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November 24 In The Indiana Garden

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It is a cold, dreary day here in my Indiana garden – yet, I know I must put on my coat and head outside to wander through my garden – after all, if I do not go today, I may miss a garden treasure. November is an exciting time in my garden. Although it is cold – and we have already had some snow and heavy frosts, there is still something in bloom. In addition to being able to see what is blooming, there are flower buds forming and young seedlings germinating – yes, perennial seeds often germinate in the fall or over winter.

This morning I was greeted by the orange and red berries of the bittersweet I planted on a trellis right off the ramp. This particular trellis is also right beside the pathway that leads from the driveway to the ramp that leads to the front door, so everyone who visits us is sure to see the colorful berries all winter long – unless of course the birds eat them first.

Speaking of the birds, they love to sit on the branches of the bittersweet vine and sometimes even nest in the branches in the summer when it is covered in a thick layer of leaves. The birds don’t seem to mind the people walking past. I guess they feel secure enough knowing how hard it would be to see their nests if one were not looking for them.

As I wandered on down the curving path past the front of the deck, I took note of a few hardy phlox still in bloom – both pink and purple. The dried chive flower heads still held tight to some of the shiny black seeds they produced. Although I should have cut the flower heads off before they had a chance to set seed, I decided this year I would let them spread. Once spring arrives and I am removing massive amounts of chives from my garden, I may regret this choice. Until then, they do look lovely in the garden especially when they are covered in snow.

The next stop was the witch hazels. There are three in my garden. The common witchhazel that has not produced a single bloom or flower bud in the three years it has been here; Autumn Embers and Arnold’s Promise – both of which are prolific bloomers and have been since the second year they were planted. I can count on these bursting into full bloom sometime between January and February. They are still small – as they are slow growers – but I look forward to the time when they are large enough to be seen from the street. I am sure seeing masses of colorful blooms in the middle of winter will be a traffic stopper. Luckily the street I live on is not too busy.

The lungwort and daphne still held tight to their colorful leaves. The hellebore and arum leaves were protruding above the masses of leaves in anticipation of the exact moment when they would burst into bloom. In fact, a few of the hellebore were already sporting blooms and will continue to do so throughout the winter months.

As I continued walking through the garden colorful sedum blooms welcomed me. The seeds of the money plant – round and papery – gently rustled in the wind. The magnolia trees had small furry flower buds forming on them and the viburnum leaves were a lucious red color. Everywhere I looked there was life of some sort. I even saw signs of columbine seedlings growing in anticipation of spring.

As I began to climb the ramp heading towards the front door, my eye was drawn to the window boxes filled with pansies that are easily visiable from inside the front door. Their cheerful flowers in shades of yellows and purples danced in the wind. These plants will bloom on and off all winter as well and even provide early spring color before they fade.

As I entered the house, Bubba barked happily, the sounds of Boy George singing White Christmas greeted me and I knew I wanted a steaming cup of peppermint hot chocolate to knock the chill off.

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