the welcome warmth of some garden gold

spiraea thunbergii ogon

BABY, IT’S (GRADUALLY GETTING) COLD OUTSIDE. A few nights in the teens and 20s lately and a forecast for 12 degrees tonight signaled an end to the crazy-warm late fall, it seems, and made me extra-grateful for the few warm-colored elements still standing in the garden. Though deciduous, Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon’ holds its gold leaves till about Christmas here (seen above with red winterberries); ‘Winter Gold’ winterberry hollies are festive, too (until some bird or other animal has their way with them). The golden Hinoki cypress, Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Crippsii’ never says quit. They’re the kind of plants that help make a 365-day garden. What’s looking good at your place about now?

  1. Pam T says:

    Yes! “Ogon” is looking gold and flame orange in central IL. The grasses look great. I look forward to winter! The interesting bark and handsome form of Parrotia persica, Acer griseum and triflorum…the pyramid shape and horizontal branching of black gum and bald cypress…the vase shape of witchhazels…the delicate branching of katsura…the dwarf firs, spruces, and pines…all are magical in snow!

    1. Margaret says:

      Hi, Chris and Pam. My grasses got hammered in the October snow so they all had to be cut down (horrible!) and my geraniums are in the cellar. But there is still plenty to be grateful for, as you both obviously know.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Oops-I think I left this comment in the wrong place this morning:
    You’re right about the PNW-I live in the Northern Oregon hills near the coast and It still has it’s leaves. It’s a piece I took from the home where I grew up nearby in the Willamette Valley-we always called it “the bridal veil bush”. It’s so nice to have some little bits of home growing in the garden:)

  3. Brian G. says:

    Lindera glauca (the willow leaf spicebush) has leaves that in fall go orangey and finally to a beigey gray. They stay on almost all winter. Last year was my first winter with this and it had a lot of die back but rebounded nicely in spring. This is rated to zone 6 so I am pushing it a bit. It probably won’t get very big but it is nice to have something that hangs on to it’s leaves almost year round.

  4. Terryk says:

    I could kick myself for not picking up the two on sale earlier this year. So with this mild fall we have had this year has this spirea been in leaf till just recently Margaret? I have a purple leafed plum tree that hold its leaves and color till very late and I thought the two might compliment each other nicely. I think I hesitated this summer because the two I saw were not pretty small and ratty looking. Next spring I will have to get this one.

  5. Patricia says:

    Here in the Piedmont area of North Carolina my Prunus mume is in full, pink bud with some flowers all the way open. Really lovely. And Daphne odorata is ready to bloom – also pink buds only this time with beautiful evergreen leaves. Gorgeous plant. I got an early Christmas present yesterday of Michael Dirr’s new book. Spent several hours going over my favorites. Really enjoyed the pictures of his Chapel Hill garden.

  6. Deborah B says:

    My winterberry hollies still look amazing. The robins thinned the berries on them a bit, but left me plenty this year. Last year I started 5 tiny Cardinal red-twigged dogwood bushes behind them and they already have a presence there. In a couple years the two together will be terrific this time of year. Not much else happening in my Catskill-area yard, except the ornamental grasses and small conifers, which I really appreciate this time of year.

  7. Judy says:

    I have two winterberry shrubs in the back. One has red berries, and the other has orange berries. They are so pretty with the berries on. The other day, a flock of robins ate every one of them…in no time at all. Usually that happens around the end of January. What kills me is that there are winterberry bushes all over in my area, but somehow mine always get eaten. There’s one gorgeous, older shub that keeps the berries the entire winter. Other shrubs don’t seem to be touched, either. I know, the birds have to eat, and other than the beauty, the shrubs are for food. I’d like to be able to enjoy the beauty a while longer. I know you can’t answer this, but why don’t birds go to the other areas? The older shrub with tons of berries would be a real feast for them! lol…Just had to unload. I love the golden color of the Spiraea shrub in the photo..against the red of the berries (lucky you!). Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May the new year bring health, happiness, and great weather for our gardens.

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