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Garden Photo of the Day

Winter Wonders of North Dakota

Snow is beautiful, especially when you don’t have to shovel it

Today’s GPOD comes from Sandy Shumacher:
I’m from Bismarck, ND, supposedly Zone 4A.  I dispute that after 45 years of the demise of several Zone 4 plants.  This is my first contribution to what appears to be quite a comradery among GPODers.  I’m hoping we do have a white Christmas since all of our previous snow has melted due to nice weather.  Therefore, I thought I’d share pictures from my backyard from last year at this time.

The snow is so heavy on the Hetzi juniper it is arched over the gate mimicking its shape,

Back: Ure pear, Tolleson’s Blue Weeping juniper, a native Rocky Mt. juniper planted by the birds which I moved to this spot, Norway spruce.Front: Bourbon clematis, Russian sage behind Blanc Double de Coubert rose, Weeping Colorado Blue spruce, Filiformis arborvitae, Weeping Norway spruce.

Have a garden you'd like to share? Email 5-10 high-resolution photos (there is no need to reduce photo sizing before sending—simply point, shoot and send the photos our way) and a brief story about your garden to GPOD@taunton.com. Please include where you're located!

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  1. frankgreenhalgh 12/28/2017

    Hello Sandy - Lovely to see your first contribution to GPOD today. You are obviously a very well informed and competent gardener. Thanks for showcasing your winter wonderland. For somebody who hasn't experienced significant snow, the garden looks amazing - the last pic. of the table and chairs blew me away. Hopefully you had a white Xmas again this year - although perhaps not as cold as we (down in Aussie land) hear Pennsylvania is presently experiencing (hey Rhonda and Kev.). In contrast to snow white scenes, we have some nice flowers of native plants blooming at the moment. For example, today I noticed orchids flowering in the bush (native vegetation) around our property. They are pink hyacinth orchids (Dipodium roseum) - they don't have any leaves (i.e. no chlorophyll) and live off decaying organic matter in association with a fungus. Hence, they cannot be grown in cultivation. Hope this is of some interest to you, Sandy. Please keep contributing to GPOD. Cheers from Oz

    1. tennisluv 12/28/2017

      Lovely orchid, Frank. I was reading about the Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Miami, FL yesterday. They are propagating millions of native orchids for reintroduction into South Florida’s urban landscapes. To grow successfully the rare native orchids need a patch of tree bark with the proper species of symbiotic, microscopic fungus, which it appears is difficult to recreate now since the native plants have been decimated by orchid collectors. So, Fairchild is collecting the seeds, coddling them thru their first year, and now have volunteers, even schools involved in the final stage of development and then reintroduction into trees in their areas.

      1. frankgreenhalgh 12/28/2017

        Very interesting indeed, Sonya. Sounds like very similar symbiotic relationships involved.

      2. user-7008735 12/28/2017

        That's wonderful, Sonya! Sometimes it feels like we know more about the stars in outer space than we do about the mycorrhizae in our soil or the creatures of our deep oceans.

        1. frankgreenhalgh 12/28/2017

          Yes Lorraine - it is a new world in the rhizoshere. Our scientists in the CSIRO used to do some neat work on the rhizoshere, but funding cuts stopped that work.

      3. User avater
        Linda on Whidbey 12/30/2017

        This is also so interesting and encouraging. Thanks, Sonya.

    2. reubi 12/28/2017


    3. user-7007498 12/28/2017

      Gorgeous orchid, Frank. Warms my heart today, which is important since my body will be very cold. We are in a cold snap with highs around 20 F and lows around 10 F. It is supposed to be even colder on New Years Day.

      1. frankgreenhalgh 12/28/2017

        Stay warm, Kev. - 95F here!

        1. user-7007498 12/29/2017

          Rub it in, Frank. I just saw the extended forecast here. We are not going above 25F for the next 10 days. Now I am getting grumpy.

          1. frankgreenhalgh 12/29/2017

            Stay 'cool' Kev!

    4. Maggieat11 12/28/2017

      Interesting comments, Frank, and lovely orchid!! Does it have any fragrance? Thanks for sharing!

      1. frankgreenhalgh 12/28/2017

        No fragrance, Margaret.

