A Cast of Seedy Characters

Clusters of seed heads adorn this Cephalanthus occidentalis in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer http://agardenforall.com

Clusters of seed heads adorn this Cephalanthus occidentalis (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

For those of us in seasonal climates where flowers only bloom about six months of the year, plants and shrubs with interest during the dormant months are crucial.  When limbs are bare and brown is the primary color of the landscape, evergreens can provide some form and color to an otherwise drab environment. But there’s another option for livening up your surroundings: shrubs and small trees with ornamental seed heads.  By sprinkling a few seedy characters around your property, the nearby plantings will be enhanced while often providing snacks for the local fauna through the difficult winter months as well.  Here are a few of my favorites to consider: [Read more…]

Orbs of Delight

A globe of petrified wood in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer http://agardenforall.com

A globe of petrified wood celebrates an anniversary (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Some of my favorite ornamental objects are orbs of all dimensions and materials. I have rugged granite balls in three sizes, glass globes that are blown with swirls of color, and mirrored spheres reminiscent of old mercury glass.  Most glass pieces are safe outdoors as long as you keep them up from the ground, so my globes often remain outdoors to be enjoyed as they glisten against the lush foliage of summer or glow with a dusting of winter’s snow. Orb groupings are very attractive; especially when partnered with low growing perennials such as lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina) or used to complement other round objects. I use granite balls near my circular bird bath to echo the soothing grey colors and textures of each, and recently celebrated my anniversary with a sphere of petrified wood. But what about living orbs . . . [Read more…]

Button Up

Buttonbush flower with antenna hairs in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer http://agardenforall.com

Buttonbush flower with antenna-like pistils (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

The first thing I think of when the white mid-summer pom-pom flowers of our native button bush emerge is Horton (of Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss) the elephant walking around with his microscopic community; all thriving in a fuzzy, miniscule orb atop a delicate stem.  Yet, no one in the jungle of Nool; not the kangaroos, not the monkeys, not even the evil vulture that snatches the tiny planet of Whoville from Horton and drops it miles away in an open meadow, believes that this little orb could be home to any living thing.  Perhaps I embellish with thoughts of a colony living in a flower head, but button bush does provide lodging and sustenance for a small population of our native fauna and insects . . .     [Read more…]