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Grey
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Location: Summerville, GA, Zone 7a

Trees are bare... boring yard!

Gee, there's no more green! :lol:

For a couple of Floridians, not seeing green is already hard. I planted pansies in a few beds and in some pots about a month ago, and those certainly help some - but I'm thinking I'd better get some evergreens in pots "right quick" as the locals would say to help alleviate the brown and gray.

If I paint the pots some bright colors (like a deep red for the evergreens to go on either side of the front door) I'm thinking that may help as well.

Anybody got any hints on how they survive the "winter blues"?

I've already started reading last year's garden magazines and have a good number of my garden books on the coffee table. Sad considering the leaves JUST fell off on Wednesday - lol. We'll get used to it I'm sure.

grandpasrose
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Oh dear Grey!, are you in trouble if you are already thinking winter blues, and it is only mid November! We haven't had leaves now for probably three weeks - and snow on the ground!
There can be beauty at this time of the year as well though. This is the time of the year that the birds seem more obvious to me as they dig around for all the seeds that have dropped, and the berries left hanging on branches. Plants like goatsbeard, millett, False solomon seal, all leave an interesting picture even after they have died and turned brown.
I also take this time to actually get a good look at the bones of my landscape, when it isn't all covered with foliage, to see what I could do differently to enhance what I have. Do I like how those boulders are laying, do I like the flow of the edges of the gardens, those kind of things. It's easier to see these things without everything growing on top of it all.
We also get alot of our actual landscaping done during these times. Building up those rockeries, moving around boulders, putting up arbors, etc. The plantings can go in in the spring, but you have a head start on it for next year.

Then you're right, I turn to my garden magazines, and seed catalogues and dream and plan what I am going to do next year. About the end of January is when I start getting together my stuff for starting plants in my house ( I have a five tier light stand) - then later into the greenhouse.

Also, I have another very time consuming hobby, which I don't seem to get alot of time for in the summer, and that is geneology. I have been tracing my family for about 12 years and have got some of my branches back to 1600. It is a very addicting hobby, and hours can be spent without even realizing it!!

Never fear, Grey, you will find ways to fill your time, and before you know it, you'll wonder where it went!! :lol:

Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

opabinia51
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Hi Grey, maybe get some Rhodos or other evergreens to put in your yard. They don't lose their leaves and remain green all year long. You can also get shrubs that add colours other than green to the yard during the winter. Can't think of the names off the top of my head but, go to the local nursery and they'll point you in the right direction.

Also, this is reason number 999 on why to go to a local nursery rather some stupid big box store where the employees are minimum wage people who haven't got the foggiest idea about what they are talking about. A mom and pop nursery with sevreal generations of family working there will no the region that they live in and what plants work best.

The Helpful Gardener
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Winter interest gardening is awful important to keeping sane. Don't think flowers; think berries, bark, and evergreen leaves. A witchhazel can help keep you right with those February flowers; hellebores are another lifesaver. And forcing bulbs seems to be making a comeback... this is why I have tropical bonsai...

HG

opabinia51
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Yes, I LOVE Hellebores! They have them all over the Horicultural Center of the Pacific. They are such gracious flowers. Very elegant. And they are flowers that bloom when it is darn cold out.

I don't know if Arbutus are native to Georgia Grey but, if they are: I think that they make lovely trees. They stay green all winter long and they give you gifts of bark and leaves for your compost pile almost all year long! Can't go wrong.

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Grey
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I've never heard of Arbutus.. or hellebores! I'll have to ask my garden lady about them!

Yes, I may be in a heap 'o trouble. I'll probably get used to it - it's just kind of a shock! And it looks so much worse when your home still looks under construction from the outside - not much to look at there either! Siding will help.

It would also have helped if all those boxwoods I "rescued" from the dump had made it. Some guy dug up 10 boxwoods, about 4'x4', and was throwing them out this spring. So I hauled them off to see if I could get them to grow on my property. I guess the trauma was too much for them - they didn't make it. The guy who dug them up wasn't super-careful as to how he did it and a number of the roots were damaged. But hey, I tried!

I'm also trying to look at winter as my chance to do all the stuff I never have the time to do otherwise - decoupage, Victorian beading (I take old medicine bottles and bead them, the old Victorian way), sewing, redoing those chairs I found so cheap in Illinois five years ago...

opabinia51
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Cool! Sounds neat. Good luck with your yard as well.

grandpasrose
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Sounds like you're getting the hang of it Grey! I have been spending the last month, and probably the next one, making all my Christmas presents. Crochet, mosaics, canning, sewing, rubber stamping,.........
Remember I said a while ago it was white outside? Well this morning we woke up to a foot of snow overnight!!!! :shock: Definitely winter's here!
You just have to remember Grey, that our homes and gardens are always a work in progress, and no matter how many years of money we spend on it, it will never be finished, because that is the nature of the gardener!
Keeping chipping a way at it, and you'll get there! :wink:
Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

The Helpful Gardener
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If the whole garden was finished instantly, you'd be bored...

My current favorite perennial (changes constantly) is a new Hellebore called 'Ivory Prince' Started flowering in March and continued until nearly July (INSANELY long for this genus) Whatta plant!

Arbutus is definitely a southern thing, native from Texas (A. texana)through the desert (A. arizonica) and then up and down the West Coast from northern Cali to southwest B.C. (A. menziesii). All Zone 8 plants at best, and only the latter really suited to the Atlanta climate, but I suspect Grey would be hard pressed to find one there...

HG

opabinia51
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Yes, that doesn't surprise me. To bad, it's a lovely tree or shrub. Grey did say that she was going to ask her nursery, they will be the best ones to point out everygreen trees that are best suited to her local climate.

Hellebores are wonderful flowers though. One of my favourites. The ones out at HCP don't have much scent to them though, I wonder if it is just the hybrids that don't have scent.

You guys would be amazed to find out that I am currently cratiquing (sp?) a paper on Insect diversity based on plant genetic diversity. Anyway, the amazing thing (although, not that surprising) is the amount of traits lost when plants are hybridized.

One would normally assimilate mating with increased phenotypic traits (and genotypic variation ie) more alleles) but, a lot of traits (in particular) are lost in part due to the fact that they are not carried through to the next generation (F1) and also that they are combined with other similar traits and thus lost. It's a lot more complicated than that but, it's really interesting.

(I'm actually trying to rip the guys argument apart that it is the GENETIC DIVERSITY that actually increases arthropod diversity)

Anyway, good luck with finding some Winter colour Grey. In that book that I often talk about there is a whole section on winter colour. when I have a chance I'll put that information into this thread. (Maybe next week at the earliest)

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Grey
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I'm going to try to make it to the local nursery maybe tomorrow - I say local but it is over a half hour away! At least it is a pretty drive. Will let you know what I find out. :)

opabinia51
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Look forward to hearing about your botanical discoveries. :D Definately check out your local Hellebores! They are so cool! Just love em. (They can be a bit pricey. (At least in my neck of the woods)

The Helpful Gardener
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Not really fragrant plants unless you count H. foetidus; don't know how you're Latin is, but foetidus or foetidia means stinking, so not a fragrance you'd seek out...

And ALWAYS pricey; long tough germination and slow growing to boot. Time is money, ESPECIALLY in the nursery trades...

But flowers in February...priceless :D

Scott

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