What’s Happen in the Winter Garden

So far winter has been relatively kind to us (*knocking on wood*) — especially after last year’s ice storm after ice storm extravaganza.  And as a result, it’s been easier to be outside noticing the slow progress towards spring.  A dip into colder weather can place some things on pause, but others are responding to the increasing light.  I know I am.  We’ve now had our first crocus bloom, the Daphne odora is ready to burst, and the swollen buds of this coming season’s growth are everywhere.

Winter Garden - Crocus

Our garden’s first crocus bloom this year.

Winter Garden - Asarum

I can’t remember what this is — maybe Asarum?

Winter Garden - Aspidistra

Aspidistra elatior ‘Asahi’ from Cistus Nursery – I love these leaves.

Winter Garden - Aspidistra

Aspidistra elatior ‘Variegata’ – also from Cistus Nursery.

Winter Garden - Fatsia Japonica 'Spider's Web'

Fatsia Japonica ‘Spider’s Web’ – This particular state of the variegated leaves’ development is my favorite.

Winter Garden - Clematis fasciculiflora 'Silver Leaf Form'

Clematis fasciculiflora ‘Silver Leaf Form’ – this was newly planted last year & hasn’t flowered for us yet. Should be flowering soon — can’t wait!

Winter Garden - Sarcococca 'Purple Stem'

Sarcococca hookeriana ‘Purple Stem’ – I prefer this to the standard Sweet Box.

Winter Garden  - Fatshedera lizei 'Angyo Star'

Fatshedera lizei ‘Angyo Star’

Winter Garden - Cardamine trifolia

A favorite shady ground cover, Cardamine trifolia.

Winter Garden - Hebe

A gorgeous Hebe from Xera Plants. That new growth is just stunning.

Winter Garden - Bulbs

I have lots of terra cotta pots planted up with spring bulbs so I can move them around to enjoy them when they’re blooming, then put them away when they’re done. I like the layered approach of biggest bulbs on the bottom, layered up with smaller bulbs moving towards the surface. That way you get weeks of bloom.

Winter Garden - Chilean Glory Vine

Eccremocarpus scaber / Chilean Glory Vine — this is a Zone 10a plant I bought as an annual at Portland Nursery last year and it’s throwing out new growth in January like we live in California! Beloved by hummingbirds.

Winter Garden - Erysimum

Erysimum ‘Winter Orchid’ / Wallflower – This has glorious blooms that fade from tangerine to deep mauve with deep purple buds. I wouldn’t be without this plant.

Winter Garden - Clematis cirrhosa

Clematis cirrhosa is having a wonderful year after spending last year recovering from being dug up, and stuck in a pot & forgotten during a construction project.

Winter Garden - Euphorbia characias 'Glacier Blue'

Euphorbia characias ‘Glacier Blue’ is starting its nodding stem ends, which I love. I prefer this variety over ‘Tasmanian Tiger.’


Winter Garden - Abutilon 'Lucky Lantern Yellow'

Abutilon ‘Lucky Lantern Yellow’ is tucked up against the east-facing concrete wall of our foundation and hasn’t stopped blooming all winter. It will stay small, but I’m hoping for a bunch of new growth this coming season.

It’s a time of great hopefulness, despite what’s happening in the world. That’s one of the reasons I love gardening so much — it doesn’t care what the headlines are.  Plants respond to the seasons no matter what else is happening in your life — you just have to choose to get out there & be reminded of the bigger picture.

Kate Anchev

Author Kate Anchev

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  • Kate–That Abutilon is amazing! (and the other from Zone 10…wow). (I hope this replying to your mid-January post; not 100% obvious, but I think it’s OK.) Asking about your Erysimum ‘Winter Orchid.’ Does it thrive a year or two, like the others, and then decline? I find they bloom their little hearts out. Wondering if you propagate or replace every so often?

    • Kate McMillan says:

      Hi Alyse — Yes, the erysimum is usually good for a couple of years, and then I just replace it. This one is on year 2 at the moment — we’ll see what it’s like later in the season whether I give it more time or not. I do find that they do better when I regularly trim them back to make arrangements with the flowers b/c the scent is amazing. They certainly do give it their all in the time they’ve got 🙂

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