Front & Side Gardens During
A Snowy Week in January
Although this birdfeeder is well under the eaves & mounted of a covered deck, quite a bit of snow blew onto the deck, to the annoyance of small birds who checked out the area as usual to find all but the hanging seed-bag impossible to feed out of.
From the deck we can see into both the back yard along the east side of the house & the south-facing front yard, & on a clear day we can see Mount Rainier in the southeast view over Sinclair Inlet.
This is a view of the southeast corner of the front yard as viewed from the front door's porch. The windy black line in the foreground is all that the camera captured of the leafless structure of the weeping green beech. The three tree trunks going right to left are a paperbark maple, a holly tree, & & a Douglas fir, with more of this Northwest native fir in the distant background.
The holly & the Douglas fir are volunteers that erupted in the garden, I'd guess, well over twenty years ago. The fir will likely someday have to be taken down as they are not deeply rooted & dangerous growing so near a home, but it's gone another decade or two of growth before it gets scarey, so for the meantime it is even as a young tree the dominant winter evergreen. The female holly, likewise evergreen, is just loaded with berries through winter.
The shade-garden surrounding the birdbirth & this whole area is completely hidden under snow. A few snow-crocuses were well-sprouted, but they will not be the least harmed by a few days under snow. Indeed the snow insulates early-sprouting bulbs & other perennials from the 20 degree F. temperatures we had through the nights.
This old choke cherry tree is situated at the southeast end of our front yard. The crossroad beyond the fence is completely unmarred by tires as this is the top of a hillside that was pretty imposing even if someone had tire chains, so for most the day not a single car was seen up that road, though the snow did become marred by the increasing numbers of childrens & even quite a few adults that arrived with sleds at that very crossroads to begin the long slide down our hill.
A photo from the street-side of the choke cherry, snapped a week earlier when there was a day of considerably less snow, can be viewed on the Choke Cherry page of the Garden Walk of Autumn Bark. We also had a good hard snowfall a couple winters earlier in 2000/2001, & the choke cherry is seen in longer view with more of that end of the gardened yard visible, on the page entitled A Happy Snowy Top of the Morn.
Continuing around the house from the choke cherry's corner we follow along the picket fence on the west side of the house, & once again see the street marklessly covered with several inches of snow.
Snow clings attractively amidst the branches of a deciduous azalea, which we call our "Western Flame Azalea" because it is a nameless hybrid of the western azalea (Rhododendron occidentale) & the eastern flame azalea (R. calendulaceum).
Some other photos of this same snowy day on the south & the east sides of the house can be seen on the Ed Goucher's Abelia page, on the page about our Douglas Fir, plus from a previous year's snowfall, the Adventures of the Cotoneaster Arbor is the story of repairing snowstorm damage at the south garden entrance.
Here again is a view of the west side of the house as seen from the second floor window, once again showing the markless evenly snow-covered street.
Few cars ever park on our street as everyone has their own off-street parking, & on the first day of snowfall virtually everyone decided not to try to leave the hill but just took the day off, so that instead of car-tracks in the snow we ended up with sled-tracks & ski-tracks, though by day two some people put on chains just to get down from the hill.
The roadside tree is a Turkish Hazel, & if you visit the Turkish Hazel link, you will see another snowy-day photo from a couple years earlier, as viewed from the street. The tree inside the fence is a sweet cherry, & the twiggy stems in the lower left hand corner are from a large Diablo Ninebark.
The flagstone path shown facing east through a shade-garden is not pictured on the same day after the same snowstorm, but a week earlier after a much lighter snow flurry.
The main plants visible on the left of this pic are an ultra-hardy evergreen Japanese Aucuba & a young Tree Fern, the snow not reaching them because of a large overhanging eave. The Tree Fern is not entirely cold-hardy for our zone but has done fine for several years, though come spring some winter-damaged fronds will need to be removed.
The main shrub visible on the right is an Oakleaf Hydrangea which though nominally deciduous behaves as a winter evergreen in our garden, there being extravagant behavior in their variety from strain to strain & condition to condition.
This is in the main a shade-garden, & many a shade garden dies to the ground in winter with nothing showing, but we've selected enough that is evergreen or has interesting bark to keep it lively even in winter. Much else of winter interest isn't captured in this photo. For instance, the warty bark of the Pacific Elderberry's multi-trunk has melded invisibly against the back fence. A winter-blooming corkscrew hazel stands at the sunny head of this corridor immediately behind where I stood to snap the photo.
Plus there smaller evergreen ferns, hellebores, & winter-blooming cyclamens spice up areas underneath the larger features. Some of the wintergreen shrublets are actually visible at the lower left of the present photo. Such as these make up for the the winter-vanishment of bleeding heart, hosta, corydalis, & such spring ephemerals as trilliums & bloodroot & dogtooth lilies.
Here's another shot of the shade corridor, taken after the actual snowtorm, & showing all the Akebia arbor at the far entrance. This week the flagstones are totally hidden. The wild Pacific Elderberry to the left of the arbor shows a bit better in this picture, as the narrow trunks rise above the six-foot fence & continue upward to the second story of the house.
Also within the shot, there are two espaliered evergreen cameleas still in bloom in January. One is called Showa-no-Sakae clinging to the wall immediately behind the Oakleaf Hydrangea, & its pink blooms can be made out in the photo. Nearer & immediately behind the little tree there is an an evergreen PJM azalea the leaves of which become increasingly plum-colored as winter goes along. The little tree in the right-hand foreground is a dwarf Alpine Fir which grows only about an inch a year.
This page has shown photos from three sides of the house. A separate page is restricted to portraits of Our Back Yard during a Snowy January.
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