Friday, December 31, 2010


"There is such a dearth of real gardening to be done now it even becomes satisfying to set out bowls of paper-white narcissus around the house-the single most predictable of all flower exercises, but saved from banality by their vigorous growth habit and reliable bloom. Amaryllis should be flowering as well to keep your senses piqued.

On bearable January days, it's a perfect time to appreciate the evergreens. What would winter be if not for them? I love the way the conifers gild themselves in a kind of burnished glow. The cedars, blue spruces, and all junipers are particularly impressive now as they stand up to Mama's most biting extremes. The Cryptomeria is to die for as it becomes more pendulous, besotted as it is with bronze berrylike cones dripping at the tip of each branch, as are the pines.

The red-twig dogwood planted two years ago as a fill-in at the entrance of the driveway is most engaging now with branches really truly red. I had read about it in some catalogs and then found a big old overgrown clump of it in the neighborhood peering out over the bleak winterscape, which convinced me some red-twig was needed to help get through these months."

Excerpted from DIRT The Lowdown on Gardening with Style
by Dianne Benson (page 161).