's mostly harmless and temporary. Lots of painful looking bending.



I haven't posted about it yet, but I recently returned from a much-needed vacation trip to Florida. One thing I brought back with me:

This seed. Is it a coconut still in it's husk?


Every year: surprise!

I've been lazy with bringing plants indoors this year. Yes, I got them into the garage when necessary, but sorting them into the "stay in the garage" and "move into basement" lots was only about 50% complete until yesterday.

That's when I moved a bunch of small potted succulents into the warmth and under some lights. And that's when I got the surprise. Notice anything special about the elephant bush in this photo? (Other than the fact that it's dropped a lot of leaves I mean.)


Ice: beauty or beast?

If there's one thing that makes winter scary to a cold-climate gardener it's ice. Nothing has the potential for breaking the bones of a garden like an ice storm, when decades-old trees and other cornerstone plants can be damaged beyond recovery literally overnight. The number of dead limbs and twigs in my front yard is evidence of that -- I'm not sure yet if my plants made it unscathed.

Ice has another side though: I don't think there's anything in winter that can bring out the beauty in small garden details like a good coating of ice. Today I want to share this aspect of winter with you.


Cold, but -that- cold?

It seems like it's cold everywhere right now. That darn Polar Vortex swinging down and turning our mild, late winter into a my-brakes-on-my-truck-are-frozen-and-it-won't-move kind of cold, cold winter.

But is it the kind of cold that will set my bamboos back again? In other words, will they be "dead"?


Putting Musa basjoo to sleep

It's that time of year when I, in 5 minutes, drastically change the look of my back garden.

Sadly, it is time to prepare the hardy bananas (Musa basjoo) for the winter.


Plant migration continues

Although I did bring some plants in before the first frost was forecast a few weeks ago, I left many out there until much colder weather was coming. With the temperature not going above freezing for a couple of days (it's 16ºF / -9ºC this morning) I finally had to act.

With not only dozens of potted plants to get indoors but tropicals to dig and/or prepare for the coming cold there was so much to do. Luckily I looked at the forecast early so I had three days to spread the work over. This unidentified agave was one of the more difficult ones to move into the garage. Looks great out in the leafy yard, doesn't it?


Wednesday Vignette: late

Most plants look their best in spring or summer when their foliage is fresh, when they're in bloom, or something similar. Some plants might not come into their own until autumn, when their foliage puts on a show. This Sasa veitchii bamboo though, it's different.

It only gets the variegated look (from burst margin cells) once the weather turns quite cold. So after most trees have dropped their leaves and everything else has gone dormant or died, this plant is just getting going!


Late November Look

This is the time of year when parts of my garden surprise me. It's as if I don't really see what's there until some of the surrounding greenery fades. Leaves fall and cover the ground in browns, and then suddenly I have something wonderful here.

Of course your opinion may vary, but I like it!


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