Winterberry, Ilex verticillata, is a native deciduous holly. Its tiny white flowers appear in midsummer, and in the fall beautiful red berries add their color to the autumnal show. Winterberries are dioecious, which is to say that it takes a male and a female plant to create those bright berries. If you are adding winterberries to your garden it is important to order a male and female. Only the female will produce berries, but it only takes one male to pollinate 10 females.
Winterberries have become more popular and are no long difficult to locate. Proven Winners offers Berry Nice, which produces the familiar red berries. They suggest Mr. Poppins as a male pollinator. Mr. Poppins will not grow as tall as Berry Nice, but is a handsome shrub in its own right. Wayside Gardens offers Golden Verboom, hybridized by a Dutch nursery, which has beautiful golden berries – no surprise. They offer Jim Dandy as a pollinator.
The deciduous winterberry is native to northeastern America and is cold hardy to zone 3. The winterberry shown above grows in a thicket, in a boggy spot by the side of the road. The photo was taken in September when the berries were not quite red ripe. They remain after the foliage has fallen off and blown away, and until the birds have eaten the last one.
Winterberry. Good for the birds. Good for winter decorations. Good to brighten the season.
The weather outside is frightful 29 degrees, breeze and clouds.
Have to get the firewood in out of the snow.
The birch is weeping golden tears.
The holly with its scarlet berries doesn’t mind the wind and snow.
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The Sunday Record of the Bedroom View shows winter is coming in on snowy feet. The ‘first’ snow came and went in pretty quick order, and this overnight snowfall is slightly more substantial. Do you think it means we might have a snowier, wetter winter this year? I will take precipitation in any form. 35 degrees at 8 a.m.
How do you identify the first snowfall of the year?
I woke to 32 degree temperatures and a snow shower. but I don’t think it qualifies as the first snowfall. It is nothing like the October 29 snowfall of 2011. However, it does qualify as the prompt to finish stacking the firewood.
On February 25 I took a photo of the tulips I was forcing. This little pot of bulbs was clearly not developing at the same time. But even as the most advanced tulip began to decline, the others were just coming into bloom.
As I watched the decline of my tulips, the colors changing, the petals crinkling I was reminded of a practice at a meditation center I once read about. On the first day of a week of meditation a beautiful big bouquet of flowers was set out in the meditation space. Over the course of the week the flowers in the bouquet began to decline and shrivel. By the end of the week, many of the flowers would be very dead indeed. The point was a visual example of the change that comes with every moment, every day, in the world and in each of us.
Change is coming rapidly here on the hill. After a few days of daytime temperatures in the 40s, and a night of rain there is still a lot of snow on the ground, but the road is muddy. Fog is floating over the snow because the air is so much warmer than the ground. In just the hour since I took this photo the air has warmed further and the fog is thicker. The air is soft and damp. We are on the cusp of spring. The sugar houses are beginning to boil sap into sweet syrup. I wonder how bad mud season will be this year. The only thing I know is that it will not be like last year. Things are never exactly the same. Everything changes.
Outside snow is blowing across my hill.
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