by Charlene Burgi
Winter can seem drab and dreary. The deciduous trees may even appear ghoulish against darkened skies. The blackened remains from frost damage have left many of our beautiful plants looking worse for the wear.
Despite the look of winter, I also see a bright spot here and there in my own garden. Many shades of pink, red and white camellias are blooming with complementary shades parroting the color found in the cyclamen scattered beneath. This hydrozone is watered by a drip system that is separated from the rest of the garden as these plants require more water than others. They also are shade lovers and appreciate a more acidic soil.
In an area close by, helleborus lifts its unique cup-shape green flowers toward me, and I promise to plant the winter daphne I just bought nearby. Both plants love the shade and don’t like a lot of water, with the bonus being that deer won’t touch either plant. Daphne will brighten up the spot where it will soon live. Its fragrance will permeate the air, drawing your attention as you walk by.
I must admit I am biased about my two favorite garden fragrances: freesias and winter daphne. Daphne kicks off the season of fragrance in February. Just as the daphne begins to fade, the freesias open up. Please visit your nursery if you have never experienced either of these plants. A note of caution: When they hybridized freesias, they traded the sweetness for a peppery smell. See if you can find some old fashioned bulbs in your neighborhood. The bulbs multiply and your neighbor may generously share some with you.
Speaking of sharing, we are gearing up to share our time with you at the Bay-Friendly gardening workshops in March, April and May. We have added a new workshop to the series focused on edibles since there is so much in the news about healthy eating and organic gardens. See the Bay-Friendly website for more details: www.bayfriendlycoalition.org.