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Garden Photo of the Day

Winter and summer friends in Beth’s garden in Iowa

Monday, March 2, 2015

Today's photos are from Beth Zakrasek in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We visited Beth's garden for an entire week back in 2013–that's how amazingly awsome it is! (Refresh your memory HERE) Today she's back to introduce us to some of her friends. She says, "Warm greetings from snowy Iowa! We had a huge snow last week and the birds were thrilled to have full feeders. The birds are my “colorful blooms” in the winter. The squirrels and the birds love the crabapples and enjoy them all winter. Here are a few shots of some of these friends, and I included some summer shots of some of the same views as a fun contrast. I always love to see the winter photos when it is July, hot and humid, and then gaze at my summer photos when it is 10 degrees outside and a white wonderland. Spring is around the bend…
      Question: I lost one of my clematis vines to wilt this past summer. I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions about this problem and what to do…?" Beth, you've reminded me that I really do need to get a birdfeeder–I've been meaning to for YEARS!! All of your visitors are beautiful, and they really do act the part of colorful flowers in winter, don't they? I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say about clematis wilt…

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  1. Nurserynotnordstroms 02/28/2015

    Well that was fun Beth,the lovely photos of both seasons was interesting and very enjoyable,I love the contrast of the dead stalks and snow verses the sunny bright colors of summer. The blue birdbath is the most perfect compliment to your landscape,the color becomes a great focal point and you must love how bright and cheerful it looks. I am a bird watcher and I wish we had the beautiful red Cardinals. I went to my sisters in Baltimore and I said I wasn't leaving until I saw a Cardinal. Sadly my vacation ended and I never saw one. I called my sister to let her know I had made it home safe and she said you'll never guess what I'm looking at out the dining room widow,yep a beautiful cardinal. Darn just missed it,but I just recently got to see one yippee. Beth you get to look at a whole bush full of them,and you snapped a great photo. Our squirels are different than yours,he's a cutie. Lucky you to have so many critters to share your snowscape with. You brought happiness to my day by sharing these photos,thanks so much Beth.


  2. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 03/02/2015

    Hi, Beth, that first picture is right out of my imaginary book of dream garden vignettes...charming birdhouse sitting atop a pole that is drenched in flowers...and a favorite bird staking his claim to it. Do you happen to recall the name of the clematis that is so bountiful with its purple blooms?
    I have never seen a flock of cardinals as numerous as the one all spread out in your winter bare tree. It's fascinating how well camouflaged the females are.
    How nice that your blue birdbath is made of a material that can stay out in the winter. It really does provide a wonderful pop of color.

  3. PerenniallyCrazy 03/02/2015

    Wow Beth, your garden is not only dreamy and gorgeous, it is all so FULL of life. I love it that you've posted both summer and winter photos here. The juxtaposition of both beautiful and opposite seasons makes me swoon over your garden even more. I do hope this will be the first of many photos that you will be sharing with us. Please do share your gardening and wildlife secrets as well.

  4. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 03/02/2015

    Thanks for sharing your garden again, Beth. It really is funto see the same scene in different seasons. Love the birds. The red headed woodpecker is one of my childhood favorites.

  5. NCYarden 03/02/2015

    Good morning, Beth. What a happy series to see today. I too am a prolific bird feeder, and also finally got a snow, which I really love. I made sure the feeders were full and enjoy just staring out the window and watching the birds endlessly it seems at times. Brings a smile every time. A simple way to lift the spirit, and definitely cheap and easy entertainment. Birds are such a grand addition to any garden. Thanks for sharing, and I love that clematis on birdhouse by the way. And regarding wilt, I have noticed it a couple of times on a few of my varieties at times, I would assume because of NC's lovely humidity. I have cut off the affected stem/vine pretty far back. It seems to work, as I have not lost the entire plant...yet.

  6. wGardens 03/02/2015

    Wonderful! Think I'd have trouble getting much done each day... such an enjoyable time watching the bird activity! Here, I've never seen more than 2 cardinals at a time, though friends 15 miles away have had as many as 7 at once. Thanks for sharing!

  7. hortiphila 03/02/2015

    Beth, birds add so much to the winter landscape with their flashes of colorful feathers. Thanks for posting. Sorry to hear about your Clematis, I too have lost clematis to Clematis Wilt. Through the Master Gardener Program I've learned to plant deeply and choose small flowered species, especially those of the viticellia species group. http://hyg.ipm.illinois.edu/article.php?id=95

  8. greengenes 03/02/2015

    Love your little "bird" flowers! This is a true concept for the winter snow for sure! Sorry to hear of your loss with the wilt. We have never had that problem here in our gardens so I really don't know much about it. I will now though. I looked back at your photos of 2013 and they were great too. I would love to see the sun garden in bloom! Oh and I so love the color of your house! Beautiful wood siding. Thanks for sharing with us, Beth! Happy new day! And yes, spring is almost sprung!

  9. lynn_felici_gallant 03/02/2015

    I love the description of birds as winter's flowers, Michelle. They are as beautiful, as is depicted in these pics from Beth's garden. Thanks for the share, Beth.

  10. terieLR 03/02/2015

    Good morning Beth. No wonder the feathered friends have claimed your property a sanctuary! I remember well the post from 2013 as I ooh and ahh once again over your beautiful gardens, paths, containers and critters. I was happy to see that red-headed woodpecker. I have seen one only once in NY. Just this weekend we spotted, for the second time only, horned lark here along our driveway. I am hearing the song of Cardinal, titmouse and house sparrow lately. Come Spring, come.

