Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up February 2017: Winter Garden Interest

February 2017  Long Island Garden
The winter is winding down with just 32 days left until spring! It has been another unpredictable season with temperatures fluctuating anywhere between 20 degrees to temperatures in the 50’s. We had one significant snowfall in January with occasional coatings in the forecast, only to be followed by warmer days and melting. Less than a week ago on the 9th, we were hit out of the blue with Winter Storm Niko, bringing blizzard force winds and 15 inches of accumulating snow to Long Island. The rains came,  washing away much of the snow, and now it’s blue skies and cold. It is time for another Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up so let’s take a stroll in my February garden. There is a combination of structure and winter blooms, with some subtle signs of spring!
February 10th (Day After Winter Storm Niko-February 9th 2017)

Before we move along with the tour, here are a couple of snow scenes from just six days ago. Winter Storm Niko left the landscape covered in a glistening blanket of white, as it had been back in January from Winter Storm Helena.

February 10th (Day After Winter Storm Niko-February 9th 2017)

The day after a winter storm there is something magical about the gardens being covered in a blanket of snow, especially with there is a deep blue sky. All the colors seem to be more vibrant and amplified. While there still remains a thin coating of glistening snow upon much of the landscape, the snow has melted around many of the garden beds and Winter Storm Niko is just a memory. We are aiming to get back onto spring track. Come along with me to see the gardens!
Skyland’s Oriental spruce and Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar
 We start with the front driveway bed with Skyand’s Oriental Spruce with its bright golden foliage, along with Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar behind it to the left. Towering in the backdrop is the upright form of Blue Atlas Cedar, Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’.
Blue Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’)
Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’ is a majestic heat and drought tolerant evergreen with steel blue to frosty blue-green foliage. This impressive tree reaches heights of 40-50 feet tall by 20-25 feet wide and produces both male and female cones on the same plant. Finger-shaped male cones shed yellow pollen in autumn, while female egg-shaped cones form on mature plants, and turn from blue-green to lavender brown in color. 
Blue Atlas Cedar Cones February
Here are some of the male cones, which are more visible during the winter months.
Coral Bark Maple ‘Sango Kaku’
For winter interest, Coral Bark Maple ‘Sangu Kaku’ displays bright coral-red bark during the colder months. The newer growth on the outer branches tends to be more pronounced in color and “glows” in front of a clear blue sky. Coral Bark Maple grows to a mature size of 20-25 feet tall by 15-20 feet wide.
Skyland’s Golden Oriental Spruce
Here is the Skyland’s Oriental Spruce that I planted back in 2008 as a memorial for my mom. Planted at just 7-8 feet tall, it now reaches a height of approximately 20 feet in stature. Mature size for this tree ranges between 10-35 feet in height by 4-12 feet wide. 
Skyland’s Golden Oriental Spruce Foliage
Here is the foliage up close. Mature trees produce purplish-brown female cones. You can see some cones developing now during the month of February.  
Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar February Winter Interest
Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar is another favorite of mine. This one is located in the same driveway bed and now extends to approximately 20 feet in width by 8-10 feet tall.  The silvery-blue foliage provides structure and interest all year long. 
Foliage Combination
Now…around to the back yard…and in winter, it’s all about the foliage! The deepening color of the Coral Bells behind the golden foliage of sedge makes a nice contrast, and is one of my favorite foliage combinations.
Montgomery Blue Spruce Foliage
Speaking of foliage, Blue Montgomery Spruce adds bright blue color to the February garden along the patio…
Leucothoe Axillaris
and Leucothoe displays medium to dark green glossy foliage in the back shade garden.
Weeping White Pine February
This Weeping White Pine was planted back in 1996 when the back pool garden was constructed and has become a statement. Weeping White Pine grows to a mature height and width of approximately 6-15 feet high by 10-12 feet wide, depending on individual plant and displays a graceful cascading habit.
Weeping White Pine Cone February
Mature plants produce these fabulous pine cones!
Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo)
During wintertime Bloom Days, I always share these wonderful berries from Nandina domestica, also known as Heavenly Bamboo or False Bamboo. Not a true bamboo, it has a clumping habit and is not at all invasive.  Evergreen foliage (in zones 6-11) has the appearance of bamboo with voluminous bright red berries that appear in winter…one of my seasonal favorites!  This one is planted on the north side of the house.
Holly Nellie Stevens Berries Winter Interest
Another tree that produces red berries throughout winter is Nellie Stevens Holly. Mature trees produce so many berries that they can be seen from across the property. The berries are also an attraction for winter birds.
‘Kousa’ Dogwood and Evergreens Winter
The newly added Dogwood in the back north side beds is doing well.  If you remember, the Wisteria that had previously been in that spot was lost over the winter of 2015-16. I do miss the Wisteria at times, but am really enjoying the new Dogwood addition. I am looking forward to its blooms in late spring-early summer.
Hellebore ‘Shooting Star’ February Garden
While there are few winter blooming plants, here is Hellebore (or Lenten Rose), which is a welcomed addition in the winter landscape.
Hellebore ‘Shooting Star’ February Garden
I get so much enjoyment from their large pinkish-white blooms that start in February and last until early spring. The foliage remains evergreen throughout the year.
Backyard Garden Design
I love the fact that the garden is always changing and even some evergreens go through color changes during winter. These upright Western Arborvitae ‘Virescens’ along the back fence (center) turn a coppery hue in February, adding additional contrast to the winter garden. In spring, they turn back to a light green for the summer months.
Birdbath Winter
As the tour comes to an end, we pass by the granite birdbath in the back garden. The birds love it and I get so much pleasure out of watching them. The birdbath also acts as a piece of art in this shady spot.
Weeping Alaskan Cedar
Here is the Weeping Alaskan Cedar in the back southwest garden. After being in the garden for many years, it is really coming into its element as its branches widen. To date, it stands approximately 30 feet tall by 8 feet wide.
Rhododendron Elegans
While there are still several weeks of winter left, there are subtle signs of spring. Buds are forming on the Rhododendron…
Weeping Pussy Willow Catkin February
and some catkins are starting to show on the Weeping Pussy Willow by the back patio. There will be more sure signs of spring to come as the daylight hours grow longer.

