Tag Archives: winter

Wintery Visit to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

15 Feb

There are all sorts of reasons people visit gardens, from learning more about the plants themselves, to getting ideas for home gardens, to simply being in a peaceful, aesthetically pleasing space that allows them to recharge while communing with Nature.

Botanic gardens are indoor/outdoor museums, and I love visiting them–for all of the reasons above. I like to explore wide and far, taking advantage of the brief respite these beautiful gardens can provide while seeing and learning something new. But in the winter, it becomes a bit more challenging to visit gardens–it is cold and many plants are in their dormant phases. There is great beauty in a winter garden, but there is also great joy in being able to leave the cold behind and enter a warm conservatory full of tropical plants. That is one of the great attractions of a botanic garden in the winter.

During a recent trip to New York City (just after a major snowfall), we made a point of stopping by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It looked like a white wonderland…

… with snow and ice, and

frozen crabapple fruits.

The conservatory beckoned, with its various houses and pavilions. We entered shortly before the gardens closed for the day, but were able to appreciate some very welcome sights: a Cape Aloe flower and a Cardinal’s Guard flower (above), as well as the lovely leaf of a Garden Croton (below). For a moment, we forgot all about the storm outside.

Japanese Flowering Apricot

16 Mar

Washington DC is gearing up for this year’s Cherry Blossom festival from March 20 to April 14. It is not only an annual celebration of the capital’s famous cherry trees, but also a key indicator that spring might finally be here. The peak bloom period is expected to be March 26-30.

As gorgeous as the cherry blossoms are, there is an equally gorgeous ornamental tree that is in bloom earlier, from January through March, and that can be seen in the relative calm of Maryland’s Brookside Gardens. It is the Japanese Flowering Apricot (Prunus mume), which puts on a quite a show at a fairly monochromatic time of year in the Northern Hemisphere–a time of year when we are all becoming a bit desperate for some color.

Despite its striking beauty, this tree is not as well known in the United States as other ornamental trees, though more nurseries are now stocking it. Aside from the wonderful attribute of being in bloom when almost nothing else is, the tree is also ideal for smaller gardens, since it only gets to about 20-25 feet. I am now sorely tempted to re-evaluate my garden plan.

A Not So Bleak Midwinter

7 Feb

Thus far, our winter has been relatively mild, but nonetheless, the garden looks like a shell of its former self: gaps where perennials have died back or where old growth was pruned to make way for new–and all remaining plants a monochromatic brown relieved only by occasional bits of evergreen.

A fleeting snowfall transformed this landscape for a day, accentuating the stark beauty of the plants that have soldiered on. A reminder that there are bright spots even in the depth of winter.

Presenting three “roses”: a frozen Hybrid Tea Rose bud, a sprig of Rosemary, and the dried seed pods of Rose of Sharon.


Last Few Spots of Color

1 Dec

The garden is looking quite sad now, after a few frosts. What remains is for the most part bare, brown, drooped,  or shriveled–all of which would be quite depressing if not for the fact that after every autumn/winter comes the spring. For gardens, at least, the current state of affairs is not permanent.

But amid the early December bleakness, a few spots of color remain–a small selection of plants that are not quite ready to call it quits (plus one bud that looked particularly nice this morning–the last bit of interest on an otherwise denuded plant).

In order of appearance (from left to right, top to bottom) : Gaillardia (Fanfare),   Montauk Daisy, Variegated Sage (Tricolor) , Euphorbia (Ascot Rainbow), and a bud from a tree Azalea (Gibraltar).