Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Snowy Wildflower Wednesday

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.


  1. Wow rose I am getting a littebit jealouse at the moment. I love the snow, but nothing of it all overhere.
    gr. Marijke

  2. Beautiful photos! I love how the intricate branches of the perennials and shrubs are enhanced by the snow fall. We're still waiting for our first substantial snow here.

  3. Hi Rose,

    Sophie has just stollen a little bit of my heart....what a delightful image of her, I wish I could just stand with her and feel the snowflakes on my skin.....

    Wonderful images Rose, and indeed a winter wonderland. Whilst I love the magic in each image, I am not a great lover of snow.
    Seasons seem to pass too quickly these days.....before we know it a New Year is just a breath away.

  4. Rose the wildflowers look gorgeous in their capes and hats of white...your descriptions brought them to life...we are getting our first snow storm of the year...a bit late but gorgeous...

  5. Rose, What fun to see all the snow! You have me longing for some here. Lovely how each plant or limb holds its mantle of snow uniquely.

  6. We got a shot of snow too Rose. That first snow does lift one's heart. Sophie and Coconut have the right idea. Just get out there and enjoy it. Happy WW.

  7. How lovely Rose! The wild things (including Sophie and Coconut :) look beautiful in snow.

  8. Hi,

    Beautiful photos; possibly the perfect snowfall, enough for it to be beautiful and look like a true winter wonderland, without it causing havoc and melts nice and quickly; just how I like it :)

  9. It was a lovely snow Rose. The puppies enjoyed it. Those poor gnomes.. LOL!

  10. The first snowfall is always exciting, isn't it? It looks powdery and magic as it drapes the trees and bushes.

    You have some lovely pics, Rose and I especially like finding red berries on a winter bush. Food for birds over the cold winter months.

    Nice to see the dogs out for a romp in the snow. The year is almost over.
    Happy New Year, Rose - to you and your family.

  11. It sure is pretty! Please keep it up there though;) Those knockout roses are the coolest in the winter! Happy Holidays!

  12. So pretty! We're still snowless up here, and while I've been enjoying the relatively warm temperatures, some (light) snow would be nice to look at.

  13. oh dear, your poor gnomes. I love the pictures of the beautyberry, those purple berries just shine through anything and everything.

  14. What a surprise to see you had snow, and we had nothing, not even rain!
    Isn't it wonderful to watch the dogs in the snow? Like it gives them extra energy, or something. Looks like Sophie is able to stay in the moment and appreciate it for the time being!
    I love seeing all your photos of the perennials, you haven't chopped them down to the ground, so many garden bloggers hack them off in the autumn! (I thought that kind of thinking was looonnngggg gone??!!)
    If you decided to split up that Morning Light, I can offer lots to trade!!

  15. Well, it looks like the pups love the snow. Like you Rose, I tire of it after a day or so. But, it sure looks wonderful. Thank you for going outside to snap photos of the wildflowers and your gorgeous native trees! They all look wonderful. Happy Wildflower wednesday! xogail

  16. So beautiful! (From a warm and snow-free study!) Your gnomes look rather disgruntled though.

    George says he wishes he could be playing in the snow with Sophie (the mention of her name makes him go gooey-eyed!)

    Rose, I wish you a flourishing 2012 in all aspects of life!

  17. Wonderful snow scenes and I love all the seedheads wearing their poufy winter hats! The gnomes look more than a little disgruntled, but the rest of your garden is a winter delight.

  18. Dear Rose,
    Lovely, lovely snow....
    I am waiting for snow here. I think it is so pretty and we need the moisture!
    It is to be 60 F degrees this afternoon.
    Way too warm for end of December.
    Native plants are my favorite....
    I love their snowy hats too....
    Happy 2012, year of the Water Dragon

  19. Marijke, This winter is so different than last year--last year we had so much snow in December that roads were closed several times. This was the first "real" snow we've had this year, and it's already melted!

    Suburbia, It was pretty even if it didn't last long.

