Hello fellow readers,
Miss Ellie learned to flail her tail by the door where the ribbons of bells hang, making a sound like a reindeer making a landing. The bells are right next to where we stash her biscuits. Ellie’s cleverness earns her a treat. Fluffy snow and frigid temps greet us the morning of this write. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
The fresh snow enticed a quick cross-country ski around the yard with Miss Ellie running by my side. I noticed the rhododendron leaves are curled, protecting themselves from transpiration – water loss. Thankfully I sprayed them with an anti-transpirant to prevent dehydration, which can cause die-back and an unsightly period of recovery. It’s not too late to protect your broadleaf evergreens but wait until the next dry day over 32 degrees to spray them with a natural resin such as Wilt-pruf.
Just as I grabbed the shovel to clear the walk, Ellie grabbed a ball from the two sitting in front of the angel figure below the viburnum Sara used for respite during hot afternoons. Ellie’s ball-playing is sporadic and not nearly as skilled as my ball-aholic, but it brings a smile when she brings me one of Sara’s commemorative balls for a few tosses.
We stopped for a posed shot in front of the weeping hemlock planted in memory of my soulful twin Bill who passed just before Christmas four years ago; hard to imagine how fast time has gone by. There’s solace in imagining that Bill and Mom, who died in January, are now together with dear old Dad. Still, I miss our Christmases caroling behind the piano. I decorate Bill’s weeping hemlock each year with a big red Christmas ball. I love how Tsuga canadensis pendula’s weeping form compliments the wispy Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’) planted in the nooks and crannies of the rock garden. It’s my favorite ornamental grass, especially dry in its golden glory. Japanese forest grass doesn’t flatten with the weight of snow nor requires cutting back. The new growth will push out the old come spring. You can take a soft rake to help the shedding along, but bringing in the new comes easily.
After the photo moment, I hung a gifted wreath from dear friends adorned with cypress branches, pinecones, and sprigs of sage. Then moved the undecorated stand-in and hung it above the covered footbridge over the pond, adding a few stems of berried holly to gussy it up. It could use a red bow, but the one I had handy was classified as trash, per Curt. It did look worn but served many years decorating the wooden sled left behind by the previous owners. I often wonder if the sled is sturdy enough to ride down the front yard (or am I ?…smile), then think a rocky landing in the brook below may be too risky.
For most of us, the holidays bring reminiscences that trigger a longing for years gone by. I pray you find comfort in going home for Christmas in your most beautiful memories and dreams. Merry Christmas. Garden dilemmas? Garden Dilemmas? AskMaryStone@gmail.com (and now on your favorite Podcast App.)
Column updated 12/20/2020
I invite you to click through to the story about Ellie’s Living Christmas Tree.