    5. User avater
      meander1 (Michaele ) 12/28/2017

      Beautiful, Frank. Does such a variety of orchid usually show up as a single specimen or can there be a large grouping of stalks?

      1. frankgreenhalgh 12/28/2017

        Usually by themselves, Michaele.

    6. user-6536305 12/28/2017

      Wow, nice to see something other than snow covered garden which is all we have here. Is this in your property? Would is the lowest temperature in your area? Happy new year Frank!

      1. frankgreenhalgh 12/28/2017

        Hi Lilian - The orchid wasn't on our property. However, I have seen it on our place previously. We don't have snow, but get the occasional light frost in late autumn/early winter - so we enjoy outside living all year round. Regards, Frank

    7. User avater
      Vel Rhodes 12/28/2017

      Wow! Sure would like to be able to grow this!

    8. user-7008735 12/28/2017

      That is gorgeous, Frank! It's fascinating how plants have developed different ways to grow. We have some saprophytes native to the Pacific coast, but they don't have colourful flowers like yours. One (Monotropa uniflora) is called Indian Pipe for the shape of the flower or Ghost Flower for its lack of colour.

      1. frankgreenhalgh 12/28/2017

        Thanks for the info. and pic., Lorraine. Looks like this phenomenon is more widespread than I thought. I had better do some homework.

      2. User avater
        Linda on Whidbey 12/30/2017

        Lorraine, have you seen very many of those? We’ve only spotted one during hikes here on Whidbey. They’re amazing.

        1. user-7008735 01/12/2018

          Oops! Sorry I missed your question earlier, Linda. I have only seen them once on a hike up Mt Seymour behind our house. I think they are more common in old-growth forest and, of course, most of our area has been logged in the past. They are pretty cool. Plants have so many fascinating ways to grow.

    9. User avater
      Linda on Whidbey 12/30/2017

      Another amazing Australian Plant, Frank.

    10. Tana40 01/02/2018

      Thanks for your comments Frank. I'm sorry it's taken me awhile to respond, not computer literate, I guess. Beautiful orchid! I can only grow the big box models on my coffee table! Luckily we did end up with a White Christmas but not as much as my grandson from Arizona was hoping for. As to the table and chair picture, I took it from within the house so as not to disturb the pristine snowfall. Then I had to go out and shovel as the fenced area beyond the table and chairs is my Lhasa' s winter potty area!

  2. bsavage 12/28/2017

    Lovely! I live in Colorado and typically I've got similar scenes this time of year, but alas... no white Christmas for us this year. In fact, it's been over 50 degrees during the days. Thanks for sharing!

    1. tennisluv 12/28/2017

      My husband and I ski Colorado on a regular basis and love your snow. Some days we only ski a couple of hours and then spend double that just walking around enjoying the beauty that Mother Nature creates when she weaves snow thru the landscape.

    2. Garden1953 12/28/2017

      Hi Brenda,
      A little snow up here in Evergreen. It's nice to have the moisture and a little blanket for the gardens.

  3. tennisluv 12/28/2017

    Sandy, what a beautiful winter wonderland you have shared with us today. We get some snow in my area of Georgia every year, but nothing like this; a mere dusting in comparison. It is so pretty and fluffy looking. Do you know what the conifer in the third picture is? With the snow, it has, what my brother calls, a 'Dr. Seussian' appearance. I look forward to seeing more pictures of your garden in the spring and summer.

    1. Tana40 01/02/2018

      Sorry for the delay in responding, Sonya. I'm still trying to figure out this whole thing. The conifer is actually a combination. Bottom left front is a Froberg weeping spruce (only about 2 1/2 -3 feet high) which isn't actually that close to the Scotch pine in the center. And it looks like one of the pine branches is resting on the Froberg. That's actually my "blue" bed and is fenced because the bunnies find some of the blue flowers quite delectable!

  4. reubi 12/28/2017

    Lovely - thank you for sharing, Sandy!

  5. user-7007498 12/28/2017

    Good morning, Sandy. Thanks so much for jumping in and sharing pictures of your garden. Snow makes the landscape so beautiful, especially when there are interesting plants in the landscape. Well done. You will have to share some photos in other seasons. Keep warm.

  6. Maggieat11 12/28/2017

    Thanks for sharing, sandy! You have captured some nice images! Looking forward to seeing more photos as the seasons progress!

