Thursday, December 16, 2010

A 'Little Something' for December's Bloom-Day

My photo shoot in the garden today was met with a wind chill factor of bitterly cold proportions, but I managed to capture a few shots to share with you today. Although the blooms I'm featuring here are past their prime and are no longer 'alive', I have been learning to appreciate the beauty that the garden holds in every season.

(Click on any photo to enlarge)
A dried Coneflower (Echinacea) 'bloom'

Many people might have already cut back their gardens by now, especially the plants that die off and go dormant until the spring. But I've learned to allow them to remain in the garden throughout the winter. There are a couple of important reasons why I don't cut them down until much later.

Coneflower (Echinacea) seed heads

The seed heads of plants like Echinacea encourage birds to visit my garden, providing nutrition and sustenance for them. When hoarfrost covers these seed heads they will appear as if they are covered with sugar crystals, creating drama and elegance on these cold winter days.

Dried roses (Rosa 'flower carpet red')

Anytime that a plant wants to hold on to its color, I'm in no hurry to cut it back. The roses that remain on the bushes provide more eye-candy as I walk past them every day to get in and out of my car. After the petals drop off the flowers, rose hips will remain on the stems of the bushes. Rich with vitamin C, these will be coveted by the birds as they forage for food in the cold months ahead.

Color remains on the Chrysanthemums~


and on the Asters (below). As I took these photos today I realized that the garden still holds an alluring charm~ it just takes looking more closely and purposefully to see it.

New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae)

Dried Aster Seed Heads

As all of these plants continue to dry out, along with providing a food source for birds, they will also serve as 'structure' for the garden in winter. Every one of the dried stalks that remain standing will contribute to winter interest in the garden when the first snowfall arrives, allowing the eye to flow more freely in many directions rather than being drawn directly to the stark, flat ground.

Foxglove (Digitalis)

I'm fortunate to have a number of large Holly trees in the yard, which are covered in vivid red berries at this time of year. These are also rich in nutrients for the birds and resemble cheery holiday ornaments to be enjoyed and admired when I remember to take a minute to look closely.

Large Hollies (Ilex) in my yard

Every month on the 15th, garden bloggers from around the world write posts and show photos of what's blooming in our gardens. Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day has become a popular event and there are usually hundreds of participants sharing garden photos at May Dreams Gardens, hosted by Carol in Indiana. Readers are invited to visit Carol to see a sampling of December garden views around the world.

Today I am thankful for a furnace that provides heat for my family to be comfortable~something many of us take forgranted on a daily basis.

Words and photos ©Thanks for today.™, by Jan Huston Doble
Written by Jan @ Not to be reproduced or re-blogged without express permission of the author.


  1. Good morning Jan ~ I am loving seeing gardens in all of their stages and seasons. There is beauty to be seen even when we don't think so.

    Have a lovely Christmas ~ FlowerLady

  2. That is so true Jan isn't it ?
    even when we think there is "nothing" to show .. look harder ! Because there is something looking back at you ! LOL
    I had to post on my curly Q grasses !
    Joy : )

  3. I happen to love the entire life cycle of blossoms... there is always beauty. I did a similar post at the end of October and so learned to appreciate the beauty of blossoms past their prime.

  4. Lovely, lovely, lovely shots and wonderful wisdom. That first shot - I could just jump into it. I'm with you - keep the garden shaggy until due time. Perfection.

  5. I also have learned not to cut down my stuff too early. The birds have places to hang out, eat seeds etc.
    Your Amarylis header is nice!
    Merry Christmas!

  6. Jan ~ Your photos are beautiful and I especially like the first one of the coneflower.

  7. So nice of you to think of the birds. Lovely photos, I especially like the aster seed heads.

  8. Jan, the coneflower picture is particularly lovely. I love seeing the faded beauty of flowers in seed, which is a kind of beauty of its own.

  9. Not only do the birds enjoy the Echinacea seed heads, but you will also likely have new seedling next spring.

  10. I like how you presented your lovely photos and blooms. The seed heads always make pretty images.

  11. Hi Jan. The fading flowers look so pretty. I find the seed heads textures so interesting.Here this morning they would be covered with the five inches of snow and counting. Sort of that white on white look around here lately. Your Holly bush is so pretty. Wish I had it in my yard now to stand out in the snow.
    Wishing you and yours a Wonderful Christmas!

  12. Happy bloom day Jan! I so appreciate howyou can always see the good in life.

  13. Oh, I so agree with you, Jan--I've learned to appreciate the beauty in dried seed heads and foliage, too. I love the echinaceas in winter--they look like little soldiers with a furry hat of snow. Your dried aster photo is so artistic, proof of the winter interest in a garden. And the birds do appreciate it! Hope you are ready for the holidays and enjoying the season.

  14. How do you manage to capture dead things so beautifully!?

  15. Such a beautiful post...there is beauty in every season if we take the time to patiently observe. The dried aster seed heads stand out to me - they look so soft.

  16. Lovely and wise Jan. Two words that describe you well I think . . . of course there are many more. I love your sharing the fading garden and the importance of let it stand till the end.

  17. Spent blooms remind us of beauty that was and beauty that still is. Great post, Jan.

  18. That echinacea shot is neat! It looks like one of those posed photos of a model with luxurious blond hair and a fan in the background blowing it wildly. Very nice GBBD post!

  19. I love your clematis mosaic header. It's beautiful.

    We have the same winter garden philosophy. The birds love the seeds and cover so I don't cut down the spent flowers and stalks until March. There is a lot of beauty in the garden in its winter state.

  20. Your first photo is very artistic!
    Your holly looks nice. I would certainly bring some of that inside for Christmas.

  21. You're fortunate to live in an area where holly thrives! Here, outside Sacramento, the heavy, slow draining clay soil is not holly-friendly, especially on a day like today when an inch of rain causes flooded gardens! On the other hand, both of the camellias here are blooming: the sasanqua (just finishing) and the japonica (just starting).

  22. We had a heavy hoar frost this morning; it was gorgeous!

    I usually wait until spring to cut back my dying plants so the birds can eat the seeds. I didn't weed much at all this summer and I couldn't stand the mess, so I cleaned out several flower beds late fall.

    Merry Christmas!

  23. Hi, Jan!
    Love the pics. I really enjoy the look of blossoms as they tough it out through the winter months. You've captured them beautifully.

    Hope you're having a fun, festive week. Merry Christmas!

  24. Jan, lovely display of photos and I especially love #1... great card material.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours! and may the New Year be joyous and filled with much good health and happiness.

  25. As for appreciating the garden in winter . . . I'm not there yet. I just hate the cold too much to do more than glance out the window at the garden right now :-) But I appreciate a break from garden chores during the busy holiday season. And in January I have a bunch of indoor projects to complete while the garden is still asleep!
    Have a great Christmas, Jan.

  26. They look dry flower. How sad to see that.

    Just like to share with you a quote...

    "Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I'll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I'll give you a stock clerk." - J.C. Penney

    You can get more quotes at

  27. Nice any stage. But most of all I must say I like your Clemmy header. Makes me long for summer again!

  28. Looking at your garden pictures convinces me that it is good to let nature take its course. Life is so transient and beauty is fleeting. I'd like to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  29. Stopping by again to wish you a VERY Merry Christmas, Jan! Thank you so much for all your nice comments, and as well I have enjoyed your blog and photography so much this year. XO!

  30. Even though wind-battered and frozen, the flowers in our gardens are still lovely, I agree completely. And you're right about being grateful for central heating - too easy to take for granted. Merry Christmas!


Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to comment! Please enjoy your TODAY and all of the gifts in YOUR garden of life!


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