Snow Grows on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

Sky view of Katsura and Hemlock
It's once again Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, when garden bloggers from around the world write about what's going on in their gardens.

In my Zone 5-6 garden, we are growing snow. My plants are asleep and look pretty with a blanket that's about 7 inches thick.

There is something about the first measurable snow that makes me look more closely at the trees in my garden. Conifers I'd planted to offer winter interest are still small enough to look like lumps in the snow--a good thing since they're dwarfs, a bad thing if I'd hoped for drama.

Front garden tree line-up, 2013.
Because of the power lines that span the easement along the back of our property, sky views are prettier out front. Just above the rooflines and close to the tops of trees growing nearly massive since planting them 12 years ago or so, there are the two hemlocks, branches laden by snow. I imagine their roots asleep inside the frozen ground. But now, if they awake in the midst of their winter sleep for a drink, it will be available.The weeping katsura, a tangle of large and small branches, offers plenty of nearly-horizontal surfaces for snow to land. Behind the group of three is a Metasequoia, a dignified sentinel through the winter.

In the front garden tree line-up photo, it's the straightest upward trunk just to the left of the weeping katsura. A bit to the right of the katsura are two hemlocks, but only one is in evidence as a dark green blob with snowy branches sticking out like toothpicks in a giant canapé.

Throughout summer and into fall, the line-up blocks the view down the street, which is what we had in mind when we planted them.
Metasequoia, Katsura and Hemlock in November, 2011
Perhaps fall is the trees' most colorful season, as leaves on the katsura flash gold while the Metasequoia's needles turn to bronze before dropping.

I came across a baby photo of the front tree line-up and am happy to see the planting has accomplished its goal. It was meant to fill in the gap left by a neighbor's unapproved removal of the lower branches of the row of white pines that march along the property line.

Tree line-up, circa 2001.
Taken from a slightly different perspective, the springtime baby photo shows the katsura directly in front of one of the hemlocks, a crabapple directly in front of the other hemlock. I eventually removed the crabapple, as I was afraid it would outpace the katsura.

No matter how long I garden, I still am guilty of planting too closely with little vision to the future. The front garden tree line-up is an example of planting for a reason. While gardening is certainly not considered an endeavor that offers instant gratification, looking at the before and after photos makes me realize that, in the realm of gardening, "instant" is relative.

Visit May Dreams Gardens for more contributions to Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!

Seat-of-the-Pants Deer-proofing: You Can Grow That!

Magnolia x wieseneri at Gossler Farms Nursery
It happens every year: I suddenly realize we're heading into winter, the time of year our deer herd counts on my garden for a grab and go meal. Do I arm myself through the year with sensible and easy to use deer-proofing methods? Of course not! That would be too easy.
I use what's on hand, because if I stop to shop for something better, I might not get back to the task. So I improvise, sometimes to hideous results.

This year's winner of the ugliest deer-proofing covers up our latest Magnolia acquisition: Magnolia x wieseneri, a cross between M. sieboldii and M. hypoleuca.

Wire cage on Magnolia
Because of its youth and succulent (to a deer) bark, I decided to give it some coddling to get it through its first year. The results aren't pretty. I wrapped green coated wire fencing around the trunk, but knowing how determined deer are, I needed to prevent them from reaching down inside the 4-foot tall barrier for a snack. I found a nylon mesh bag used for bulbs (I knew it would come in handy) and stretched it across the top, anchoring it with twist ties. That left only the top, which contains a nice fat bud. "Uh uh," I thought as I dug around for another cover. "This bud's not for you."
As luck would have it I still had one of those large party favor bags made of nylon that I'd used in an attempt to keep hydrangea buds from freezing. That didn't work out, but the perky little bags did deter rampant deer-munching. So now it looks like a little old lady with a shawl and a tiny head. Or Ichabod Crane's nemesis, the Headless Horseman, or at least the Semi-Headless Horseman.
The Magnolia is safe, but it sure looks sorry. It's a good thing plants don't get embarrassed.  
The best deer deterrents involve some type of fencing. You don't have to get anything fancy, but remember: you'll probably have to look at it all winter. So I'm trying to figure out how I can decorate this for the holidays.
To learn about other things you can grow, visit the other bloggers on the You Can Grow That website: