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Observations in a Small Garden: Winter Pleasures

Articles: Observations in a Small Garden: Winter Pleasures

A Little and Lewis hosta leaf echoes the colors of hellebores (Helleborus x hybridus), Veltheimia bracteata, and Heuchera ‘Dale’s Strain’ at midwinter in the shade garden. Author’s photograph

As I write this, the crape myrtle (Lagerstroemeria ‘Muskogee’) outside my office window is aglow with the gold, orange, and scarlet of autumn. At its base is the first flower of a tiny, creamy white, petticoat daffodil (Narcissus ‘Taffeta’), given me by the late Wayne Roderick. Nearby, responding to just two inches of rain thus far, the green shoots on Watsonia aletroides are already three inches tall, and Aloe polyphylla has plumped up its fleshy leaves, which had curled inward with summer’s desiccation. It is only the middle of November, but these small events mark the beginning of winter, my favorite season in the garden.

Perhaps, as a recovering Midwesterner, I embrace the winter months in my San Francisco garden more than others do. Frozen soils in a Michigan winter would bring a complete cessation of outdoor gardening activities, a focus on miniature gloxinias under lights indoors, and hours spent poring over s...

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Articles: Calochortophilia: A Californian’s Love Affair with a Genus by Katherine Renz

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