  7. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 12/28/2017

    Welcome, Sandy...looks like you made a dramatic entrance with such beautiful snow filled pictures. That's the real deal, deep stuff that makes everything seem so alluringly mysterious. Even the non weeping varieties of evergreens take on a graceful downward swoop...like the Hetzi juniper in your first photo. Hope you'll treat un to some scenes from your garden in other times of the year as well.

  8. user-4691082 12/28/2017

    Thanks Sandy. I always feel like the earth has a blanket over her when I see beautiful scenes like that. Send in some spring and summer photos! Happy New Year everyone!

  9. chelleisdiggin 12/28/2017

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful snowy pictures of your garden, Sandy. We're missing snow down here in Missouri, too! Though it is very cold, right now. The forms of your trees and plants under the snow are gorgeous. Please share again so that we can see them in all the seasons!

  10. anitaberlanga 12/28/2017

    Good morning, Sandy! I nearly spit out my coffee, laughing, when I saw this post! It's a wonderful 'find the beauty' contribution - and it is beautiful. Living in IL we get the same sort of snow, usually followed by a hard freeze that makes everything seem magical - until you have to go out in it. Hope you are able to stay snug!

  11. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 12/28/2017

    That heavy snow really highlights the evergreens that look like they give great structure to your garden. Snow *is* beautiful if you don't have to go out in it!

  12. Sheila_Schultz 12/28/2017

    Welcome to GPOD Sandy, and thank you for giving us the vision of your winter wonderland from a Christmas past! Snow can be so magical... especially when no shovels or broken branches are involved! I can almost hear the cracking of the ice...beautiful.

  13. user-6536305 12/28/2017

    Your garden looks so beautiful in winter and I could image how beautiful it would be in the gardening season. Send more photos of your garden please! Welcome to GPOD! Thanks for sharing and happy new year Sandy!

  14. Chris N 12/28/2017

    Thanks for sharing, Sandy. Sets the mood for winter. We had just enough snow in southern Wisconsin to make a white Christmas. Now we have to deal with these sub-zero temperatures for a while.

  15. User avater
    Vel Rhodes 12/28/2017

    So pretty and magical!

  16. Meelianthus 12/28/2017

    Beautiful snow photos Sandy. The trees are so magical, reminds me of scenes in 'The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe', your trees are beautiful. We get very little snow here in the PNW but this Christmas we did have snow on Christmas eve and day. Only about an inch where I live,. on an Island in Puget Sound, but still very pretty. I hope we will get to see photos of your gardens in the Spring as they seem very interesting. Thank you for posting to GPOD.

  17. NCYarden 12/28/2017

    SNOOOOOOW! A Winter Wonderland. Fascinating the new life a garden assumes with a blanket of snow...so surreal. Again, I rarely see snow, so it always holds a special appeal for me - I'm sure there are plenty of folks on here who would debate my "love" of snow with many good reasons. But, in the meantime...
    Very beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  18. user-7008735 12/28/2017

    Thanks for sharing and welcome to the GPOD group, Sandy! I love seeing pictures of gardens covered in snow as it highlights the structure of the plants and the layout of the space. I look forward to seeing some more photos of your garden in other seasons. Despite getting some snow on Christmas Eve and Day in Vancouver, BC, and a little more last night, I know spring is on the way! The bearded irises by my front door have an inch of new growth on them already.

  19. greengenes 12/29/2017

    Hi Sandy... These are beautiful photos! You have a very nice collection of evergreens! I would love to see them in the summer and fall! You guys are really cold back there. Kudos for you to do as well as you have! All so very nice! Thank you for sharing and we would love to see these beauties again!

  20. PerenniallyCrazy 12/29/2017

    Winter shows the beautiful bones of the garden and yours is no less than wonderful Sandy! Wishing you the best each and everyday of 2018.

  21. User avater
    Linda on Whidbey 12/30/2017

    Hi Sandy and welcome to GPOD. Great snow photos and rather unusual that you were without snow in Bismarck and we had a very snowy Christmas on Whidbey where we rarely see snow. It is, however, totally gone already with warmer temps today and rain. Your garden looks great even buried under snow so please share with us once it comes out of hiding.

  22. Tana40 01/02/2018

    Thank you, Jeanne. I'll try to take photos in both those seasons to post.

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