© 1992 Dunn Farm ~ Life in the Sierra Nevada

Blossoms in the snow

Incredibly hardy plants

 

 

Hydrangeas lose their leaves in winter

Perennials slumber through the winter months, buried under white, lovely snow in many areas and under cold earth in others. Then spring awakens them and as the sun's warmth entices them, beckoning, fresh new vigor returns to unfold with new leaves and bright blossoms. Hydrangeas are one of my favorite plants, their flowers are spectacular, white, pink, even blue! 

 

Golden poppies have a long bloom period when dead-headed and kept moist. Poppies come in many varieties and shades of colors to complement any garden bed. The oriental poppy is luscious, with a full spread of silky petals flowing in the breeze; the California poppy is a silken orange fantasy. The Iceland poppy, in brilliant, pastel shades, is fragrant with a 3-inch span. Pink Dianthus is hardy and quite the bloomer. 

  

Magnolia trees are hardy in zones according to their species. There honestly is a Magnolia for every zone.   Some bloom later than others which protects them from a late killing frost. They prefer full sun, with afternoon shade in hot regions and deep watering regularly. The flowers are magnificent in a variety of colors and leaf shapes. Some are evergreen, like the ones we have, with huge, fragrant blossoms, and some lose their leaves in the winter, and burst forth in spring with lovely white or purple flowers. 2001 was her first year to bloom at 5 yrs old! Gorgeous, fragrant flowers are heavenly! This evergreen Magnolia sports huge flowers. Wherever you live, there is a Magnolia that will thrive in your garden and steal your heart. 

Manzanita bushes are nice, native shrubs with all-season interest. Grey leaves, pink flowers, and white fruit make this a striking plant. Manzanita is a western native shrub, an evergreen shrub prevalent in our area, with grayish blue foliage. They bloom in the spring, bearing little waxy, pink tubular blossoms which are very sticky.Their crooked branches have smooth, purplish red bark which is dark and very attractive. There are many varieties of Manzanita, although, in our area, the common Manzanita is widespread. The fruit is white, turning to deep red. The Manzanita hardwood is much sought-after for its unique color and form. It is made into wreaths, dried flower arrangements, and furniture. The natural oils in Manzanita are very volatile and are a fire hazard if planted too close to your home.

 

Carnations are truly carefree flowers. Planted in the spring, they bloom almost all the way through summer, holding their perky heads up on the hottest days. Fragrant, with a clean, clove-spice scent, they have double flowers and blue-green, spiky leaves. They grow to about 12 inches in height and are called border carnations. We have two smaller plants that sprawl over the rocks prettily because they are partly in shade. They over-winter very well.

 

Rhododendrons are so gorgeous I cannot imagine why anyone would not have this magnificent shrub in their garden. Evergreen leaves, and full, spectacular blossoms in late spring, they are a gift from heaven. Colors range from white, pinks, scarlet and purples, yellows, orange and apricot. They prefer filtered shade and moist, well-drained, acid soil. There are many varieties that can take cold winter temperatures to -25°F, such as Anah Kruschke, and Pink Pearl. One of ours, Cotton Candy, is also fragrant, which is a bonus!

Flowering Quince is one of the first shrubs to bloom each year, and is a real beauty. The plants are extremely hardy and very picturesque. Their limbs have an almost oriental feeling. Flowers appear before the leaves and bloom along the entire branches. They are slow growing but worth the wait as they develop into beautiful, large shrubs that will bloom year after year, smothered in blossoms! Care must be taken as they have long, sharp thorns. 

 

Anemones, peeking through the snow in shades of violet, pink, and white, are charming.  They are windflowers, these ruffled blooms, and they come in various heights.  I just love planting them beneath my roses.  The Japanese anemone is one I would like for my garden.  Growing from 2 to 4 feet high, with lovely, semi-double flowers, this plant is hardy and will spread readily. 

  

Herbaceous Peonies will amaze you with their prolific blooms of huge size, just fabulous with little work on your part. Sarah Bernhardt is a beautiful, herbaceous peony that is cold hardy and a spectacular specimen for any garden. Her full, lush blooms are large, and fragrant, covering the shrub with soft, pink wonders. In early spring the reddish fingers of the peony push through the cold earth. They bloom best in full sun, with ample water. Staking is crucial as these blossoms are heavy and will weigh a plant down, especially during spring rains. Ants love them, but do them no damage, they love the sweet sap.

There are so many other plants in our gardens that deserve to be showcased, not only for their hardiness, but for their ease of care and the great contribution they make to any garden. I'm sure you will find beauties that thrive in your gardens and bring joy and wonder every day.   

Pansies in snow