Monday, 14 January 2013

looking at the green side...



....on a gray, drizzling and dull January-Monday at La Pouyette.

Nothing lifts the spirits like a glimpse of a flower in midwinter,

when that flower has the ravishing delicacy of a winter-flowering clematis


  'Wisley Cream'  
on the south wall of our guest house, next to the kitchen door.

Clematis Cirrhosa  
requires a sunny position, can grow up to 3-3,5 meter.


  Evergreens and a glimpses of flower 'out- and inside'...

Viburnum Tinus Laurustinus  

File:Viburnum tinus00.jpg
Viburnum tinus L.
Catalogus Plantarum
 by Jacob van Huysum, 1730

 Jacob van Huysum (c.1687 Amsterdam - 1740), 
was an 18th century botanical painter from the Northern Netherlands.

Viburnum tinus 
(Laurustinus, Laurustinus Viburnum, or Laurestine) 

is a species of flowering plant in the genus Viburnum,
belonging to the family Adoxaceae.

Laurus signifies the leaves' similarities to bay laurel;  
tinus means "tenth born".

It is a evergreen shrub (rarely a small tree) reaching up to 2-7 m tall, 
with a dense, rounded crown. 


The leaves are ovate to elliptic, 
borne in opposite pairs, 4-10 cm long and 2-4 cm broad, with an entire margin.
The flowers are small, white or light pink, produced from reddish-pink buds
in dense cymes 5-10 cm diameter in the winter.

 The flowering period is from October to June.
  The fruit is a dark blue-black drupe 5-7 mm long.

 here together with 19th century Périgordian confit pots

This popular evergreen shrub is widely cultivated for its winter flowering habit.
Several cultivars have been introduced by the horticultural trade;
mostly these are similar to the species, but with subtle variations in habit, leaf size or flower colour.

As it tolerates pruning well it is often sold as topiary specimens.


Nandina domestica

 commonly known as nandina, heavenly bamboo or sacred bamboo,
is a evergreen species of flowering plant in the family Berberidaceae,
native to eastern Asia from the Himalayas to Japan.


Despite the common name, it is not a bamboo but an erect evergreen shrub
up to 2 m (7 ft) tall by 1.5 m (5 ft) wide,
with numerous, usually unbranched stems growing from ground level.

The young leaves in spring are brightly coloured pink to red before turning green;
old leaves turn red or purple again before falling.
The flowers are white, borne in early summer in conical clusters held well above the foliage.
The fruit is a bright red berry 5–10 mm diameter,
ripening in late autumn and often persisting through the winter,
like here at our place.


Few hellebores are as magnificent 
during the coldest days of winter prior to blooming

like the

Helleborus foetidus,

known variously as stinking hellebore, dungwort, and bear's foot,
 a species of flowering plant in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae,
native to the mountainous regions of Central and Southern Europe, Greece and Asia Minor.

This hellebore is quite widespread and occurs throughout much of Europe,
it can be also found wild in many parts of France, especially on lime soil.

 An evergreen perennial, growing to 80 cm (31") tall and 100 cm (39") across,
with a thick succulent stem and glossy leaves.

 Though fairly common and readily available, 
it is perhaps one of the more under-rated hellebores. 

The foliage can be breathtaking when little else in the garden is visible. 
Also, despite its common name, it is not noticeably malodorous.


The drooping cup-shaped flowers appear at our garden in winter, and are pale-green,
later with a purple edge to the five petal-like sepals on strongly upright stems.
The flowers, typically for the family, contain numerous stamens
as well as up to ten nectaries which make them attractive to bees and other insects.
Each flower produces up to five (usually three) wrinkled follicles.

The foliage varies from bright green (even yellow-green) to very dark, almost slate. 
The leaves are deeply divided into numerous segments 
and are held horizontally along the stem, though the central leaflet is undivided. 
Leaflets are narrow and neatly serrated.  
If cut back, they are soon replaced with new growth. 
Like other caulescent hellebores, it is fairly quick (by hellebore standards) 
from seed to bloom, often blooming in its second year.

Though nice as a shrubby ground-cover or in groups, at around 2-2.5 feet high, 
the plant is particularly impressive as a single specimen when given plenty of sun. 

All and all it is an unmistakable plant and a welcome contrast to
garden hybrids and acaulescent hellebores.

  The Helleborus foetidus is truly an unusual, 
architectural plant for a shady and half-shady border
or woodland garden, or beneath deciduous shrubs,
where its evergreen foliage can be shown off in autumn and winter.

And certainly perfect for cutting and all kind of flower arrangement...

here simply in a French antique cast iron urn, Napoleon III., 1860-1870,
which remains some of its original green paint


Fatsia Japonica

Japanese aralia, castor oil plant, Family Araliaceae
Height & spread: 2.5-4m (8-13ft) high x 2.5-4m (8-13ft) wide
Full sun or partial shade, fully hardy

Fatsia gets its name from the word 'fatsi',
being close to the old Japanese word 'hachi' meaning eight.
This refers to the 7-9 lobes usually present on each leaf.

Fatisa japonica is a medium-sized evergreen shrub of open, spreading habit,
with leaves to 45cm (18in) in width
and clusters of small, creamy white flowers late in the year.
After the flowers come round black fruits.

This plant comes from coastal areas of Japan and Korea and is valued
for its tolerance of atmospheric pollution as well as its architectural foliage and habit.


