The month of January had near to above normal temperatures, a theme begun in December. February is now the month to finalize any design considerations for the year to come since March becomes busy with outdoor gardening activities. This month is also the time to complete the ordering of seeds, since many of the more popular varieties will soon, if not already become sold out.
Welcome to Crawford's Corner!
A Colorful and Cohesive Tan for the Winter Garden
Winter interest is a very personal topic. What one gardener finds attractive another may find mediocre at best. I have long been a fan of tan foliage in winter, a color I think most people do not associate with the term attractive or even with the term living! Interestingly, the color tan is a mixture of the very lively hues of green and red. For some plants the tan foliage of winter has a touch more red, making the foliage more glowing and warm for the winter garden. A low maintenance groundcover I have long appreciated for its warm winter foliage is Persicaria affinis, commonly called Himalayan Bistort or Lesser Knotweed.
January always begins with the festivities surrounding the Holiday Season, but reality soon returns as gardeners face short and often cloudy days, cold temperatures and a sleeping garden. Looking on the positive side, we now have the leisure of working in the Garden when our time or the weather suits our schedule, since the garden is in a state of suspended animation so to speak.
Exfoliating Bark for the Winter Garden
January brings chilly temperatures, snowfall and for the gardener, the pleasure of hunkering down in the warmth of a home with a good garden book! I have long been a fan of plants with colorful or exfoliating bark, a subtle attribute many may fail to consider and a few even find undesirable. I fondly remember the comments of a former college roommate when I showed him a tree with exfoliating bark. “I would take a belt sander to the tree” he commented! Obviously, peeling bark is not for everyone. Fortunately, that sentiment is shared by only a few and I have found many a gardener who appreciates the bark of Japanese Dogwood, botanically known as Cornus kousa.
The hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season is finally upon us! Autumn continued to provide ample moisture for new plantings, although November was drier than the previous months. The temperatures of November were seasonal, allowing plants to prepare for winter to come. Although there are ample distractions this month, early December is the time to finish the last of the autumn chores before the sub-freezing temperatures of winter arrive in earnest. As time permits between baking and shopping, continue your ledgers with notes on the weather and how plants are performing. Wishing everyone a very Happy and Joyous Holiday Season!