  11. Sheila_Schultz 03/02/2015

    Thank you, Beth, for giving me the Cardinal fix I have been needing since we moved to CO! Living in IL for most of my life I took them for granted, it didn't even occur to me they didn't travel this far west. The term Winter Wonderland seems so appropriate for your beautiful property.

  12. HelloFromMD 03/02/2015

    Hi Beth, I am growing around 40 clematis these days. If the problem is wilt, then the clematis should be removed as it periodically get the disease. You can do a fungicide drench to try to prevent it, but there are so many great clematis why bother. I grew one of the worst wilters, Henryii. Struggled for 4 years and finally replaced it with a small flowered one, Pagoda. Many years ago our public library carried a book on combining Roses and Clematis. The author did 2 lists of the top resistant and the top wilters. Top resistant are Hagley Hybrid, Ville de Lyon, Gypsy Queen, Comtesse de Bouchard, Perle d'Azure, Huldine, Margot Koster, Margaret Hunt, and the viticellas. Perle d'Azure is very susceptible to powdery mildew so I don't bother with that one. I grow most of the resistant list and they have never gotten wilt. The worst ones for wilt are Henryii, William Kennett, Duchess of Edinburgh, Mrs. Cholmondeley, Lawsoniana, Countess of Lovelace, Vvyan Pennell, Mrs. N. Thompson. It is speculated that it was crossing existing varieties with C. lanuginose from China that introduced wilt. So if I see that a clematis has part of its parentage from C. lanuginose, then I seek another one instead. There are wonderful new ones from the Polish breeders such as Polish Spirit, so keep an eye out for them. Pink Mink is a new one that I will snap up if I run across this spring, bred by Szczepan Marczynski,.

    1. User avater
      meander1 (Michaele ) 03/02/2015

      Thanks for such detailed info on the wilters and non-wilters, HellofromMD. I think I have at least one wilter and its name is Patricia Ann Fretwell... although, perhaps, I am the one at fault with where I have it planted. It puts out a great bloom but then the leaves go black and the vine dies. My habit so far has been to cut it back to the ground and clean up all the leaf debris but maybe I should just dig it out and start over with a different variety. You've got me thinking!

    2. greengenes 03/03/2015

      Thankyou MD! I will save this wonderful list of does and donts when buying these beautiful climbers! There are so many great ones I think one would never be able to grow them all in a life time! Thanks again!

  13. GrannyMay 03/02/2015

    Lovely! I too feed the birds and love to watch them through all the seasons. Thanks for sharing yours, Beth. I miss seeing and hearing the Cardinals, one of my favourites when I lived in Ontario. Wish I could help with the clematis problem - sounds like trying resistant varieties is the best advice.

  14. Schatzi 03/02/2015

    What a wonderful nature preserve you have created, Beth. I went back and reviewed the 2013 pictures - gorgeous in any season. I love all the wildlife and the beautiful birds and the fact that it is all so healthy because of the way you garden - sans chemicals. I am so jealous of the cardinals and tanagers - we don't get them out here in the PNW. Thank you to Hortiphila and HellofromMd for the info on clematis and wilt - good to know.

  15. Meelianthus 03/02/2015

    Hello Beth ~ I have really enjoyed your winter bird pictures so much. We don't have a lot of birds here in the winter, although I always have the feeders full. They can be so entertaining. I clicked back to your past garden postings and reminded myself how beautiful your gardens are, summer and winter, you have done so much on the years you have been on your property and your love of gardening certainly show. Thanks for the trip.

  16. user-7007327 03/02/2015

    Your colorful dinner guest have a feast. Love the rush by the wonderful blue bird bath.

  17. JaneEliz 03/02/2015

    Beth, I love thinking about your birds as winter flowers. Your photos are lovely and bring joy like the birds on this winter day Esp. love the one of the lush clematis draping beneath the large house feeder. I, too, am driven crazy by the wilt. Unfortunately in never quite kills the clematis so I cut them back and let them stay and try to buy types that do not get wilt. However, being a rather addicted clematis grower, too often, I see and purchase an irresistible 'beauty' on the wrong list! I appreciate the list I will try to be smarter!Thanks!

  18. user-7007076 03/02/2015

    I'm curious how you've managed to keep your birdbath outdoors in the winter without it cracking. Are you very careful to make sure that any melted snow is poured out or is the smooth gloss glaze surface of stoneware birdbath enough to prevent cracking? From an envious MN gardener ;)

    Lovely gardens! Thanks for sharing :)

  19. fromvirginia 03/03/2015

    Simply beautiful and that first picture just draws you in. Love the cardinals. Is that stone edging some of the beds in the summer picture (#6) and is it a paver?

  20. thevioletfern 03/03/2015

    Oh, so beautiful! The only downside (if you could even call it that), migrating to warmer FL was leaving my birds behind - especially for a record breaking cold February! Although I have lots of native plants with berries and seeds planted specifically for birds, one of the first things I will do when I return home is fill all the feeders, put out peanuts, and turn on the heated bath (which I'm thinking I'll still need). I have a new birdhouse to put up as well. Birds have always been my "winter flowers," too. I just read something about Clematis wilt but dang if I can remember where! I would ask google.

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