    Cassi Renee, I'm surprised northern Illinois didn't get snow as well. One of the reasons I don't cut back a lot of my plants in the fall is because I loved the look of them covered in snow.

    Cheryl, Sophie loves the snow and would stay out for hours if I let her. I'm hoping we don't have as much snow as last winter, but a little covering to insulate my plants would be nice. The older I get, the faster time goes:)

    Donna, I do love the way the natives and others look covered with snow--so much prettier than the brown I've been looking at for the past month or so.

    Carol, The skeletons and seedheads of plants make for some interesting images.

    Lisa, I was so excited to see the snow--it was too late for a white Christmas, but it did make me feel more festive all the same. Coconut hasn't seen snow in two years!

    Linda, Thanks; after walking around looking for interesting white-covered plants, I found Sophie and Coconut were even more interesting:)

    Liz, Oh, I agree! Nothing fun about hazardous roads and having to shovel snow. This was perfect--no problems caused; just a pretty landscape for awhile.

  20. Lona, The dogs loved digging around in the snow. Coconut has been living in Portland, Oregon for the past two years, so I think he had forgotten what it was like.

    Wendy, So many of the usual berries, like my tiny crabapples, have already disappeared, so I was happy to see the beautyberries still showing.

    Tina, You sure you don't want some snow?:)

    Rose, Be careful what you wish for:) I remember seeing the news videos of Chicago in early February last year.

    Marguerite, The beautyberry bush was a new addition this year, and I have just loved it.

    Sissy, I can't believe it didn't snow up north! I like the looks of seedheads and stems in the snow, so I leave everything until spring. When we cleaned up our MG's Idea Garden, we cut everything down--I couldn't believe it. The 'Morning Lights' are new this year, so it might be awhile before I can divide them.

    Retired, Thanks! I can see you had a great holiday, too.

    Gail, Thanks for not minding my getting off track with the wildflowers. I was just so excited to see a little snow--last year we were inundated with it by this time!

  21. Liz, Thank you and a Happy New Year to you, too! I'm sure Sophie would love to frolic in the snow with George. The two them together could sure get into a lot of mischief:)

    Laurrie, Nothing like a little snow to make the garden look interesting again. This is the best it's looked in a long while:)

    Sherry, We went from snow on Tuesday to nearly 60 degrees today. It's been such a warm winter so far; I wouldn't mind a little more snow. The year of the Water Dragon sounds interesting!

  22. got snow when we didn't. We're under a winter weather advisory tonight, and then it's supposed to be mild again. Weird weather. Your snow pictures are so pretty! Looks like the dogs had a great time, too. How does the Beautyberry perform in your garden? I think it's only supposed to be hardy to zone 6, but I'm so tempted to push the limits on that one! It's so pretty! Happy Holidays!

  23. Wow, a beautiful white blanket for the garden. You are way ahead of us in the snow department, Rose. Happy 'Gardening' New Year!

  24. How beautiful... Everything is green here... Wonderful photographs! I LOVE the first one. Have a Happy New Year, Rose!

  25. Ahhhhhhhh there's nothing like the first snow of winter. Lovely photos aswell Rose but especially that last one with your dog who looks so content as the snowflakes drift past him.

    Have a Happy New Year!

  26. Love the photos...... the gnomes are fantastic and the dogs are having fun.
    Happy New Year.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  27. Hi Rose,
    I enjoyed seeing your snow and plants, including the wildflowers. I still have a photo of our house in the snow for my header, but the snow has been melted for quite awhile.

    I didn't get a WW post done this month. I remembered when I saw a post on FB, and thought I'd go get some photos taken, but I didn't make it.

    Happy New Year!

  28. I forgot to say I love the photo of Sophie enjoying the snow.

  29. Thank you for taking us on this beautiful walk. The snow covers everything with magic.

  30. Winter wonderland indeed! It all looks so beautiful.

    Happy New Year Rose. :)

  31. I just love all those trees--the forms, esp. covered in snow, are beautiful. And doggies sure love snow! :)


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