Monday, February 26, 2024

Winter Garden


Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) bearing fruit at the end of December/beginning of January

We are very fortunate to live in a part of the country where even in winter the garden offers excitement and even some color. While it certainly doesn't display the richness of spring, summer and fall, there still is lots of interest to see.

African Flag (Chasmanthe floribuna) was showing its starting flowers at the beginning of the year.

Now it looks like this:

This is a volunteer to my garden, I never planted it. I guess some birds brought it in and it has been spreading ever since. I don't mind since it doesn't crowd out other plants and new plants are easy to remove. I rather enjoy these pretty flowers that are such happy spots of color on a gray day.

There are several pink flowering currants (Ribes sangunieum var. glutinosum) throughout my garden and they usually start flowering in February. In fall, the birds enjoy the berries while the bees love the plant in spring.

My front garden is in the shade during the dead of winter, but when I see the sun hitting some parts of it again I know that spring is not too far away. Here the morning sun lights up the fat ceramic doves sitting in the Wooly Sunflower (Eriophyllum lanatum).

The warm light of the morning sun always thrills me.

A ceramic bird is hiding in the Forget-me-Nots (Myosotis). These are volunteer plants as well and they spread in the shady parts of the garden. If I don't want them there, I can easily pull them. When the flowers turn into seeds, they unfortunately have the habit to cling to your clothes when you step among them. That's the only part I don't like about this plant. The tiny blue flowers make a beautiful "carpet" in the spring.

This winter we fortunately have had a lot of rain, and the delicate spiderwebs on the damp plants are easy to see. 

This red camellia is in front of my kitchen window. There used to be two more camellias, but we took them out last year because they were too close to the house and therefore a fire hazard. But the red one we left in the ground. It wasn't doing too well while the other - more robust - camellias were there, but I tended to it last year, trimmed and pruned and this year it delights us with a much bigger bloom than all the years before.

I like to keep my garden as natural as possible. That means that I leave some old and dead parts of trees on the ground where they offer shelter to insects and beneficial bugs. Because of all the rain, Turkey Tail Fungus has developed on the trunks. Since this is not on a living tree, I leave them be. When you look at them, you can easily see why they're called Turkey Tail.

Aren't they beautiful?

The past few days have been sunny and a bit warmer. That was all that this calendula needed to display its happy flowers. These flowers always remind me of home where I saw them growing wild and spreading through seeds.

A few days agao I noticed the first blue flowers on my California Lilac (Ceanothus) - this is a huge bee magnet and I could see some bees humming around the tiny blooms.

Of course you all are familiar with daffodils (Narcissus) - they started to appear at the end of January.

The birds are in abundance as well and I have to refill their feeders at least every other day. I enjoy watching them. This one I can see from my kitchen window and it is mostly visited by House Finches, Lesser Goldfinches and Pine Siskins. The feeders in the back garden attract a greater variety of birds because there I offer different kinds of bird seeds and nuts.

For Bleubeard and Elizabeth's T Tuesday I am remembering warm evenings in the garden when we have dinner al fresco and enjoy a glass of wine (or two). Cheers and happy T Tuesday to you.


Latane Barton said...

You have such interesting things in your garden, many of which I have never seen. It must bring you great joy during the bleak days of winter.

Mae Travels said...

How lovely of you to share your beautiful garden today.
best,mae at

Tom said... can grow some fabulous things, most aren't hard enough for us. But who knows, with climate change we might be able!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I really LOVE your winter garden, Carola. It is gorgeous. Here it is either mud or dirt and leaves, since I mulch my leaves before winter arrives. You are SO lucky to live in an area where there is no ice and snow that will kill your precious plants.

Wow! A sunflower I have not heard of. Seems there are more types than I ever imagined. LOVE that camellia. What a beautiful color and bloom. You really have a green thumb.

Your wine looks wonderful with your meal. Now I want some pasta like yours. Thanks for sharing your winter garden and wine with us for T this week, dear.

You asked about the teas. Those are all the loose leaf teas in big jars. Although they apparently have tea in bags, I've never seen any.

DVArtist said...

Wow! such a nice garden in the winter time. where in N. Cali to you live? The colors of the flowers are spectacular and the sunshine on the ceramic doves, I thought they were gourds. Such a nice yard. Have a lovely evening.

Iris Flavia said...