 Helleborus niger


  also called Christmas rose

here together with a glass object
made by my Great Grandfather around 1900





Choisya ternata


...a small genus of aromatic evergreen shrubs in the rue family, Rutaceae.
Members of the genus are commonly known as Mexican orange or mock orange
due to the similarity of their flowers with those of the closely related orange,
both in shape and scent.

They are native to southern North America, from Arizona, New Mexico,
Texas and south through most of Mexico.

In its generic name Humboldt and Bonpland
honoured Swiss botanist Jacques Denis Choisy (1799-1859).

File:Funchal, Monte - Choisya ternata (Orangenblume) IMG 1974.JPG

An evergreen shrub with slender, glossy, dark green leaves,
and clusters of fragrant, pink-tinged white flowers in late spring.

But at our place
- depending on the temperatures -
it also starts flowering during the winter months. 

just coming into flower - here and there......

Choisya is ideal for the back or middle of a mixed border, 
and in hot summers it may flower again in late summer, even in a mild winter.
It can also be grown in partial shade as an attractive foliage plant. 
Although it's fully hardy, 
the leaves may be damaged by exposure to strong winds or frost.


"Bare branches of each tree
on this chilly January morn
look so cold so forlorn.
Gray skies dip ever so low
left from yesterday's dusting of snow.
Yet in the heart of each tree
waiting for each who wait to see
new life as warm sun and breeze will blow,
like magic, unlock springs sap to flow,
buds, new leaves, then blooms will grow."
  Nelda Hartmann, January Morn  


By the way....

I have certainly an affinity... lion's mask.....


 ....paw feet!


next post will be a preview of the

Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair, 

Decorative Antiques Textile Fair
WINTER: 22 - 27 January 2013

for all Antique-Lovers - stay "tuned"

until then...



2 days later... 

...on Wednesday - 16 January

..."looking on a white side"....





  1. Was für eine fundierte botanische Exkursion!

    Bei uns ist es auch so wintergrau!

    DANKE für die Wünsche!

    LG Franka

  2. Hi, Karin - Thank you for the winter tour of your garden. So much to admire! Just lovely!! Your Viburnum Tinus Laurustinus is really handsome. I love it's form. My hellebore plants are blooming now. I was washing dishes, and noticed them outside the window :) I will cut a few blooms to enjoy inside, as as you have.

    Look forward to the preview of the fair....wish I could be there!

  3. Hi Karin,
    I have hellebores all over the house, still blooming since before Christmas !!.... and your clematis is so beautiful .... what a wonderful plant to see in the garden in the Winter.
    I love every season .... there is always something beautiful going on no matter what the season is. XXXX

  4. Oh, one day I hope to live in a warmer climate and be graced by something like a hellebore in winter. Today on my trek through the snowy woods I saw a bit of green fern poking through an area where much had melted in today's sun. It felt like a gift and a promise, encouraging me to soldier on until April.

  5. Hello Karin

    I am enjoying this post so very much. Thank you for this. Your great-grandmother's art piece is a treasure and you use it artfully to enhance the arrangement.

    Wishing you a week of joy and looking forward to your next post and I will be returning to enjoy these arrangements.

    Helen xx

  6. Dear Karin, this was so much fun, looking at beautiful garden plants in the dead of winter here in Canada....I am having a love affair with hellebores right now, they are beautiful things!
    I, too find myself longing for the garden and flowers right about now, so this is the time of year I re read and peruse my gardening books. Glad to see you are of the same mind !
    Thank you for another lovely post, N.xo

  7. Dear Karin, Not fair, not fair at all. Here we are in the dead of winter with minus 32 Celsius and snow piled up high. Beautiful photographs, inside and out. Your photo of the confit pots reminds me of the fabulous Confit Canard you prepared for us in your, oh so very charming and historic kitchen. It was a most memorable evening and most wonderful visit. ox, Gina

  8. Many yars ago, I had a friend who made wine from the Nandina berries from her hedge.

  9. Karin
    We are having a terrible cold spell here in California. I am having dinner guests tonight and I went to my garden to see what I could find. I found a few rose blooms, fennel greens, lavender, viburnum and nandina. Your post was so apropos!

  10. Oh, some of those shrubs and plants are found in my backyard. It is a delight to have a few blooms and much green throughout the winter, never harsh along the Gulf Coast.

    I love your lion and dried hydrangeas!!


  11. Oh,oh,wie schön grünt und blühts bei Dir.
    Draussen schneits und ist bitterkalt.Winterliche Grüsse

  12. Hi are so right are so precious at this time of year..I especially love all the hellebores and they come so early to cheer the dark days ! I have a viburnum in a pot but I love the way yours is growing ..I never thought about shaping it ! Keep warm and cosy ! Gail x

  13. Your images are beautiful.....and it looks so cold. Hope your keeping warm by the fire!

  14. Flowers and snow. Snow and blooming.. When nature surprises us so beautifully , it's fantastic!
    For Corinth,for me, these happenings don't exist. Lucky you !

  15. Your green certainly lifted my spirits. Wonderful flowering plants, and simply the fresh green ---
    And then I smiled in acknowledging your P.S. --- where your landscape looks more like ours, snow-covered! I hope by now it is melted again.
    In my last shrub border in the Berkshires I had a "volunteer" (what we call a plant that comes by chance or accident, not by planting) that then grew and spread and I adored it more and more --- a Lenten hellebore.
    Happy winter, Karin!