Six on Saturday – 16/11/2019 – first snowcover

We had a bit of a reprieve yesterday and Thursday, with temperatures several degrees above freezing, which led to much of Monday’s snow melting. It’s minus 11 right now, though, so very happy to have taken these pictures yesterday, even though it was VERY grey and windy. Could be worse though, eh? This is kinda normal for us (although Monday did set snowfall and cold records all over southern Ontario), unlike the weather I’ve read about in other parts of the world and even in the southern U.S. The silver lining to snow on the ground is it brings an abrupt halt to most ‘gardening’ activities, allowing time for other things, like organizing seeds that were collected earlier in the fall, cleaning tools and, oh yes, reading a book or two.

Here are six things in my garden; to see other, non-snow related, sixes from around the world, you might visit The Propagator’s site.

1 – The last rose petal is on the Kordes grandiflora Crimson Bouquet.’ The never-to-open buds on the featured photo here is from the Kordes floribunda ‘Friesia’ – both were beautiful in their second year in my garden, but not performing to expectations. More on that in a later post, I think.

two red rose petals clinging to a bud;snow in background

2 – A week ago today, with no snow on the ground, there was a scattering of brave little cobalt blue flowers appearing in the Veronica ‘Whitley’s Speedwell.’ The whole patch of this lovely groundcover was buried in snow on Monday, but by the end of the afternoon yesterday there were a few green sections showing. The flowers, unsurprisingly, are a tad shriveled.

3 – This Thuja occidentalis ‘Rheingold’ has been a slow grower, spreading only a few inches a year, it seems, but its golden foliage and mounding shape offer a nice contrast in summer to the taller, greener shrubs around it and, in winter, to the snow.

golden foliage of a low, mounding cedar, half buried in snow

4 – This is the time of year when Sedum spectabile, most of the year so attractive, looks a bit icky (that’s a botanical term, right?). The leaves are pale and mushy, the flower heads like brown bristles. Still…

Tall Sedum spectabile, not looking very attractive

5 – I don’t have many shrubs that retain berries in winter (I’m not counting the dreaded Buckthorn – Rhamnus cathartica); I need to try and rectify that. The birds might appreciate it. One shrub I’ve planted here and there that does have berries is the Snowberry – Symphoricarpos albus. The berries, if not eaten, will soon begin to shrivel and fall.

white berries on the deciduous shrub Snowberry

6 – Finally, Solomon Seal is possibly my favourite woodland perennial. Tough, grows in shade and in very dry conditions, pretty flowers in spring that bumble bees adore, and in fall, the arching stems and the leaves turn a lovely golden brown. I brought a small pot with me when we bought this property and I’ve been spreading it around ever since. Here is what a small patch looks like right now. It’s next to the driveway.


  1. Snow. not here! I do love the Rheingold and had those when living further north. Though some (Thuja) actually grow here, which seems weird. Love the pictures, I seem to forget what frost does to the garden and they made me remember I love the hush of snow.

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  2. I also love the peeling bark in the sedum photo, which doesn’t look icky at all to me. However, if they’re mushy, icky is absolutely the correct term. I’m not at all a fan of Solomon’s Seal, but mostly because the caterpillars eat it here, which I don’t think you have a problem with? However, that photo is wonderful, as are the 2 of the roses. In our climate, the snowberry propagates like mad, so quickly becomes a bane unless you want a huge swath of it. How does it do in your climate? I do love it, despite its tendencies, but also spend a lot of time eradicating seedlings. I don’t at all miss the heavy snows of the mountains where I used to live, but you do bring out the beauty of it in your photos. Welcome winter!


    1. I’m lucky enough not to have experienced (yet) the dreaded Solomon Seal Sawfly…thank goodness!! I planted snowberry because I remembered it from when I was a young child, living in British Columbia. It hasn’t spread in my garden, by seed anyway, although I’ve noticed it spreading via roots. I think. Perhaps the new branches are from seed! At any rate it hasn’t been a problem and since it grows in dry shade I like it! (Our early snow has melted!!)

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  3. I had to look up Symphocarpus albus real quick, to see what the its range is. I was surprised to see it in your garden. I though it was only endemic here. There is some of it at work. It is nothing to show off, but I think it could be in the right situation. There is some in one of my gardens that I might dig and relocate to where it could be appreciated.
    Sedum spectabile is grown only for flowers and summer foliage here. There is no snow for it to contrast with in winter, and it looks too icky through winter to bother with. I just cut it down before new grows starts to regenerate.

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