Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up December 2016: Winter Garden Color!

December 2016 Garden
Well, the weather outside is frightful, but our gardens are still delightful. The winter crops we can sow…til it snows, til it snows, til it snows! December on Long Island has been bringing frigid temperatures in the 30’s and 40’s, which are more normal for this time of year, but the temperature for Bloom Day is in the 20’s, with a chance of snow flurries showing in the forecast! I took this venture outside wearing three layers of clothing to keep warm and was delighted to see that there is still a lot going on in the December garden. Come along with me. Better bundle up!
Azalea Foliage December
As an avid gardener and designer, and now very determined photographer, I am constantly inspired by the beauty of the garden, no matter what the time of year. I have come to appreciate that there is always something amazing lurking around the corner and when there are no blooms, it is important to look deeper. As Albert Camus once said“In the depths of winter I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
Nandina domestica Berries & Foliage
Speaking of finding the inner beauty of the garden in winter, one of my favorite plants for this time of year is Nandina. Its evergreen foliage turns to hues of pink and yellow in the colder temperatures, while bright red berries form and grow more intense as the winter progresses. 
Young’s Weeping Birch Bark
Even the bark of some trees can provide winter interest. The beautiful white bark of birch trees becomes more noticeable as the foliage disappears.
Blue Globe Montgomery Spruce
Montgomery Globe Spruce continues to shine with its bright blue foliage, that is even more prominent in winter…
Coral Bells & Sedge
and evergreen perennials highlight the garden with their contrasting colors. This is a combination of Caramel Coral Bells with Japanese Golden Sedge.
Nandina domestica Berries
Here is Nandina once again but with a closer view…and Hellebores, as they set their buds for winter bloom.
Hellebore ‘Shooting Star’
  I added these Hellebore ‘Shooting Star’ to the garden two winters ago and get so much enjoyment from them. The foliage stays evergreen all year long and large creamy white blooms with pink highlights start in late December and continue through early spring.

Spirea Foliage December

Even though the cold has set in, the fall season has been warmer in the past couple of years, resulting in continuing foliage on these spirea through December.  This is the foliage of Spirea ‘Lemon Princess’ still holding on with its deep orange hue.
Frosty Heuchera
Here we see frost on Coral Bells as the temperatures plummet…
Nellie Stevens Holly Berries
and Nellie Steven’s Holly forms its berries for winter.
Sedum ‘Brilliant’ Seed Head
Sedum ‘Brilliant’ extends the season with its interesting seed heads, which are also looking a little frosty right now. I try to leave these in the garden for as long as possible, for they add interest, plus the birds enjoy the seeds.
‘Yaku Jima’ Grass December
Here is Dwarf Maiden Grass.  Its plumes glow in the sunlight in the December garden.
Skyland’s Spruce and Coral Bark Maple December
Over the years the number of evergreens in my garden has grown, as well as plants that provide winter interest. This Golden ‘Skyland’s Oriental Spruce was planted in 2008 as a memorial tree for my mom and has grown into a magnificent specimen. The Coral Bark Maple behind it is starting to show its reddening winter bark.
Rainbow Leucothoe December
Leucothoe also adds nice interest to the winter garden with its multi-colored foliage…
Japanese Golden Sedge December
while golden sedge continues to add color and whimsy to the garden with its spiky evergreen foliage.
Weeping White Pine
Here is Weeping White Pine with its cascading branches…
Weeping White Pine Cone
and large pine cones that form at this time of year.
Weeping Norway Spruce
I rescued this Weeping Norway Spruce from a client years ago whom no longer wanted it.  It was thin and pretty much left for dead, but I took it on and gave it lots of tender loving care. This is the tree today after years of believing in it. It is thriving and has become one of my favorites in the back garden!
Weeping Pussy Willow Catkin December
It’s mid December and this is a rare sight for right now. The Weeping Pussy Willow usually sets its buds at this time of year, but it is not usual for the catkins to be popping. 
Knock Out Rose December!
While catkins are fooled by a milder fall until now, reminders of summer still linger as Knock Out Roses continue to bloom…
Rhododendron Buds December
and signs of future spring are present as Rhododendrons set their buds.
Winter Visitors
There have been many more bird visitors since the cold set in, as they enjoy their favorite seed…
December Trying to Keep Warm
and seek shelter in the trees away from the chilling winds.

In A Vase on Monday (Spreading Yew, Gold Lace Juniper, Dwarf Maiden Grass plumes, Rosy Glow Barberry, Sedum seed heads and Knock Out Rose buds)

Some of the garden is brought inside to enjoy…

Winter Bear!
 and new Winter Bear watches over the garden, as Adirondack Bear hibernates away for the winter months.
December Garden 2016
  I hope you enjoyed your stroll through my December garden. Special thanks go out to our hostesses Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who makes it possible to see blooms on the 15th of every month with her meme Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day and Pam at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-Up.  I am also linking with some other wonderful hosts and hostesses at Today’s FlowersFloral FridaysMacro Monday 2, and Nature Notes at Rambling Woods. Also check out What’s Blooming This Week Garden UpdateIn a Vase on Monday at Rambling in the Garden, Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day and Saturday’s Critters.

Planning your garden for next spring, looking for some winter reading or perhaps a gift for the gardener in you life?  Check out my book, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening: Journeys of a Garden Designer (Gardening in Zones 3-9). It covers a wide range of information on garden design, tips, maintenance and more! If you have read my book and found it to be helpful, please consider leaving a short review on Amazon. Reviews are vital in getting a book noticed and your help would be very much appreciated! Click on the photo or links for details!

As Always…Happy Gardening and Happy Holidays!

Author: [email protected] Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2016. All rights reserved