Hawk Visitor

Lastly…you never know what kind of visitors you are going to get in your garden. I looked out the window this morning and this is what was sitting on top of my Japanese Maple. I haven’t seen one of these in my garden for years and was lucky enough to get a photograph. I grabbed the telephoto lens and took the picture from indoors. It was a good thing as he quickly flew off!
February Long Island Garden
I hope you enjoyed your stroll through my February 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 Flowers, Floral Fridays, Macro Monday 2, and Nature Notes at Rambling Woods. Also check out Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides and Saturday’s Critters at Viewing Nature with Eileen.

Have you heard about my new book,Landscape Design Combinations? It is a continuation of my first book, with a greater emphasis on design, including numerous numbered and labeled photographs of successful landscape plans. Step by step, the book teaches the elements of landscape design, how to choose and place various types of plants to serve a function, and how to design for the seasons. Also included are illustrations on how to build a natural stone patio or walkway, simple container combinations and the development of different garden styles throughout the centuries. If you have read Landscape Design Combinations and found it to be useful, please consider leaving a brief reviewReviews help a new book get noticed, and I would really appreciate your help! Click on the link below for a preview. I hope to inspire you!


 Next up on the 28th. is “Color Our World Round Up” for the month of February, then “This Month’s Color in the Garden” on the 7th. Also…celebrating 7 years of garden blogging on February 17th!

WAIT!!! There’s more! A blogging colleague is doing a review and giveaway of my first book. You can visit her beautiful blog and enter a comment to win at Three Dogs in a Garden. 
(Deadline for entry is February 25th.)

As Always…Happy Gardening!

Author: [email protected] Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2017. All rights reserved