For the last blog of the year here are a few favorite pictures from 2013. Some of them are of beautiful things and some of them just make me smile, like the picture of all the seedlings coming up for the plant sale. Happy New Year!
Yesterday, I was doing my best to have a real day off. Most of the family (missing the one off at college!) was home so we cranked up the woodstove against the damp chill and sat around. I did some knitting but then true to form got restless and had to head outside. Bundled up, I walked through the back and out around the edge of the turf fields. Then up along the side of one pond and away from the road to head to the edge of another pond deep in the woods. Most of this area between the ponds is filled with Mountain Laurel. What a beautiful plant! With so many trees bare of leaves, this lovely evergreen shrub with twisting branches really stood out in yesterday’s dull overcast light.
Kalmia latifolia is an Ericaceous plant native to the eastern United States, from Maine to Florida. In my mind it is associated with Rhododendrons (and they are closely related), but Mountain Laurel generally grows at higher elevations and tolerates drier soil. It is a slow-growing understory shrub here, although farther south it does reach tree size. Kalmia flowers in late May/early June, often heavily. The flowers of the native species range from white to pink, with variable red markings.
Spring time and flowers are far off, but even in winter, I find Kalmia beautiful. As the PlantFinder says, it’s a
…”Superior flowering native shrub for groups or massing in shrub borders, cottage gardens, woodland areas or wild/naturalized areas. Compliments rhododendrons and azaleas.”
In any area with acidic soil, some moisture, and a bit of shade, it will do well. In the swampy woods of southern Rhode Island, it’s a treat to see even on the greyest day.
Oh, December. Walking around the Garden with my camera, I see brown, and brown. The light at this time of day, late afternoon, is just lovely, but not much is inspiring me to take pictures…
When it snows, I’ll get the camera out. Fresh snow makes me think black and white, shadows, texture. Bright sun and sky, bright snow, dark trees. The contrast of evergreens and red berries, the outlines highlighted by frost. I’m not really ready for it, still savoring the wonderful Thanksgiving week I had. Maybe by Solstice I’ll be dreaming of a white Christmas, camera in hand. What catches your eye at this time of year?