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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Winter color in Alison's Alaskan Garden

 
It's been years since I gardened in a cold climate.  While it's wonderful to have green and blooming things year round, there's something special about being able to put the lawn mower away and hang up the garden tools for several months a year.  When the ground is frozen solid, there's just not a whole lot of gardening that needs to be done.   While there are no blooms in my niece's garden at this time of year, there certainly is color like this venus fly trap by Fred Conlon.
 

Getting tired of waiting for this flowering crabapple to produce fruit, Alison hung these several years ago.  You can see that the tree now has fruit but the golden apples still look festive and fun.

While there was some snow on the ground, there was no new snowfall while I was there which allowed me to explore the garden beds.  Here you see the lush ferns that grow to six feet or so.  Well, um, they were lush just a couple of months ago!


Further along the garden path we see the rose garden (rosa rugosa.)  The saxifrage on the left is still green.  The coldest it got during my visit was 5 f  -15c but I've heard that this tough plant remains green even at -40. 

Caragana arborescens or Siberian Pea Shrub.

The stream Alison created is not so much flowing right now.


Look at this Bergenia.  While it is lying on the ground, it is still green and come spring, although it'll look a little worse for the wear, it'll stand back up and begin blooming.  A wondrous plant!

Beautiful birches make up quite a bit of the woods here.
No need for pesky clematis pruining here as they die to the ground each year. 

Brown is a color, right?



 
You probably guessed that koi cannot stay outside in the winter. 

I wish I had space to grow these!  Pyramidus bowlingballus 'Eight ball'  provides great color year round even in the most frigid temperatures.  However, snow does cover these for most of the winter.

 
I hope you enjoyed our little fall walk.  BTW, if your camera batteries get too cold, the camera won't function.  You learn something new everyday!

28 comments:

  1. This is that awkward stage, between fall and winter, when it's a challenge to find things to photograph. Such a lovely garden with a lot of variety and I love the hanging ornaments and colourful bowling ball pyramids, great idea!

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    1. It sure felt wintery to me although I understand that right now it's much colder and they're having 50 mile an hour winds with gusts to 80. With the wind chill factor, that makes it something like a bazillion degrees below zero. Alison has great ideas & I wish I had taken more pictures of her garden!

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  2. Fun tour and I loved seeing dormant plants which remain green even in the coldest climate.

    Even more fun are the colorful ideas she has for year round garden interest. Nice garden, love those birches and all the natural elements. I think you showed a couple of her garden photos in another post, but we need the full tour in summer too.



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    1. We'll have to convince her to take more summer pictues. The birches are gorgeous and they are widespread in the area. I was shocked to see green there- pretty tough plants!

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  3. Thanks for the fun tour! A very interesting winter garden scape! That evergreen saxifrage is a real toughie indeed!

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    1. It is beautiful there but I am now spoiled by the huge range of plants that we can grow in our temperate gardens.

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  4. I had to go turn the heat up, just looking at these pictures made me cold. So much of the landscape reminds me of Spokane (Zone 5). I admire anyone who gardens with this much spirit in such a harsh climate.

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    1. I keep trying to convince them to move to Eastern Washington where they'd only be a drive away and could still freeze in the winter.

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  5. This reminded me of the garden I left behind in Massachusetts four years ago. I don't miss the long cold winter and the snow. I love being able to garden in January and February here. Your niece (she has a great first name!) has a sense of fun in the garden that appeals to me. I always wanted to put bowling balls in my garden, but could never find any at the thrift store. I should post some pictures of my old garden. I was basically pretty much crap at picture-taking back then (not that I'm a pro now).

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    1. It would be great to see some pictures of your former garden!
      Alison's sense of fun, which extends beyond her garden, is a delight to all of us. O.K. I like it. St. Vincent on 56th in Tacoma sometimes has bowling balls in their outside area.

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  6. DANG! that looks cold! but the sunshine is really epic.

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    1. Because it was so dry and the wind wasn't blowing most of the time I was there, it didn't feel too horribly cold unless one stayed outside for a while. My niece didn't even wear a coat to go from the house to the car and on my last day, I went out in stocking feet without a coat. Of course, it had warmed way up to 15f -9.4c by then!

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  7. Love the garden art, especially the mutant venus fly trap that catches insects by sticking out its tongue. The metal apples are cool also.

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  8. How cold look these pictures! I see the birches are like here, white trunks.Was the wind strong there?

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    1. During my visit, the wind was mostly calm but blew a little bit on two days. Now, it is much colder and the wind is blowing at 50 miles per hour with gusts to 80.

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  9. I like pyramidus bowlingballus. Great variegation. I would guess that it can cope pretty well with being transplanted, too.

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    1. They do transplant quite well as they have an extremely shallow root system. However, they do not fare well on slopes and hillsides.

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  10. Those pictures look as they were taken here in Finland. We have now snow and cold.

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  11. I love Pyramidus bowlingballus 'Eight ball', I hope I can find it at the garden center.

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    1. I've only found it available through mail order sources and the delivery fee is extreme!

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  12. Hi! I have something for you in my blog. Please, visit!

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  13. What an interesting garden! Soo many funny, creative ideas!

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    1. Funny, creative, and interesting describe both my niece and her garden!

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  14. You are pumping up my yen to experience Alaska. I love frozen landscapes and mountains.

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    1. Oh ricki, you should go! It's beautiful up there!

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.