Garden Photo of the Day

Snowy Saturday in Pennsylvania

Sunset on Sunday after the “Big Dig”

Kevin Kelly shares his snow day from the big storm this past weekend!

"I live in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and we just had a record snowfall at 30.2 inches. Much of the garden is buried, but there were still a few interesting things in the garden. Most of my gazing balls were buried, as well as many of the perennials. A number of grasses came through like stars. I have many dwarf conifers that are currently buried. Hope you enjoy."

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Panicum virgatum “Northwind”

Gazing ball on 30 inch stand

Bluebird house with a green roof (with white fluffy hat)


Cryptomeria japonica “Black Dragon”

Buried backyard perennial beds

Dwarf Japanese White Pine (20 years old)

Hydrangea paniculata “Limelight”

Schizachyrium scoparium‘Standing Ovation’ (Little Bluestem)

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  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/27/2016

    It's fun to see how plants and objects in the garden can take on a different look or personality when decorated by ample clouds of snow. Your pictures are quite lovely, Kevin...and yep, that's definitely a lot of snow!
    ps By the way, I just bought a cryptomeria japonica 'Black Dragon' this past spring and am currently using it in a container grouping. How tall is yours and how long have you had it in the ground?

    1. user-7007498 01/27/2016

      I planted this one 10 years ago. It is now 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Growth is slow and dense. Easy to prune. Looks great year round. Covered with hundreds of small cones.

      1. sheila_schultz 01/27/2016

        Kevin, does Black Dragon always have this many cones? It's a crazy amount, the devil squirrels around here would destroy the tree quickly!

        1. user-7007498 01/27/2016

          Yes. As it matures 5+ years, the cones form extensively. I have never seen squirrels go after them, since they are so small. It is actually very pretty.

          1. sheila_schultz 01/27/2016

            We have particularly voracious squirrels in our neighborhood unfortunately! They have girdled all of our aspen + others, so we have lost 10'-15' off the tops of those left... then the kicker was when they chewed the base of a young Japanese Maple and took the whole tree to another yard! Like I said... they're little devils!

          2. User avater
            meander_michaele 01/28/2016

            Oh, Sheila, they flat out stole a Japanese maple from your are being very restrained in your language by only calling them "devil squirrels".

          3. sheila_schultz 01/28/2016

            I looked out the kitchen window one day last winter and something seemed odd... I figured out what it was, stormed outside and my tree was missing! Really! Missing!
            Our tree guy swears it's only our neighborhood squirrels... they have been taught to torment the humans over the generations! Won't help to move/kill them since their cousins will just take over their territory!

          4. user-7007498 01/28/2016

            Wow. Talk about aggressive squirrels. I would be pretty frustrated. Maybe it is time to hope for a few owls to come to your habitat.. I used to have a terrible time with rabbits, until a fox moved in along a creek about 1/4 mile a way. My property is now part of his territory (and I have seen him making the rounds). The rabbit population has decreased by 50%.

          5. sheila_schultz 01/28/2016

            We did have a Peregrin Falcon for a while... very cool! Then he left.

      2. User avater
        meander_michaele 01/28/2016

        Do you have a particular time of year during which you like to prune the 'Black Dragon'?

        1. user-7007498 01/28/2016

          I usually prune cryptomeria in April/May. Because 'Black Dragon' can grow very dense, I will thin it out a bit to accentuate the cool branching pattern. It grows so slow, that once a year shaping (if at all) is all it needs. Love this conifer. It is so dark, it serves as a great backdrop for many perennials, especially ones with gold foliage.

  2. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 01/27/2016

    Kevin, your great garden even looks cool buried under snow. You'll definitely be starting spring with good soil moisture! Love the gazing ball photo.

    1. user-7007498 01/27/2016

      We had a dry autumn so it is great to have this snowfall to recharge the groundwater. I love gazing balls scattered amongst the perennials ( and to give great color in the winter). Thanks.

  3. wGardens 01/27/2016

    Thanks for sharing your photos! Your garden/yard looks great even snow-covered. Interesting sculpture in your backyard photo. How much snow do you have left now?

