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Am I alone in finding little inspiration in the winter beds?

Or so I imagine, until I put on my galoshes and go out for a stroll. Oh sure, squishy mud O’plenty. But seems there are some wonders to behold if I don’t sit inside and sulk.

The Covid doesn’t help–though Bill and I consider ourselves darn lucky to be snug in our house with plenty of good food. It helps too, that we no longer have pesky day jobs (of the non-voluntary kind) demanding our attention. Sure, we traded years and years for this, but now, so sweet.

Here are a few winners in my Zone 8a/b Portland, OR, winter garden.

Pyrrosia hastata aka Three Finger Felt Fern


How’s this fern for one sexy plant?

Pined-for planter left behind in Bob Hyland’s Shop


This poor Felt Fern waited forever to be planted. And then Bob Hyland opened for a one-day flash sale. I’d been pining for this pot I’d left behind. Bob didn’t have to ask me twice.


A happy marriage. I love this planter.


I have several planters out there lonely and empty. Soon to remedied.


And Mahonia in wintertime. How do I love thee.

Mahonia fortunei ‘Dan Hinkley’


You can never have too many Mahonias. One of these days, I should count the ways.

On to the neglected hellstrip. It performs way better than I might deserve. Though there are plants to fit the bill. This is a good one.

Muehlenbeckia ephedroides flowering in October, though tag said summer-ish bloomer.


A few wider shots. This plant is in our narrow hellstrip and gets precious little water during the dry season. I gave it a Covid-style haircut last year, and it didn’t miss a beat, performing as if I were an accomplished stylist. Groovy.


Glossy evergreen leaves and winter blooming, what could be better?

Eriobotrya japonica aka Loquat


Finally got around to sticking my nose in a bloom. Lovely fragrance.

There are lots of good groundcovers out there. Though never enough. I’ll need more.

Trachelospermum asiaticum ‘Red Top’


I can’t stop buying Jasmines that scramble about the ground. Love them.

And plants with swagger.

Farfugium japonicum ‘Giganteum’


I have two of Giant Leopard Plants, both started from itty bitty 4″ pots. Big shiny leaves that have looked marvelous throughout our mild winter. If you’ve got the space, you need this.

To the back garden in the Hot Bed, south-facing with sun all day.

Yucca with no i.d. But good, no?


Megan gave me this Yucca years ago for Mother’s Day. I almost recycled when it got a little ratty looking, but saved in a last minute change of heart. Fingers crossed it stays spotless through winter.

And another, Yucca unmoored from its name tag, but purchased at a Big Box Store–which I rarely frequent. A fluke, but performing beautifully.



And finally, I’m letting this self-seeded Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ go wild. I suppose I could end up sorry, but it’s such a gorgeous plant–and I’d pulled everything else out of the bed anticipating a respray of some sort. It could turn out glorious. So we’ll see.

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’


What if they all get around to doing this? That wouldn’t be too bad. Come spring, fingers crossed.

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ heavenly in bloom–this last April.


In conclusion, check out your winter garden. Unless it’s snowed under. Then probably not.