With the mild winter we have had it has been nearly impossible to get any good shots of my garden with snow surrounding the plants. Now here in March we finally had a nice slow snowfall and a mild day to get out and take some shots.  Enjoy, because these are the only shots I’m going to have, as Spring is right around the corner!

DSC05991Twilite Prairieblues(™) Baptisia is a perennial that could be considered a sub-shrub. It can grow up to 4′ tall in one season and has great structure like a shrub would. However, each spring you have to cut the plant back, and it starts over. Baptisia are legumes, thus they fix nitrogen in the soil. The purple flowers are followed by a black seedpod which is attractive so no need to deadhead.  Baptisia are a great perennial for the mixed border as they have multi-season appeal without much maintenance.

Here the Baptisia is almost in full bloom behind a dark purple bearded iris.  However, this was supposed to be a post about Winter, so I better show some more of that!

Sedum with a nice coating of snow make perfect faux ice cream cones as Claire pointed out to me as we were taking our walk around the perennial border.  Winter might be my favorite time of year to see a Sedum.  They stand up on such sturdy stems and provide a great outline against the snow and frost.

The plant on the left here is Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium).  It is one of the most unique Iowa Natives I have planted.  It has a very unique ball-like flower that stays and dries to this awesome scape. The plant on the right is Queen-of-the-prairie (Filipendula) which is much more delicate, but also a great addition to my Nativesque garden (not all the plants are true natives).

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This Nativesque bed has lots of different flower and foliage colors from spring to fall and the texture in the winter is also amazing!  This is why I am a firm believer is spring clean-up.  Can you imagine how boring this bed would be all winter long without these great plants?

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Even the delicate foliage of ‘Zagreb’ Coreopsis looks good with snow on it.  This bed has a front border of this strong stemmed perennial with delicate foliage that blooms golden yellow in the summer for at least three weeks.  The Coneflowers, Sedum, and Anise Hyssop also add great texture all winter long.

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This picture was taken after a heavy wet snow we got in February.  I thought this ‘Nippon’ Miscanthus was done for and would lay flat the rest of the winter.  Much to my surprise it popped right back up and the March snow didn’t affect it at all.

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It would have been a shame for this to stay flat, even if it’s going to get cut down here in a few weeks.  The two plants really do a nice job of anchoring this bed in front of our greenhouse.  The only time of the year this look bare is right after the grass gets cut down, till about the first of June when the grass really starts getting some height to it again.

DSC_0502This row of ‘Northwind’ Switchgrass also took a beating from the wet snow in February, but like the Miscanthus, sprung back up and was hardly hurt by the March snow. These plants are getting to be a great size, but will have to be moved this spring. Hopefully they will transplant and divide easily so I can use this great selection in more places around the farm.

Possibly the best part of winter is playing in the snow! I’m glad the kids got a little of the white stuff to play in, as this was Nolan’s first winter to enjoy it!.  I was also glad when just two days later, this is what we were left with:

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Bring on SPRING!!