Archives for January 2013

Coral Bark Maple On a Wintery Day


Whenever you read a description of coral bark Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Sango kaku’), you’ll probably see the word glowing used early on. While there are many maples I find more appealing year-round than coral bark, I was struck by the fact that it really did seem to be glowing as I rounded the bend of the road one recent overcast day. There it was, all lit up against a backdrop of magnolias and other evergreens — probably the most effective use of the tree I’d seen.


This maple has suckered and spread to a width of 8-10′. Nestled in a variety of plants between the road and the lakeshore, it’s an unexpected treat for eyes that have grown accustomed to winter’s more muted colors. Hmm…. maybe I need to reconsider the virtues of Sango kaku.

The Lovely, Welcome Snow


It snowed this week — one of those soft, all-encompassing, old-fashioned snows that says, There’s no need to worry. Everything is working according to nature’s plan. Come outside. Feel the joy.

The earth and trees seemed to revel in the calm and purity of form that enveloped the landscape. Every turn of the camera revealed a different hue of white.


A cluster of Canadian or eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) formed a backdrop for bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora) and other deciduous shrubs. Was there ever a more beautiful evergreen tree?


The umbrella pine (Sciadopitys verticillata) became laden with snow very quickly. I knocked most of it off, for fear that the branches would break overnight.


There are five or six mature, very lush specimens of boxwoods in the garden, most of them Buxus sempervirens ‘ Suffruticosa’. Since boxwoods are very susceptible to snow and storm damage, I gave them a good shake too.


These are squirrel tracks, I’m pretty certain.


These are tracks of the very rare and reclusive  ….. ??  Actually, a pattern in the rubber mat outside the door :>)


This copper water sprinkler came home with me from a yard sale last year. I had sworn off yard sales, but this one had a definite “garden” theme. The hummingbird reminds me that spring is not far away!

Wordless Wednesday: Brush Pile Art

Garden Clean-up. The Rabbits Approve.


Kittens and Greenery: Irresistible!



Dear people in my family have just adopted this fuzzy girl with the big ears and eyes. Her name is Sophie. When Sophie crossed the threshold and began adjusting to all the sights, sounds, and smells of her new home, she quickly discovered all kinds of low-hanging leaves in the jungle of houseplants on the floor. None were poisonous to her, but many were appealing for their grassiness, or lushness, or who-knows-what. At least the Christmas tree had already been taken down.

Years ago, I had a sitter come in several times a day to take care of my two cats while I attended an out-of-town conference. The Christmas tree – a fresh spruce about seven feet tall – was resplendent in all its holiday finery (mainly lights and bird ornaments, if I recall) and was tucked away in the corner as far I could place it.

When I returned from my meeting, I found the tree lying on its side, with most of its ornaments spread out on the floor. Fortunately, there was no broken glass, or any evidence of feline distress or damage. The cats were very nonchalant and evasive about the entire episode. The note from the sitter said how sorry she was, but never mentioned why she just left the tree lying in the floor.

This Could Happen

This Could Happen

It’s been a while since I’ve had any pets. Over the years, they all succumbed to illness or old age.  One cat, Katie, was almost twenty when she died. I found her in the woods when she was young and very ill. I was on my way to the Humane Society with her, when I turned my car around and drove her home.  I was with most of my pets when they were euthanized and, for a long time, felt I couldn’t go through that again. But maybe it’s time to welcome another dog or cat to our home. I think Sophie has definitely stirred the old longings. Besides, what’s a home without pets and plants?

Morning Deer Run: Leading the Pack

Just One of the Gang

Just One of the Gang

Just above the house, on the well-trodden path on the hill. Seven more deer – young ones and older females – are following this male, just out of camera range.