Winter Skeletons

The snow has fallen and Jack Frost has visited on several occasions. Me and the size sixes decided to take a tour with our recording friend, the camera.

This trip had us wondering about the yard to check on the plants and bushes that grow there. It seems to be an odd time of year to take stock of what flourishes within the confines of the walks, but it tells a different story than the other seasons.

The Peonies have two spots they call home, the front bed and the rogue garden. In the late spring their tight buds appear and slowly open to fluttering petals of deep pink. The ever-present ants scurry hither and yon feeding on their sweet nectar. The blooms don’t last nearly long enough, yet the aftermath of the following seasons is gorgeous.

peony, leaf, fall, gold, brown, Ann Edall-Robson
Peony Leaves

Southern exposure is hot and merciless in the summer and in the winter. The plants that reside in this spot need to be resilient because lack of snow for insulation puts them in a precarious situation of possible winter kill. The rule of thumb for all the plants that grow for me is, if they can’t make it on their own, they should not be part of my garden. This theory has worked for years and I have some lovely blooms and green foliage that return year after year.

Monkshood will look after itself and has made a good flower bed end with their long stocks and bushy bottom leaves.

monks, hood, winter, brown, snow, Ann Edall-Robson
Monks Hood in Winter

One of the most prolific self seeding plants in the front flower bed is the beautiful Flax.  Thousands of little black seeds explode from the pods and are spread on the wind to continue propagating.

flax, seed, pods, fall, winter, brown, Ann Edall-Robson
Flax Seed Pods

Spindly skeletons are all that is left of the Daisies at this time of year.  Their blooms are few and they probably need to be moved to a place more to their liking. Note made to self to investigate another venue when the snow is gone.

daisy, shashta, fall, winter, brown, beige, Ann Edall-Roson
Daisy Skeletons

The rogue garden houses all things that have not found their forever home.  Here we have one of the Peonies, a black raspberry cane or two, some chives that have somehow migrated here, a clump of Yarrow, pink Phlox, Joe Pie Weed and numerous Hollyhocks. It is the Hollyhocks that leave us with showy dead stuff on their tall stoic stalks.

hollyhock, red, bloom, froze, frost, fall, winter, flower, bloom, Ann Edall-Robson
Frosted Hollyhock

Leaving berries on the shrubs is not laziness, but selfishness. The birds get to enjoy the fruits not harvested and we get the enjoyment of seeing these fine feathered friends visiting.

gooseberry, ripe, red, frost, snow, ice, winter, fall, fruit, Ann Edall-Robson
Frosted Gooseberry

Sparrows and finches watch from a tree above the feeders. Their noisy chatter telling me that I am intruding on their lunch or that it is time to refill the empty bins. They flit and fly from branch to branch. Leaving the leafless tree to perch on the naked lilacs and gooseberry bushes before they take flight to their next dining experience.

In a few months, tiny spring shoots will start emerging to take their place in the yard. For now, the remnants of last summer will continue to be a haven for those that wish to feed and visit here over the cold winter months.

Until the warmth of the summer sun brings back the colour of the garden, stay warm.



chickadee, AlbertaChick-a-dee-dee-dee, chick-a-dee-dee-dee. The unmistakable voice of the small black and white bird speaks its piece nearby. Not out in the open where it could be clearly seen. On a safe perch within the shrubs under the feeder. It flits from branch to branch. Always watching through the bare, leafless bush. Feeding on bits of this and that left behind on the limbs; and then gone. Flight path through open ground to the trees. Where once again, it announces it has landed. Chick-a-dee-dee-dee, Chick-a-dee-dee-dee.