"A volunteer" klingt sehr niedlich! So viele Spinnennetze, doch wo ist Charlotte? ;-)
Naturbelassen finde ich sehr gut! Aber calendula kenne ich nur als Bild auf Handcremetuben!
Fruehling ist tatsaechlich da, wie schoen! Ich hoffe, es ist nicht zu kalt,wenn wir zurueck nach Deutschland muessen...

My name is Erika. said...

Your garden looks so lovely, and I am jealous you have green and blooms in February. MY gardens are still under a bit of snow (but not as much as they often are at this time of year). I like how you leave the tree stumps too. I like the idea that gardens look like they just grew and you didn't fuss much with them. Of course there is always a certain amount of fussing, but stumps are good tricks to make them seem like they did just grow. Thanks for sharing. It's nice seeing green and flowers. Happy T day. hugs-Erika

Sharon Madson said...

Beautiful photos. Wow, a strawberry tree baring fruit in December! Happy T Day.
Did you get my message of thank you for the lovely prints! You are so generous. I was going to show them next time i blogged and then forgot! But I really appreciate them, and your generosity. Happy T Day.

Amila said...

Impressive! It's truly kind of you to let us glimpse into your enchanting garden today, especially during the winter season. The vibrant hues of the flowers are breathtaking. Your photography skills are fantastic.
Wishing you a joyful T Day.

roentare said...

The birds on the feeder are incredibly busy there

Kokopelli said...

What a lovely winter garden! So different from here, where it's mostly grey and green. But the first snowdrops and daffodils appeared already. At first sight I thought, the doves were gourds. *LOL* Happy T Day!

Let's Art Journal said...

Wow, what amazingly beautiful photos! Loving the strawberry tree and all those ceramic birds, it's so lovely to see the sunshine too ūüėä. Thanks for warming me up and for the tour of your pretty garden. Happy T Tuesday! Hugs, Jo x

Jeanie said...

Your gardens and area near you are so beautiful (and so far ahead of ours!) Love the strawberry tree and that sweet pink volunteer. I wish a few things would volunteer in my garden (apart from the weeds!)

Lisca said...

Thank you for walking me through your garden. The flowers are a delight to see. And the bird at the feeder is so pretty. It's nice that you allow 'volunteers' to stay and you make them welcome. In return they dazzle you with their beauty and colour.
Happy T-Day,

CJ Kennedy said...

It's so nice to see flowers and color in the garden. It will be a couple of more months before that happens at my house. I love your blue ceramic bird and it must look so charming nestled among the Forget-Me-Nots. Happy T Day

Valerie-Jael said...

Your garden is wonderful love it. TFS the great photos. Happy T Day, hugs, Valerie

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Carola, since we live on the east coast in New England, it will be a few more months until we have any blooms to enjoy other than the ones in the local supermarkets. Thanks for showing the lovely ones now in your garden. I especially liked seeing the strawberry.

Lorrie said...

Your garden is lush and beautiful just now. So many pretty things blooming. I'm watching my camellia bush but the buds are still very tightly closed. Daffodils and hellebores make some bright patches in the garden. It's still quite chilly.

Empire of the Cat said...

Your winter garden looks beautiful. I especially love the birds and the turkey tail and the spiderwebs. The strawberry tree is interesting, not seen one of those before. I tried to create my garden to have interest in all seasons but it didn't really work as even the "winter plants" thought it was too cold lol. Happy T Day! Elle xx

Violetta said...

In Californien waren ja grad Schirennen und da gab´s Schnee. Aber ist ja auch ein gro√üer Bundesstaat. Sch√∂n da√ü in Deinem Garten schon die Erdbeeren sprie√üen. Und alle anderen sch√∂nen Blumen und Plfanzen. Ich k√∂nnte noch ein wenig Winter gebrauchen, aber ein Teller Nudeln auf der Terrasse....auch eine sch√∂ne Sache.
Alles Liebe und eine gute Zeit

Barb said...

I'm amazed at all that's growing in your winter garden. Your garden gives me pleasure too, Carola. That African Flag is a winner.

DUTA said...

I greatly enjoy contemplating the variety of colors and shapes of flowers and plants in a garden such as yours, Carola. The same goes for watching little birds and feeders full of seeds and nuts.

Veronica Lee said...

Your winter garden is a sight to behold, Carola!
It's incredible to see such vibrant colors and life during the colder months.

Hugs and blessings

Teresa said...

Me ha encantado ver las flores de tu jardín, que preciosos se ven los pájaros. Besos.

Lowcarb team member said...

Many thanks for sharing these beautiful photographs of your garden.
Lovely to see the birds too.

Wishing you a happy month of March.

All the best Jan