Five things in our yard that I love right now

The near-constant gray skies and frequent rain these past couple of weeks have made me more morose than I like to be. It’s all too easy to focus on the ugly things winter brings to our gardens.

Today, as a reprogramming exercise, I decided to look for five things in our yard that make me feel good. This is what I’ve come up with, in no particular order.


Succulents: They don’t really change in the winter. They’re always beautiful, and we have lots of them. This is an Aloe marlothii that has doubled in size in the last two years. When it eventually blooms, it will look like this.

Still blooming: This Hot Lips sage (Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips') will probably bloom for another month, then take a break and start up again in late spring. It’s a real power house. Most flowers are red and white, but some are pure white, others pure red.
Soon to bloom: If temperatures don’t drop too much, I expect this flowering maple (Abutilon x hybridum ‘Souvenir de Bonn’) to bloom soon. There are quite a few new buds, and even some flowers. Of course if it gets really cold, it may die back, but today I’m only thinking happy thoughts.
101210_tropicals peartree
Tropicals still hanging on: My elephant ears (Alocasia macrorrhizos ‘Borneo Giant’) still looks good. The leaves are larger than ever, almost 2 ft. across and 4 ft. tall. The cold spell at Thanksgiving (27-28°F) didn’t faze it at all, but it’s protected by the house on one side and trees in front and behind it.
Citrus: Our Bearss limes are ripe—so ripe that they’re falling off the tree. Yes, these are limes even though they look like lemons. They start out dark green but eventually turn bright yellow.

Which five things in your yard do you like right now?


  1. I like this idea -- I'm going to have to do it for my yard sometime this winter. Although my list and photos are going to look *completely* different than yours. It's been a while since you've lived in a place with cold winters, hasn't it? ;-)

  2. Alan, I'd love to see what you come up with. This list is different for everybody, and it can change at any moment. One cold night, and the leaves on my elephant ears will be toast, for example, so they won't be on my list any longer.

    I haven't lived in a cold climate since 1997 when we moved in Davis. And I'm thinking Davis is too cold for me in the winter :-). Actually, right now (8:20am) it's 57°F so I can't complain.

    Loved your frost photos from this morning, by the way (, for everybody else).


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