December 19, 2010

Dressed up for the holidays

We’ve had a bit of a warm-up in southern Wisconsin. Cold is relative, I guess. After suffering through days of bitter single-digit cold with below-zero wind chills, the high was a balmy 20°F today, with sunshine and next to no wind. It was warm enough for me to venture out with my camera for a quick jaunt around the garden. It was actually refreshing!

I thought I’d capture some shots of “festive” plants with red berries and seeds that really pop against the white snow.

Common Barberry (Berberis vulgaris), for example, sports particularly bright berries that are a popular food source for birds.

Cotoneaster (C. horizontalis) looks cozy, tucked under a canopy of fluffy snow. These branches are great additions to floral arrangements—particularly if you can catch them with green leaves intact and before they’re buried by snowdrifts.

Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) is another great addition to floral arrangements. It’s a striking companion to sprigs of Pine and Spruce, White Carnations, Pine cones and Red Twig Dogwood.

These are just a few examples of plants that provide nonstop beauty—even in the depths of winter.


  1. I have a Burning Bush in our backyard. Do birds eat the berries on the Burning Bush? I have seen birds eat the little pears in our Bradford Pear tree.

  2. McArtor: Yes, in fact there aren't many berries left on my burning bush. Good thing there are alternatives for the hardy little birds.

  3. Gorgeous winter photos PP. From Blotanical I see we live in the same zone and often, our winters look very much like yours. This year, we've been getting a reprieve tho and haven't (yet) seen those single digit (or below zero) numbers you're talking about. I totally agree with you on asking why you live in such a place during the winter months but spring and summer definitely make up. Your garden looks really, really beautiful.

  4. Thanks, Kathleen! I'm truly enjoying the exchange of information through Blotanical! I hope you won't have to deal with the subzero stuff. A little snow and temps in the 20s -- I can live with that, for now. Stay warm!