January 28, 2010

A Winter Look At Trees

Some people might say that trees look prettier in the summer, but on a sunny winter day when the sky is azure blue and the ground is covered with clean white snow, the trees have an interesting look that I find very appealing. Thank you to the Green Bay Botanical Garden for sharing your trees with me. Susan, are you reading this? I hope so.

The Gable's Weeping White Fir is a slow-growing fir with drooping branches that give it a weeping appearance making it a good choice as a focal point in the garden or yard. And it's even patriotic.

The huge pyramidal shape of this Whitnall Silver Linden caught my attention. It's a popular, long-lived shade tree.

This  ornamental tree with cherry red fruit is the Anne E Weeping Crabapple. In the spring, the flower buds will be a deep red-pink and open to faded pink and white blossoms. The fruit turns a bright red in early autumn and persists into the winter.

Crabapple trees are a very popular tree in the Midwest. In addition to their beautiful spring blooms, they also provide us with visual interest the rest of the year with their textured bark, craggy branches and brightly colored fruit. The Ormiston Roy Crabapple in this photo has orange fruit although that's hard to see in the photo.

The day that I was at the Garden, the lights and decorations from the annual Garden of Lights event were being taken down and removed. This one was still up and reminded me of what a good time was had by all back in December.

January 21, 2010

Save The Karner Blue Butterfly

This is the ominous sign that greeted me at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary last night, but I didn't let it stop me from entering. The Northeastern Wisconsin Audubon Society holds programs there that are open to the public and on Wednesday evening Cathy Carnes of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service presented information on the Karner Blue Butterfly, a federally endangered species.

The Karner blue was federally listed as an endangered species in 1992 and it's rare to see them in most parts of the country, but Wisconsin is home to the world's largest population of this butterfly. The Karner blues have a wingspan of about one inch and the adult butterflies live only 5-7 days.

Karner blues can be found in seven states - Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, New Hampshire, New York and Ohio. These states have an abundance of open areas with sandy soils that support the wild lupine plant. The caterpillar of the Karner blue feeds exclusively on lupine leaves.

This photo was taken last summer and even though I own two butterfly identification books, I'm still not sure what species it is. My guess is a swallowtail of some sort.

I have a sudden urge to grab a butterfly net and run out into a field of wild flowers in search of butterflies.

January 14, 2010

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - January 15

In the fall, I remove all annuals and cut down all the perennials in my yard. This makes for an easy start in the spring because there is little or no clean up to be done. The problem is that then there's nothing sticking out of the snow to be photographed for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. So, off I went to the Green Bay Botanical Garden. Technically, it is my garden because I'm a member.

This bronze sculpture, Serenade, is in the Upper Rose Garden. It was a gift to the garden from the children of Marguerite and George Kress, as a tribute to their parents. Dee Clements was the sculptor. Morning Light Chinese Silver Grass swaying in the background.
In the summer, the Rose Garden is filled with colorful blooming hardy shrubs and hybrid tea roses, but on this January day rose hips provided the only color. Rose hips are the fruit of the rose plant and according to Wikipedia, rose hips are used for herbal tea, jam, jelly, syrup, beverages, pies, bread and marmalade. They are also high in Vitamin C.

Adam's Needle Yucca looks almost as attractive to me poking out of the snow as it does in the summer when it has a tall flower spike at the center of the plant that last for several weeks.

I think this particular grass is Karl Foerster feather reed grass. The foliage is dark green during the spring, summer and early fall and the flowers are pinkish in color. By late fall and into the winter, both are the color of wheat.

Do you know those beautiful Pinky-Winky hydrangeas that bloom in the early summer with cone-shaped white flowers that then turn to a pink color in August? This is how they look in January in zone 4.

This is the Nodding Wild Onion, a popular Midwestern prairie plant. In the summer it produces pale lavender flowers on a single leafless stalk and attracts honeybees.

This colorful frog sitting out in the snow made me smile. There is a special children's garden that includes a frog pond, but that's not where I found this one. It was sitting near one of the buildings where the classrooms are located.

As always, Carol at May Dreams Gardens, is our most wonderful hostess for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and I thank her for doing so. Please do go to her most delightful and informative blog and see how you, too, can join in on the 15th of every month.

I used the new updated editor for this post and it felt awkward and unfamiliar and it seemed to take me forever to complete the post. And I never did figure out what happened to spellcheck.

I'm posting this one day early because tomorrow is my dad's 86th birthday and I'll be busy preparing dinner to take down to him for the celebration. Be looking for me to visit your garden when I get home.

January 10, 2010

No Wimpy Snowman For This Family

Meet the Rougeux family from Neenah, Wisconsin. They have a snowman in their backyard that is 18 feet tall and measures 12 feet in diameter.

The photo is from the Appleton Post-Crescent and if you're interested in how the snowman was built, you can go here. The snowman was started in early December after the area received a 14 inch snowfall and it was finished two days before Christmas.

Frosty has his own Facebook page. It can be found by searching for The Snowman Project.

Now put on your snowpants and get outside and play in the snow!