Monday, December 27, 2010

Plants that look good now.

I need a reminder now and then to take off my “I want to live in Zone 9 or 10” glasses and see just how good things look here in Zone 8 in December. Here’s a mini tour of some of the plants looking good right now. These hardy characters haven’t batted an eye (or a stoma?) as the weather has varied from 18 to 59 in the last few weeks and we’ve had dry sunny days, to days with over 1.5” of rain, and a few with a strong, bitterly cold, dry wind. Above is one of my favorite combos… Liriope and Ophiopogon planiscapus nigrescens (Black Mondo Grass). You can also see a bit of the mess that accumulates on our patio in the winter.

Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae
Our unknown Camellia that was inherited with the house.
Helleborus foetidus, just beginning to hint at blooms forming, but the foliage puts on a fine show.
Yucca recurvifolia, and honestly all the Yuccas throughout the garden are looking good. Their year 'round good looks are part of the appeal.
Sempervivum, again they all look good right now...and I have so many of them!
Sasa palmate
Arrow bamboo (Pseudosasa japonica), the bamboo is at it's best in the rainy season.
Hakonechloa looses none of it's charm when it looses it's color. I enjoy it for most of the winter but I am careful to cut it back before it gets to dry and brittle, lest I be picking up pieces that have blown all over the garden.
Maidenhair Fern also looses it's vibrant color as the winter progresses, I still love the texture it provides.
Yucca aloifolia 'Purpurea’
Euphorbia myrsinites
Hesperaloe parviflora
Aspidistra elatior, The Cast Iron Plant
Acanthus mollis
And lastly the Clematis armandii 'Snowdrift', weaving it's way through the browned and droopy Hydrangea.
I'll have to make this a goal for the ugly and boring month of January...I vow to get out and appreciate the beauty of the garden in the greyest month of all.


  1. thanks for these pics, my garden looks very bare right now. Nice and tidy, but bare.

    Would you be willing to share some shots of the garden as a whole? It would be nice to see how you've fit all these plants into a wider design and how well the whole effect is working at this time of year.

  2. Thanks for the reminder to find the beauty in all the seasons. Sometimes I forget that it is always there to reward a good looker.

  3. I need to get outside and see if I have any plants that look decent right now. Not much looks good that's for sure. Love the lush green in your gardens for Dec.

  4. ooooh i didn't know there was black mondo, nice! it really looks great as a combo.

  5. Here, here! I love your plant pics. I've been noticing the Euphorbia myrsinities coming to life. I think it will be blooming soon. I know what you mean about appreciating where we are. I hereby vow to do the same.

  6. Ahh yes, how do we get through winter...I usually don't mind winter until right after the holidays, then, I'm pretty much ready for spring :-) You've got quite a bit of winter interest going, at least...I'm pretty bad about that :-( Love that Euphorbia, and Maidenhair Ferns are one of my favorite plants...especially with those awesome black stems!

  7. Ryan, nice and tidy mine is not, it is a mess! Seems when I have time to clean up it's raining and when it's clear and sunny I'm too busy. I am afraid the overall design is looking pretty poor at the moment. It is not a pretty year round garden, which I've came to terms with because even though our climate is reportedly mild I don't spend anytime out in the garden once the rains arrive. But to (finally) answer your question...yes...I will get some overall shots and share them in a future post. As long as you all promise not to think less of me as a gardener!

    ricki, I put on my rose colored glasses when visiting my parents in Spokane over the holiday...even found some good looking plants there in zone 5! (future post)

    Darla, really? I would have thought this time of year your garden would be shining!

    Suzie, you need to get's wonderful stuff!

    Grace, wow! Your E. myrsinites is way ahead of mine!

    scott, you read my mind. I was just thinking about how I would get through the month of January...and counting the days until the NW Flower and Garden show as well as the Yard Garden and Patio show!!!

  8. Despite your reply to Ryan, I can't help but think you undersell your garden as a year-round garden. You have so many evergreens, structural plants, and great hardscaping that I know it must look much better overall (even in chilly rain!) than you believe. I look forward to the wide views as well.

    And I'm very envious, again, of your ability to grow Hakonechloa. Sigh.

  9. I don't see a lot of overall garden shots on the blogs I tend to visit. I think it's partly because it's a community of very plant focused people, but I think we are all a little embarrased by our gardens as a whole, they never quite live up to those glossy magazine shots. Maybe we should start a "I'll show you mine if you show me yours." set of posts :-)

  10. There is not much green here right now, everything is covered in white, but not in a good way.


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