Friday, December 2, 2011

The Holiday Season's Garden

Powell Gardens is brimming with flowers, foliage and fruit that make this season bright.

The Conservatory and its Victorian-themed palate is full of unique Poinsettias and companion plants in a beautiful design by Horticulturist Anne Wildeboor. Here Poinsettia 'Winter Rose Marble' & 'Premium White' is set off by Diamond Frost Euphorbia and Pink Polka-dot Plant. If you are in the market for unique poinsettias, Perennial Gifts (our gift shop) will have these for sale for you to take home.

Outside the last of the season greens are part of our masterful foliage display playing off their leave's beautiful colors and textures. This marvelous array of edibles was designed by Horticulturist Matt Bunch in the Heartland Harvest Garden's Villandry Quilt Garden in front of the barn. From left to right the mustard greens varieites are: 'Golden Frill', 'Purple Rain', 'Green Wave' and 'Garnet Giant.'

No, the gardening season does not end with a freeze! Many of the "greens" of the fall garden hold well into December with some kale hardy to near 10F. Make sure to walk to the barn on your Powell Gardens visit to see some of these beautiful compositions and be sure and hike (or ride on the elevator) up to the top of the silo for a bird's eye overview of the landscape.

No, this is not a "beached" starfish but a gorgeous bed of greens (purple 'Garnet Giant' mustard and green tops of radishes)

in the Villandry Garden. The unique fringed edge are 'Chinese Ornamental' peppers which, though killed by a freeze, create a gorgeous border in the winter landscape.

The screaming red berries of the Possumhaw or Deciduous Holly (Ilex decidua) always warm the soul on a winter garden walk. All berried hollies are female and require a male pollinator -- when we planted this fruiting plant in the Perennial Garden we forgot to plant a pollinator and it still fruited! I thought we might have the first self-fruitful possumhaw but then we discovered a wild male plant in the woods nearby.

This Prairie Rose (Rosa setigera) in the Apple Celebration Court is also loaded with beautiful deep red hips. It is a companion planting to the apples and makes the garden beautiful all through winter.

Prickly-pears like this wild Bigroot Prickly Pear (Opuntia macrorhiza) draping over the living wall on the Island Garden are great for winter interest in the garden. The companion reddish foliage is from the Hardy Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) used as a colorful companion plant.

The Island Garden is choc full of neat foliage plant treats like this Angelina Sedum (Sedum reflexum) which in winter has orange hi-lights.

Angelina Sedum combines well with other evergreen plants like silver Santolina (back left), Candytuft (back right) and fine forest green creeping thyme (front left) and rich green six-sided sedum (front right). All these grow on top of the Island Garden's living wall.

Snowdrops (Galanthus elwesii) have already made their appearance on the Island Garden! Perhaps the severe drought of fall followed by copious rains fooled them into thinking it was spring. At any rate we sure enjoy these cold hardy, floral gems whenever they appear.

Sweet Violets (Viola odorata) are also in bloom with their intensely sweet perfume. They are awesome edible flowers with a sweet floral taste that can really make a salad sing in this season.
These were photographed on the east side of the Island Garden but they are also sweetening up the Kitchen Garden south of the barn in the Heartland Harvest Garden and a few other secret locations around the garden--your nose will find them before your eyes.

These flowers, foliage and fruit await your discovery on a holiday walk at Powell Gardens. Take a break from the hustle and bustle and discover the beauties of our winter garden.

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