It's time for Wildflower Wednesday, the final post of showcasing wildflowers and natives in your garden for 2011. I had planned a wrap-up of the year's best native blooms for today as I did last year, but Mother Nature had other plans. I woke up yesterday to the first snowfall of the winter.
Only about an inch of snow fell, but it was enough to create a magical winter wonderland scene for a few brief hours.
My garden has been a gloomy vista of brown and gray the past month and a half, so the monochromatic scheme of black and white was a welcome sight.
The garden has been taking its long winter's nap for some time now, so I knew there wouldn't be any blooming wildflowers to photograph for today's post. But winter affords a different perspective of the natives. During fall clean-up I leave many of them standing, like these echinacea, a favorite of the bees and butterflies during their blooming season and a tasty treat for the finches later on. Besides thinking of the wildlife, though, I just like the look of their seedheads, especially when they wear their poufy winter hats.
Once it lost its blooms, the Joe Pye weed was nearly invisible against the backdrop of the large rough-eared dogwood behind it. But its cupped upper branches cradled the falling snow, calling attention to it once again.
Most of the natives reside in the butterfly garden, but the heavy snow made it difficult to distinguish the asters, the Rudbeckias, the phlox, and others from each other. I'm pretty sure, though, this is bee balm (Monarda) in the center with a stray hollyhock on the left.
There is no problem in identifying the native goldenrod, though, which is strong enough
to carry its own weight in snow.
In the lily bed, the Amsonia tabernaemontana is a plant I've decided looks good no matter the season. Whether it's covered with blue blooms in the spring or glowing with its golden leaves in the fall, this is one of the best additions I've made to my garden.
It's not just the natives that provide winter interest, however.
Sedum is another plant that is not only low-maintenance, but also looks good all year long.
Under a blanket of snow, it turns into a snowball bush.
Looking around the garden yesterday, I was surprised to find that not everything was black and white. The berries on the beautyberry bush are still noticeable.
They may not be the bright lavender of fall, but the faded purple still shows up in an otherwise barren landscape.
The yellow Knockout roses are also still sporting some green leaves.
Not everyone likes the snow, and I know I'll be tired of it soon if we have as much as last year. The Miscanthus 'Morning Light' found it too much to bear and just gave up. Fortunately, once the snow melted, it stood upright once again.
The garden gnomes guarding the arbor bench, a gift from friend Beckie, also weren't too happy and looked rather frosted that I had forgotten to bring them inside this fall. Sorry, guys.
The magic didn't last long--by late morning the snow was beginning to melt already, and today there are only a few patches remaining. But it was beautiful while it lasted.
There was enough time in the early morning hours for Sophie and Coconut to get in a romp and a wrestling match in the snow.
And to just sit and and enjoy the soft falling of snowflakes.
There is nothing like the first snowfall to make me appreciate the changing of the seasons, even winter! The snow may have distracted me from the topic of wildflowers, but if you are like me and are already thinking of next year's garden, be sure to visit our enthusiastic hostess of Wildflower Wednesday, Gail at Clay and Limestone. You'll be sure to get some great ideas for wildflowers and natives to plant next spring.