December 17, 2013


We all can become stressed during the Holiday season, trying to be perfect ( my big problem), driving everyone else crazy with to-do lists, things the bake before it is "too late", even trying to rather simple tasks such as getting t packages out to the post office can seem overwhelming - but sometimes, letting things go a bit, taking the time to appreciate the moments, can make a crazy time of year, much more bearable. I mean, who cares if there is a half of a Hubbard Squash frozen on the back porch - I mean, who knew that the temperature was going to drop to January sub-zero levels over-night? Sure, it was -5º this morning, and sure, I am having some nasty greenhouse heating issues, but we have so much to be thankful for - like the first flocks of goldfinches on our thistle feeders, bright violet calicarpa berries at the same time as red holly berries, even soft, white fluffy snow guaranteeing  a white Christmas here in New England. So…a few images from a walk in the garden on this snowy, December day. Just appreciating the little things, and who cares if I never got to make those wreathes. Maybe next year.

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Calicarpa berries along the perennial walk, still purple, most likely because they froze solid before the had a chance to turn brown, which they will, as soon as this deep freeze is over.

Our native deciduous holly, or Winter Berry - Ilex verticilata, along our front porch. It has never looked so good. Must have been the result of a wet, rainy summer.

The afore mentioned Blue Hubbard - ready to go out to the turkey coop for an early, winter snack. Half was roasted for pumpkin pie, the rest ( it was just too much for us to eat!) will be shared with the animals. Last night our temperatures dropped to -5º F, so our back porch, which acts as our refrigerator, is now more of a deep freezer. 

Lydia and Fergus' puppies! Three girls left. Their brother flew off to Amsterdam last weekend.

Goldfinches are everywhere this winter, and not only on our thistle feeders. These are enjoying some sunflower seeds.

Tom ( our not so creatively named turkey) and Rebecca wait for some corn, as I shovel my way out to the coops.

Some more traditional looking holly, in front of a very frosty greenhouse this morning.

Who needs to put up Christmas lights when light snow on the bright, golden-needled evergreen like Picea  orientalis 'Skylands' looks like this?

This river birch was planted by me in 1979, it is now nearly 8o feet tall with a trunk diameter of nearly 24 inches. Sure, it is planted too close to the foundation, but it is still quite solid.

The alpine troughs are asleep, for a long, cold, winters nap. Only some foliage from a Pulsatilla remains.

In the greenhouse, a tropical rhododendron ( alpine form from Borneo) blooms for the first time. These high elevation cloud forest plants seem to thrive in the cold, damp conditions of my greenhouse.


  1. It's all so beautiful! The first snow always looks so magical.

    1. Thank you, Cynthia. I have to admit it - I love snow!

  2. Anonymous9:38 AM

    Beautiful photos Matt. The puppies make my heart skip a beat and the snow! Merry Christmas!

  3. sorry i'm late here - but how gorgeous it all is. and so glad it's not just me freaking out over tiny details.

    i'm not a lover of winter but i love visiting it via your site. and those puppies!!!!

    1. Thanks Mlle Paradis! How if Paris? I miss your notes - I too will need to journey over to your site and see what's new! Happy Holidays!

  4. The most wonderful detail may be your foundation wall. Gorgeous as well as historic!

    1. Thanks Ms. Wis. I know, right? I love that foundation partly because my grandfather helped build it in 1910, but mostly because all of the rocks came from our property. Of course - it sure would be nice not to have a dirt floor in the cellar!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing these great shots! I live in Charleston, South Carolina- and I definitely daydream about having beautiful snowy days around Christmas time, I'll just live vicariously through these pictures… :)
    Merry Christmas!

  6. Great photos, as always. I LOVE that birdhouse!


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