Christmas time’s a comin’

It’s that time of year again when we put up the Christmas trees, drag out the ornaments and lights, and begin creating shopping lists for our friends and families. Unfortunately, the temperature being 70+ degrees most days has not been conducive to getting me in the holiday spirit.

It has been unseasonably warm and dry over the past few months. The trees decided it was too much effort to show off their autumn colors, so they just let their leaves turn brown and blow away in the wind. The grass is almost completely dead, and the mower (and me) were completely covered in dust the last time I mowed.

I have planted several more things in the yard thinking the seasonal rains would make it easier on me with keeping things watered, but no such luck. I am packing watering cans to various spots in the yard almost every evening.

I’m sure it will be freezing cold and raining before long, and then I will be complaining about all of that, so I try to just enjoy it as much as possible.

The warmer weather is nice in ways. Heating bills are basically nonexistent, and I don’t have to wait for the frost to clear off the windshield of my truck every morning before work. It’s nice to see some of my trees and shrubs still growing, too.

But I am still not ready to put up those dang trees or start shopping!

Spring 2015

After an extremely long and harsh winter, things have finally come to life all over our property, and the surroundings seem to get greener by the day.

Here are a few photos from recent weeks.

New plants for 2015

It is easy for me to go stir-crazy this time of year, because the weather doesn’t typically cooperate enough for me to work in the yard. So, I spend my time planning which changes I intend to make to the landscaping, and ordering new plants online. Good for my cabin fever; bad for my wallet.

These three plants will be joining us in a few weeks:

'Aphrodite' Sweetshrub
‘Aphrodite’ Sweetshrub

I am a big fan of sweetshrubs due to the lovely one I discovered in the yard when we moved here 5 years ago, so I was very excited to see Proven Winners debut a sweetshrub that actually enhances the best features of my older plant. The intoxicating blooms of ‘Aphrodite’ are larger and it has a longer blooming period.

The Rising Sun Redbud
The Rising Sun Redbud

I could not believe my eyes when I stumbled across this gem online! This small redbud blooms normally, but the real show begins when the leaves emerge in a peach color before maturing to dark green. Apparently, keeping it watered and fertilized forces the show to continue throughout the growing season.

Akatsuki Dogwood
Akatsuki Dogwood

This small tree has stunning variegated leaves and large flowers that open white before gradually turning pink. It blooms longer than most dogwoods, and has excellent fall color.

Meet Eeyore

I took the plunge and bought the ‘Feelin’ Blue’ cedar I mentioned a few posts ago. A coworker suggested I name it “Eeyore,” because of the weeping foliage that is characteristic of this species.

Since it is far too cold to plant right now, it has a temporary home against the back of the house. I placed the root ball in a large metal tub, surrounded it with mulch, and placed unopened bags of mulch around the tub to block the wind. Hopefully, it will hang on until spring.

Feelin’ Blue Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara ‘Feelin’ Blue’)
Feelin’ Blue Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara ‘Feelin’ Blue’)

Plants on my wish list for 2014

Winterberry Holly
‘Berry Nice’ and ‘Jim Dandy’ (pollinator)

Image Source: http://betterlivingthroughpermaculture.com/?p=36
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Horstmann Blue Atlas Cedar
Cedrus a ‘Horstmann’

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Tall Stewartia
Stewartia Monadelpha

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Deodar Cedar
Cedrus deodara

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Little Henry Sweetspire
Itea virginica

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And…

Luscious Citrus Blend Lantana
Cha-Ching Cherry Petunia
Orange Tiger Lily
Rosemary

Flower Power

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I was unfamiliar with Sedum until I noticed some coming up in a flower bed here three years ago. The light green buds open to pale pink flowers that darken in the weeks leading up to cold weather.

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I stumbled upon this Black Diamond Red Hot crape myrtle at Lowe’s a few weeks ago and immediately knew I had to have it. I love the contrast between the bright red flowers and the almost black leaves. I can easily see this becoming one of my favorite plants.

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My former neighbor gave me this Bluebird Rose of Sharon tree for my birthday earlier this year. Although the blooms are more purple than blue, it makes a nice addition to our landscape.

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Another one of my favorites, the Surprise Lilies were out in full force a couple of weeks ago. Although the blooms don’t last long, they are always a treat when they seem to spring from the ground and bloom virtually overnight.