January 28, 2010

The Garden Before the Storm


The snow is on the way. Our local meteorologist is confident that we're in for a big winter storm. All you gardeners up in the snow belt, please don't laugh - seven inches of snow is forecast! That's a lot for a southerner.

We did the usual things that southerners do before a storm. We went to the grocery store and bought bread and milk just like we're supposed to do. My husband has the generator ready to go in case of a power outage. We're excited about snow, but if this front moves slightly, we could get an ice storm. That wouldn't be any fun at all.

I am convinced that we're in for a snowstorm because it was 60°F here today. The worst snowstorm that I can remember followed a 75° day. So, I took advantage of this warm day to do a bit of tidying up in the garden as well as sow a few cornflower seeds.

It's rather interesting to note how many perennials retain green basal foliage during the winter in zone 7 - achillea, western agastache, coreopsis, gaillardia, mums, nepeta, rose campion, shasta daisy, stachys hummelo, solidago and verbena bonariensis.

Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue' has just started producing buds and blooms. This little perennial is evergreen here in zone 7. Unless the snow sets it back, it will bloom vigorously through the end of spring, and sporadically through fall.

Rated for zones 4-8, scabiosa (pincushion flower) is a good, carefree, short edging plant. The plant in the photo is the oldest perennial in my garden. It is growing along my stream inside the cottage garden fence. I added several more along a path, only to find out that the bunnies will eat what they can reach. I will relocate the new plants to the same area by the stream, away from little bunny noses.

While scabiosa is not deer or rabbit resistant, it is a cheerful little perennial and a fantastic butterfly magnet!

If the snow comes, it will cover all the signs of spring. I will just have to sit inside and browse the big stack of flower and seed catalogs that arrived in the mail recently!

Scabiosa blooms in winter


Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel.

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Defining Your Home, Garden & Travel

Home, garden and travel tips by Freda Cameron

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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