    1. user-7007498 01/27/2016

      Thanks. I love it. Found it at an Arts festival 2 years ago. The artist was from the Midwest. Doesn't have a website and I forgot his name. He didn't come back to the Art show last summer, as I would have bought another.

  4. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 01/27/2016

    Great snow photos, Kevin. I'm so glad that that is your yard and not mine:)

    1. user-7007498 01/27/2016

      Fortunately it snowed on the weekend, so it was fun to have a quiet weekend at home with my wife.

  5. GrannyCC 01/27/2016

    Thanks for sharing your snow! Would love to see your garden in another season.

  6. sheila_schultz 01/27/2016

    Wonderful images Kevin... the quiet after the storm! I love the birdhouses with their snow caps on. What do you have on the green roof? I'd love to see summer photos down the road!

    1. user-7007498 01/27/2016

      I have a mixture of small sedums. I was able to buy a "green roof" 1/2 flat of starter plants for this purpose. Put it in last Spring. Has already filled it well and stabilized the soil in this small roof.

      1. sheila_schultz 01/27/2016

        Thanks Kevin, cool idea!

  7. Meelianthus 01/27/2016

    WOW! now that is a lot of snow! Snow photos are always so magical. Thanks for sharing Kevin.

  8. User avater
    HelloFromMD 01/27/2016

    Hi Kevin, PA has MD beat, we got 20 inches at my house. I did dig out some dwarf conifers and freed the vertical conifers bent over from their burden of snow. Fortunately they are upright again, although maybe not quite as straight as before. My woods and perennials left standing protected our work done on day 1 from the drifting. Neighbors weren't so lucky and had to start from scratch. Many schools are still closed. No place to put the snow I suppose.

    1. user-7007498 01/27/2016

      Fortunately, the snow was very light and powdery. I was able to leave it alone around my conifers. No damage.

      Great insulation against the cold wind.

  9. eddireid 01/27/2016

    Beautiful, soft and powdery! And Cold! Love your Black Dragon tree, Kevin, with all those wonderful cones I'll bet quite a few creatures will be saved from starvation in your garden. Thank you for the photos.

    1. user-7007498 01/27/2016

      Thanks. I perform my "yard cleanup" in the spring, leaving as much as possible for the wildlife to use in the winter. It's great to have larger specimens that can provide food/shelter when snow is high.

      1. eddireid 01/28/2016

        So also do I, Kevin. I feel that in my garden cleanliness is not important when facing winter and I know myriad creatures benefit from the seed pods and cones, etc. as well as hidey holes from predators. Had a lot of butterflies last year, too.

  10. cynthiamccain 01/28/2016

    Hi, Kevin--I'm wondering how in the world you got around in your garden to take these great photos. We had 30" here in Frederick, MD, and I haven't made it off the back porch yet. I love the sunset and gazing ball photos.

    1. user-7007498 01/28/2016

      It helps to be 6'3", but even still, it was over my knees. I kept thinking I was going to fall and lose my camera in the snow. Couldn't resist the opportunity. I, too, love gazing balls. We have a Victorian House, and I have landscaped the property in a very casual manner. All of the beds are mixed conifers, shrubs, perennials, annuals and bulbs, which go with the house. The gazing balls fit in well (I have 9 gazing balls interspersed thoughout the beds.

      1. cynthiamccain 01/28/2016

        I hope you'll post photos of your house and gardens in the spring, summer and fall as well!

        1. user-7007498 01/28/2016

          Thanks. If interested, you can check out a few posts from earlier this year (Late Autumn in Central Pennsylvania, Wonderful Fall Colors in the Mid Atlantic, or Textures in the Late Summer Garden). These show more of my garden in "warmer times".

          1. cynthiamccain 01/28/2016

            I will--thanks!

  11. annek 01/28/2016

    Enchanting...your photos are simply enchanting. I, too, live in a cold state and love seeing the metamorphosis of the garden during winter. Please send some other seasonal photos too. I'd love to see what black dragon looks like in spring

    1. user-7007498 01/28/2016

      Will do. I will make sure I include it in future posts. Thanks for the comments. Sometimes in the middle of winter, I think about what I could do in a warmer climate, but then we get a beautiful snowfall like this, and I remember how I feel so lucky to experience each of our 4 distinct seasons (at least for about a week). :)

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