Christmas mishmash

Embracing the chaotic aspect today. Lots of different topics as I sit here listening to the pouring rain falling on top of a layer of ice. Hoping it continues to warm up and melt, rather than the reverse. Looks like we are maybe in for a warm front with a good amount of rain. Very slick out there right now. Trapped again. Luckily we’re warm, dry, and have plenty of food.

Speaking of food, how about these delightful little sticky pumpkin rolls that I made from a recipe provided by Anna over at the Flutter & Hum blog. I’m surprised I was able to get them to look so professional. Color me impressed. I’ll be making these again.

Jacques knows what’s good this time of year. Sitting in the sun while it shines. The steroids have stabilized him quite a bit and he continues to enjoy a lazy cat’s life.

I missed December bloom day – just too blah after contracting Covid for the first time. The pain is over, but the fatigue still lingers. Still, it was refreshing to get outside in the sun a little bit before the 20F cold snap a few days ago. I found one last yellow Sternbergia lutea blooming. I have a feeling it might be regretting that decision right about now. It was newly planted this fall, so I am sure it’s poor little internal clock is off.

Beauty in the leaf spots on our native madrone, Arbutus menziesii, turning them silver, red, green, and purple just in time for Christmas. Throwing all taxonomic caution to the wind, I am tempted to rechristen this as the Poinsettia of the North. Blasphemy, I’m sure.

Nearby, I see evidence on the ground that the squirrels are still busy denuding my strawberry tree. They’ve cut off about a third of the branches on two bushes. Sigh. They left a couple bunches of flowers though.

Even worse was this. Something got in and nicked off almost every single one of my Notholithocarpus densiflorus seedlings to the ground. Nothing but little stubs left. I can’t tell if it was a rabbit, squirrel, or what. They even got a few other plants. Sigh. I am going to keep them around and see if the stubs bud out in the spring.

And one last bit of disappointing garden news. My rooted cuttings of Paxistima myrsinities seem to be dying from some sort of disease. Not sure if they don’t like our alternating freeze wet cycle or what.

Surprised to see a few last flowers of this bottlebrush (Callistemon subulatus ‘Hardy Red’) hanging on. Flowers on our rosemary (Roman Beauty) and Johnny jump-ups are pretty standard for this time of year though.

I’ve had my Agave parryi ‘JC Raulston’ covered up with a black pot for the past 2 weeks. Not willing to subject it to the vagaries of alternating rain and freezing weather. This is its second winter in the ground. Was very happy to see it is sending up a pup. I haven’t checked on my Agave bracteosa yet. I didn’t cover those with a pot and I don’t have any back-ups in the greenhouse in case they hate the weather this winter.

A few Cyclamen hederifolium blooms still holding on as well as one, lone red berry on my Ruscus aculeatus ‘Wheeler’s variety’.

I found a few fading flowers on our coyotebush, Baccharis pilularis. Plus, I see that I forgot to cut down the seedheads onour bronze fennel before winter hit. They are pretty, but there are going to be a multitude of seedlings come spring.

This time of year, there are many stems with leaves that are pretty enough to be flowers on their own. For example, Euphorbia wulfenii. These truly are the Poinsettias of the North…the right genus and the right change in leaf color from green to reddish-purple just in time for Christmas.

Another pretty Euphorbia, but without the color change (Euphorbia amygdaloides ssp. robbiae).

And, my favorite, Brachyglottis monroi.

Sedum spathulifolium looks great too, “blooming” its cheerful, purple rosettes of leaves.

Some sort of Mahonia x media hybrid. I bought it as a Mahonia eurybracteata ‘Cistus Silvers’, but it’s obviously not that. Just finishing up blooming for the year.

Iris confusa leaves cascade over a Japanese holly fern.

Backlit leaves of Persicaria ‘Brushstrokes’.

This is also the time of year when the leaves of Fatshedera lizei really shine. Awesome color change.

Backlit Nassella tenuissima. Someday, I’m told, I will regret this plant and its invasive ways. One of the few, short wispy grasses that has done well for us. Trying Nassella cernua from Xera Plants as an alternative further up slope, but it also seeds around.

The moles are active again. All this rain has them able to move about more easily as the clay loosens up from the added moisture.

Wet weather is also great for our native lichens, mosses, and liverworts. The apple trees change into their winter jackets.

Perhaps my least favorite color combination, the New York aster ‘La Reve’ is still blooming and creates an atrocious mix of bright pinky-purple, vivid yellow, fading green, and rustic brown. Yuck. I’ve photographed it to share the explosion of color wrongness with you.

L says this technically counts as still blooming, Erigeron glaucus ‘Sea Breeze’. Now you can see it too.

A few black-eyed Susans are still hanging out, including the little seed beanie left over from the flower I posted back on November bloom day (right).

That’s it. Here’s our festive Christmas blob made up of various dried and dyed cones, fruits, and fake greenery. Too lazy to go out and cut a tree in the frigid cold and rain. We didn’t even break out our usual boxes of Christmas decorations. Now that it’s Christmas eve, almost (almost) feeling a little guilty we didn’t do more. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, et cetera everybody. Stay well!

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Kris P

    I’m sorry to hear of your bout with Covid but glad to learn that you’re doing better now. You sticky pumpkin rolls are impressive! That Fatshedera lizei is a gorgeous thing. I hope the temperature continues to improve and that you enjoy a merry Christmas and a healthy and happy entrance into the new year.

    1. Garden Curmudgeon

      Catching up after a bit of a blogging break. The weather is great today, finally get to see the sun. Happy New Year!

  2. danger garden

    Glad you’re feeling better! I am so impressed by the buns! (I was going to say “your buns” but that sounds odd). The color on the Fatshedera lizei leaves is amazing, mine has never done that. Love the lichen tree shot! Merry Christmas…

    1. Garden Curmudgeon

      Merry Christmas and now, a Happy New Year!

  3. Anna K

    Ha! Good for you for making the buns, and glad you liked them. They look great! I made another thing over Christmas that I think you will like (it has lots of cardamom!) It’s a tweak of a Swedish Christmas traditional. IMHO, my version is an improvement, but traditionalists may disagree.

    I have the same issues with pink and yellow, but that magenta at least looks better than those regrettable Magic Carpet spiraeas. So wrong…

    Sorry to hear you got hit with Covid, but glad you’re doing better. I like your cone tower. For what it’s worth, we didn’t get a tree this year either, but I had fun making a couple of arrangements and playing in the kitchen a lot. To the detriment of whatever little waistline I have left – lol!

    1. Garden Curmudgeon

      I will check out your new recipe soon! Have you made cardamom rolls? Probably my one of my favorite bakery treats from Sweden, though there are many, many great ones. Happy New Year!

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